Margery D. Rosen wrote an insightful article addressing the dream life that we baby boomers looked forward to living. The article is titled, “Can you afford your Dream Life?” I would like to expand on her thoughts.
Your financial freedom starts with a plan … a written plan. As you do consider writing a plan, how do you spend your money now? If you don’t know, for one week, keep a journal. After that, developing a basic spending plan will be more realistic and goals more attainable.
A compliment to that plan is a commitment to basic money management strategies. As you consider your spending choices, be smart with your decisions and consider the long term consequences of the decisions you make in your 50’s and 60’s.
While many of us don’t want to admit we need help with this, we do. Hiring a financial planner is a good starting point regardless of your financial situation. Most employees have a 401k plan at work, so pick up the phone and call your 401k provider or plan sponsor. A basic consultation should be part of the benefit. They can help you take a look at your current financial house and help project what money you need, to live the lifestyle of your hopes and dreams. While not always a pleasant reality check, start this process early so that by the time you are blowing at your candles on your 65th birthday cake, you will know how to embrace retirement living.
Once you are on a fixed retirement income, your standards of living will be based on the decisions made in your work life. So take the first step, be gentle with yourself, but do get started with developing a basic spending and savings plan.