Whether you are looking forward to it or not, the day will eventually come when you will retire from your current position. To prepare for that day, here are some steps you may wish to take and some ideas to consider.
Depending on your personal situation, two to three years prior to that date, determine whether your current home is going to be your forever home. Housing prices across Canada vary considerably and if you are thinking of moving, allow yourself at least two years to research your new location. If you are part of a couple, you may be surprised to find that there is a difference of opinion as to where you are going to spend your retirement years.
If you are going to be staying in your current home, evaluate the following items and repair or replace while you have the income to finance the changes:
- The furnace: according to various reports, today’s furnaces have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. You will be living in this home on a daily basis and you will be aging. Ensure that you have adequate heat in the rooms you will be using the most.
- The roof: although roofers will tell you that the shingles are “good” for 15 years, most experts say that shingles only last 10 to 12 years. Getting quotes now and getting it replaced will be one less worry and expense as you age.
- Windows and doors: energy efficient windows and doors will help reduce your heating costs.
Getting big-ticket items done and paid for before you retire is important because most of us will live another 25 years or more after retirement and even with a pension, capital expenditures will take a bite out of your income or savings.
As for retirement itself, it’s like so many other stages of life in that there are a number of phases that we will all go through. Most of us will experience the following stages:
1. Anticipation: In the final year of employment, most people will start marking off the calendar and announcing to anyone within earshot that they only have 8 months, 3 weeks and four days left until they are done. Others will mark the days off either quietly or mentally.
2. The Paperwork: Every organization handles an employee’s retirement a little differently, but in general, three to six months prior to your retirement date, there will be paperwork. Be sure you know the process in your school district to announce and plan for retirement. It is usually at this point that reality hits home. Many people will realize that this is it. Their working life is over and they can’t believe it went by so quickly. For many, there is a sense of loss and/or sadness at this stage.
3. The Big Day: Most people want to be feted, to be recognized by their peers and remembered for their contributions. But retirement parties or lunches aren’t just about the person retiring, they’re also, in part, about the people left behind. The retiree has been a part of their lives and they may also experience a sense of loss.
4. The Morning After: Depending on your last day is, how long it takes for you to realize that you aren’t going back will vary. If you retire at the end of a school year, it may be September when it hits you—you are retired! Eventually everyone will say to themselves—this is it! I am retired. No more school.
5. Is This It? It’s hard to believe, but at some point, most people will ask themselves if this—retirement—is what they worked all those years for. The first year of retirement is often filled with all the things we never had time to do while we were working. It is not unusual to hear a newly retired person state that they are so busy now, that they don’t know how they had time to work.
But that euphoria and hectic schedule may not last. The days and weeks are long and they just keep rolling along waiting to be filled. It is usually in the latter part of the second year or the early part of the third year of retirement that people stop and assess what they want to do, and what they want from the next ten to twenty years of their lives. At this stage, a secondary career or commitment to a volunteer position may be a welcome concept.
Retirement is another phase of our lives, but it needs more than money. To remain happy and engaged with life at all ages, we need to anticipate and prepare for change and to be realistic about our capabilities as we get older, because what we are capable of doing when we are 60 will not be the same as what we can do when we are 80. Planning for the future while you are still working will make retirement all that you hope it to be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Fedorka is a retirement and lifestyle consultant and owner of Designed Lifestyles. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via Skype.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Apr/May 2015 issue.