Category Archives: Employers

Single? You Have Options at Retirement!

Diner, Senior, CoffeeWhen presenting at a Pre-Retirement Seminar, many of the attendees ask me questions about what their spouse will receive from LAGERS once they pass away. There are a couple of options that married members may choose at the time of retirement that will pay to their spouse upon their death. Read this blog for more information about spousal options.  On the other hand, I do get some questions from single members wondering if they have any options. Don’t worry; even if you’re single, you have some options with your retirement benefit.

The options a single individual has to choose from at retirement are the Life Allowance and Option C. Also, the Partial Lump Sum can be added to each of those options. So, which one do you choose? When determining which payment option to choose at retirement, you may want to consider a few items:

  • What are your fixed expenses in retirement?
  • Do you plan to travel or pursue a hobby that will have an impact on your expenses?
  • Will you have additional sources of income?
  • Are you planning to leave a legacy in the form of inheritance?

All things to consider when choosing your payment option.

Now, let’s explain your options as a single person.

Life Allowance. The Life Allowance is the largest monthly benefit you can receive in retirement. But, when you pass away, there is no monthly benefit payable to a beneficiary. The only instance where there is something payable under the Life Allowance is when you have a balance remaining. This balance can be from the 4% contributions made at any point in your career from which you did not receive a refund or funds used to purchase service (if applicable).

For example, if you have $20,000 in employee contributions, the first $20,000 you receive in your retirement benefit is your employee contributions. Since LAGERS pays out your employee contributions through your retirement benefit, if you pass away before the total of $20,000 has been paid out, your beneficiary will receive a lump sum of the remaining contributions.

Option C. This option is called the 10 Year Payment Certain plan on your benefit estimate. This  can be somewhat misleading because it makes it sound like you will only receive payments for 10 years. There is no option that you could choose under LAGERS that does not pay you for the rest of your life. Option C guarantees at least 120 payments are made to you or your beneficiary in retirement. Specifically, if you pass away within 120 months after retirement, your beneficiary will receive the remaining payments until a total of 120 payments have been made.

For example, if you elect Option C when you retire and pass away 96 months in to retirement, your beneficiary will receive the remaining 24 monthly payments. But, if you live more than 120 months after retirement and pass away, your beneficiary will receive nothing under Option C.

Partial Lump Sum Feature. This feature can be added to the two previous options listed above. It pays you a lump sum 90 days after retirement that is equal to 24 months of your Life Allowance benefit. This option can be a great way to get a large amount of money early in retirement that you could use for many different purposes like paying off your mortgage, leaving a legacy for your children and grandchildren, or many other purposes. Also, you can roll your Partial Lump Sum into a qualified retirement account to delay the up-front taxation, potentially grow the funds throughout retirement, and set the beneficiaries of that account to whomever you choose. Read more about the Partial Lump Sum in this blog post.

So, as you can see, even if you are single, you have some options as to what to do with your LAGERS benefit at retirement. To get an in-depth explanation of your options, attend a LAGERS Pre-Retirement Seminar or call the LAGERS office.

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Jeff Pabst, CRC Senior Communications Specialist

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Use These 5 Simple Hacks to Ease Financial Stress

 

April is Stress Awareness Month and we all know that finances are the root of much of the stress we face. If you haven’t ever lost a little sleep worrying about a money-related issue, I would question whether or not you had a pulse. It’s almost inevitable that, at some point, we all will have a financial difficulty that wears on our mind, and ultimately, maybe even our body.

Financial Finesse is a financial wellness firm that offers coaching to over 2.4 million people in the U.S. In the firm’s 2016 Financial Stress Research, they reported that 1 out of every 4 people say that they suffer from high or overwhelming financial stress and 6 out of 10 people reported losing sleep over at least one financial problem. The good news is that there are some fairly simple steps we can take to ease financial stress. Here are some that have worked for me.

Resist the consumerist culture we live in.

My wife and I just recently realized we had too much stuff. Not only did we have too much, we wanted even more. The culture we live in is constantly in our face about purchasing items that are supposed make us happy; new clothes, beauty products, cars, toys for your kids, electronics, apps for your phone. The never-ending assault on our desire for more is relentless. Our home was bursting at the studs with things we didn’t need and all of that stuff was causing stress. So we decided to get rid of it. Anything in our home that is not useful or doesn’t bring us joy is sold, thrown away or donated. And, we have begun to use the same criteria for our purchases. We are spending less money on things that have no lasting value and using those resources to focus on experiences and priorities that truly make us happier. We are still in the beginning stages of this journey, but it’s amazing how much less stress we have.

Create an emergency fund.

According to a recent survey by Bankrate, 57% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover an unexpected $500 expense. Now that is stressful! Sticking money into an account and resisting the urge to touch it can be tough, but here is a quick hack I have used for years to help with this. Create automatic transfers from your checking account into a savings account. Most of us now have our paychecks directly deposited into our checking accounts and most banks allow you to set up automatic recurring transfers. So, set up money to transfer every payday to a savings account and you will likely not even notice it’s gone. It doesn’t have to be a large amount; it will feel great just to get started!

Make a plan.

Simply having a plan in place to manage your finances can be a huge weight off of your shoulders. Knowing your monthly income and essential expenses is the first step in figuring out a budget and sticking with it. When my wife and I decided she would leave her career and stay home with our girls a couple of years ago, we both lost sleep over the financial impact this would have on our family. So, we sat down together and calculated our monthly income and bills. From there we identified some expenses we could easily reduce (like our satellite bill) and figured out how much we would have left for discretionary expenses (it wasn’t much). Having this plan in place made us both feel better and gave us some peace of mind knowing we could make this work as long as we stuck to the plan.

Talk about money.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ease financial stress is to talk to your spouse or significant other about money. These are not always easy or fun conversations and they may even end with one person being upset. But don’t give up. It is vitally important for you and the person you are sharing your life with to be on the same page about finances. A seemingly simple rule my wife and I have always used is that we will ask the other person before we make a purchase that is over a certain threshold. When we were first married and had very little in the way of financial resources, the limit was $50. For example, if I wanted to buy new decoys for turkey hunting and they were going to be more than $50, I had to run it by my wife first. While our threshold has grown since we were newlyweds 12 years ago, we still have this rule in place. It may seem silly, but it is a subtle way to ensure we are both on the same page about how the family’s money should be spent.

Visualize your future.

Your future self wants to be financially independent. Taking steps now toward that end will ease stress today and have a lasting impact later in life. What does your future look like? What do you want do? What will you be doing when you are 65, 75, 85? A great first step in planning for your financial future is to visualize the life you desire. This will help you to know if you are on track today to achieve the life you are picturing. My wife and I frequently talk about our dreams for our life after work and what we want to do. Sometimes these conversations are just two people dreaming together and sometimes there is a little more planning involved, but either way, it is helpful. Be kind to your future self, take action today to reduce stress now in order to avoid tension in the future. Read my blog about this here.

 

Stress can kill. And financial problems are one of the leading causes of anxiety. There are many money problems that may be fixed using simple hacks like the ones above, but for serious issues, you may need to talk to a professional to get help. The key is to take control of your money and allow yourself some better nights of sleep!

 

Jeff Kempker
Manager of Member Services

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Pension Reform Should Not Focus On All-Or-None Solutions

Remember the good ole’ days when retirement planning for most Americans involved income being illustrated as a three-legged stool where the legs of the stool represented 1) income from a pension, 2) Social Security, and 3) personal savings? The thought was that as long as the stool has three legs it will be strong enough to support the person sitting on it. Take one of those legs away, and the stool becomes much less stable. Take two of the legs away and you end up on your back.

So why is it that every time I read about pension reform the proposed solution is always an all-or-none scenario where the pension will be shut down in favor of individual 401(k) accounts? This solution completely removes one leg of the stool (the pension) and reduces the retirement readiness for everyone affected. At LAGERS, we believe everyone who works hard and plays by the rules deserves a secure retirement and that this is best achieved by the three-legged stool approach.

When 401(k)s were first conceived in the late 1970’s, they were never intended to replace pensions, but to supplement the pension plan while allowing employees to defer taxable income. This was originally a great concept – one that furthered the notion of the three-legged stool. But over time, employers have eliminated their pensions and gone completely to the 401(k). The supplement has now become the main retirement income vehicle for many Americans. And it isn’t working. Even if their employer offers a 401(k), two-thirds of Americans aren’t using it to save for retirement.

One of the reasons Americans aren’t saving more is because investing as an individual is hard. Nearly seven of ten Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test. The average American worker is just not equipped to know how much to invest, what to invest in, when to re-allocate, and then how to turn their savings into a lifetime stream of income. Also, many Americans simply don’t have the means to go-it-alone in 401(k) accounts. The recommended retirement savings rate for an individual without a pension plan is north of 10% of income. For low-to-middle income workers, this is a daunting, if not impossible task. Pension funds, on the other hand, are invested by professionals and benefit from pooling so that one individual is not taking on all of the market risks.

Watch: Pension vs. 401(k), What’s the Difference?

One argument for moving away from pension plans in favor of 401(k)s is that the individual accounts cannot create unfunded liabilities. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Both pension plans and 401(k)s can create unfunded liabilities. An unfunded liability is established when liabilities exceed assets. In other words, the money you owe is more than the money you have on hand. The presence of an unfunded liability is not necessarily a problem so long as there is a steady, predictable, and disciplined approach to making the required contributions. Individual savers create unfunded liabilities when they fail to save enough for their retirement. When more and more individuals enter into retirement without adequate savings and huge personal unfunded liabilities their only option to sustain themselves in retirement will be to seek public assistance.

The bottom line is this: we need pensions and we need 401(k)s (and similar programs). We should not be seeking solutions that eliminate any one leg of the stool, but rather, to make those legs work together to provide a more stable base for all Americans.

 

Jeff Kempker
Manager of Member Services

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50 Years of Retirement Security and Counting…

50th-2-no-textMissouri LAGERS is preparing to celebrate 50 years of providing retirement security to Missouri’s local government workers!

LAGERS was created by the 74th general assembly in 1967 and officially opened its doors the following year. During its first year of existence, the young system was administered through a contractual agreement with the Missouri Municipal League and added its first full time staff member in 1969.

By June 1969, 70 Missouri local government entities had joined LAGERS with a total of 4,600 member employees and $2.1 million in assets. Today, LAGERS is the largest pension system for local government employees in the state of Missouri, covering over 680 employers, 33,000 active members, and 19,000 retirees, with over $6 billion in assets and an overall aggregate funding level in excess of the national average.

Missouri LAGERS believes that a secure retirement should be for everyone who works hard, and that retirement security is the foundation for building strong communities across the state. LAGERS is an integral part of providing local communities with the tools they need to attract and retain the high quality workers necessary to making communities a great place to live, work, and retire. LAGERS has helped thousands of local government workers retire with dignity and security over the past 50 years and looks forward to carrying our mission into the next 50 years and beyond!

LAGERS is planning to celebrate its 50th birthday in several ways:

New Vision Statement

LAGERS Board of Trustees recently adopted a new vision statement: “A Secure Retirement for All.” Our vision is the very essence of why LAGERS staff gets up and goes to work each and every day. We strive in everything we do to ensure that our members can someday retire with dignity and security.

 

New Responsive Website

Coming in July 2017, LAGERS will be rolling out an all-new responsive website. The new website will feature enhanced user navigation; new, interactive content, and even more great ways to connect with your LAGERS system. LAGERS remains committed to ensuring that you have the best access to information you need about your benefits!

 

A History of LAGERS

Stay tuned on our social media channels throughout the year as we look back at a complete 50 year history of the LAGERS system. Beginning as a dream in 1967, LAGERS has grown into a nationally acclaimed pension system, setting the gold standard for pension administration across the county.

 

LAGERS Annual Meeting

Don’t forget to join us at our annual meeting as we return to the site of our very first LAGERS Annual Meeting at Lake of the Ozarks.

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Growth in 2016 – 12 New Employers Added!

2016-new-employersThe team at LAGERS is proud to announce that in 2016 we added 12 new employers! This reflects our incredible growth over the past few years, as well as our constant commitment to our organization’s vision, which is embodied in the phrase “A Secure Retirement for All.”

We strive to live out this vision statement every day when we come to work and will continue our efforts to bring retirement security to existing and new employers and members in 2017. We have a lot of exciting new ways we plan to accomplish this in the future, so keep watching our blog and following us on social media to keep up with us in the New Year.

We wanted to give you a few examples as to why these new employers decided that LAGERS was the right choice for them.  It comes down to our commitment to help our employers recruit and retain top talent while giving them the opportunity to exit the workforce with dignity when that time comes.

“We wanted a better retirement plan for our employees; one that offered more financial security for them. Providing a great retirement plan like LAGERS should improve the district’s employee recruitment and retention goals, and possibly provide some added financial comfort.” Bill Florea, Director of Operations, Nodaway County Ambulance District.

“Our board wanted to provide a better retirement for all our employees. LAGERS will be a great addition for the benefit package of our current and new employees in the future.” Vickie Mitschele, Office Manager, Laclede County PWSD #3.

“We had recently conducted a study to audit our current retirement system, and found that a defined benefit plan would have a greater return on investment than the defined contribution plan that we had. That makes LAGERS a better retirement solution for us, and will give our employees a better outlook on their retirement future. We’re looking forward to the switch!” Greg Vogel , Fire Chief, West Overland EMS & Fire Protection District.

We’re thankful to them that they are joining our family, and we can’t wait to make great things happen for their employees, our new members. Here’s to a great start to 2017 for all of us!

I Wish I Could Bottle Up the Holidays

 

This time of year is sometimes a mess. It’s dark when we go to work and dark when we head home, the weather is cold, dreary and unstable. And the kids secretly plot against us and take turns deathtostock_slowdown1being sick (I swear they do). We’re all especially busy and should be at our wits end.

But we aren’t.

To me, this time of year always seems different. My most enjoyable part of the holiday season is the almost random consideration that seems to overcome most of us. At this time of year we as a society seem, for whatever reason, to look beyond the surface of our fellow man and actually see the commonality of goodness we share. Whether at the gas station, store, at work or even passing each other on the street; we look at each other differently. We don’t look past each other as we scurry on our busy paths. We actually look into each other’s eyes – past that outward shell and actually SEE each other; maybe even say “hello”.  Have you noticed? So simple, yet so wonderful.

Whether a kind word, a thank you, a smile or even a simple nod of the head – signaling we appreciate the smallest of gestures. Even though we should be more stressed, we’re actually all a little more happy than normal during the holidays. Really. If you haven’t, noticed I urge you to keep an eye out on the way home from work tomorrow. You may experience the kind of subtle kindness that I’m talking about. It is so refreshing.

If I could bottle the holidays I surely would. If we could somehow carry that over to the rest of the year what great things we could accomplish. That’s my thought for the New Year.

From all of us at LAGERS, we thank you for the honor to serve you and we wish you the very best this time of year, and all year round!

 

Robert Wilson, Asst. Director

Robert Wilson, Asst. Director

Top LAGERS News of 2016

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It’s hard to believe 2016 is coming to an end and 2017 is closing in on us like a blustery Missouri cold front. In case you missed it, a lot happened with your retirement system over the last 12 months! Here is a brief compilation of the top news-worthy events.

Important Legislation was Passed

The 2016 Missouri Legislative Session saw the passage of HB 1443, a bill that LAGERS proposed. This important legislation allows local governments in Missouri who are running their own pension plan to choose LAGERS as the administrator of that plan. This will permit these smaller plans to take advantage of LAGERS’ expertise and economies of scale, resulting in lower administrative costs for the local entity and ensuring that these plans maintain financial stability. LAGERS staff has been working diligently to begin accepting these new plans since Governor Nixon signed the bill. Read more.

LAGERS Members are Living Longer

Every five years, LAGERS takes an in-depth look at our membership to take stock of changing demographics and other trends. One of the key findings from the 2016 study was that LAGERS members are living longer, which is great news! A 60-year-old male is now expected to live to age 84 and a 60-year-old female to age 88! Because of this, LAGERS’ Board updated the mortality tables we use to reflect the longer lifespans in order to ensure benefits will be properly funded. Read more.

LAGERS Funding Level Reaches 94.7%

Pension funds often measure their financial stability using a “funded ratio.” This is simply a measure of the fund’s ability to meet all of its obligations to members and retirees now and into the future. All pension plans strive for a 100% funding ratio. At 100% funded, a pension plan has all the assets it needs on hand to meet all of its liabilities. This is kind of like being fully paid up on your mortgage. If you paid off your mortgage, you could say your home is 100% funded. Being under 100% funded as a pension plan is not necessarily a problem because all of the participants in the plan won’t need to be paid on the same day. What is important is that there is a dedicated method to pay the liabilities and that the plan is moving toward 100%. A pension plan that is above 80% funded is normally considered to be on stable financial ground. Read more.

12 New Employers Joined LAGERS in 2016

LAGERS continues to be an attractive option for local government employers looking for ways to recruit and retain high-quality workers to serve their communities. Seventy-five local governments have joined LAGERS in the last five years and half of these switched from 401(k)-type plans to the stability and security of LAGERS’ defined benefit approach. Why the switch? We are increasingly hearing from government officials the need to enhance the services of their communities by hiring and keeping the best people to fill those jobs. I attended a city council meeting recently and heard from one official, “We are a service-based industry and to provide the best service to the citizens of this city, we do that through the people we hire.”

The last year was an exciting one for LAGERS and as we look forward to 2017 and LAGERS’ 50-year anniversary we expect nothing but continued success in helping Missouri’s communities accomplish great things!

Jeff Kempker Manager of Member Services

Jeff Kempker
Manager of Member Services

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Being Thankful for Public Service

Thankful message Some fall leaves and retro pocket watch with text A Time to give Thanks

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead

I’m guessing you don’t often think about your job like this. But this quote really resonated with me. When I think about public service, and our members who dedicate their lives to this endeavor, I realize that even though this group is not normally celebrated and honored I am thankful for them none the less. Public servants truly do change the world for the better, every day.

Here’s why:

  1. They keep our communities running – public sector employees are the glue that holds our communities together. They maintain the books, make sure the roads are smooth and easy, our water is clean and our trash is taken at the curb. From libraries to public works to the county clerk, these jobs might not be glamorous, but without them where would we be?
  1. They protect us – EMTs, fire and police personnel work crazy hours and do the job of protecting the citizens without expecting thanks or gratitude. Most calls they receive are humbling and thankless as well as dangerous. We are safe because of them. Don’t forget that.
  1. They are dedicated – this group of individuals is truly dedicated to their work. They do their jobs out of a genuine love for their city/county/township and a desire to serve the people that are their neighbors and friends. They don’t do it for the recognition, because they do not get enough of that! Wanting to serve is the reason why.
  1. They are experienced – part of the dedication of this group leads them to be incredibly experienced at their chosen occupation. During my time at LAGERS I’ve traveled around Missouri and met with public servants in many parts of the state. I’ve been fortunate and impressed to meet people who have dedicated 35 and even 45 years to their community working for local government in some capacity. That amazing dedication leads to incredibly hard working and experienced workforce.

Mohammad Ali said “Service to others is the payment you make for your space here on earth.” Local government employees have given me lots of reasons to be thankful, and their sacrifices every day for the rest of us are admirable. They are definitely paid in full.

See how LAGERS is Getting it Right every day to work to give them the secure retirement future they so deserve. 

Being Thankful for Public Service

The Unfunded Liability Nobody is Talking About

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You hear a lot in the news these days about the looming pension crisis and their mounting unfunded liabilities. When I try to imagine how I would react to these headlines if I did not work in the retirement industry, I imagine that the phrase ‘unfunded liability’ would sound absolutely terrifying, and that if I ever heard that phrase being thrown around when it came to my employers’ retirement plan, I would be concerned. At that point I would probably do what any normal person would do when they hear about something this scary: I’d Google it.

So this morning, I decided to do a little experiment: I typed ‘unfunded liability’ into my trusty search engine just to see what would come up, and the results were undoubtedly alarming. Headlines reading: “Unfunded public pension liabilities near $5.6 trillion”; “How pensions pass the buck to future generation”; and “$60 billion unfunded liability looms over Pa. as lawmakers move toward pension vote” were just the beginning of a laundry list of stories listed on the topic.

Now to be clear, I believe that every pension plan should have sound plan design with a solid funding policy, so that, like LAGERS (and many other well-run pensions across the county), the promised benefits are fully funded today and plan participants can go to work and retire with the peace of mind in knowing that their retirement will be secure. Pension plans that are not doing this should be fixed. But what I found most disturbing about my search was that in all the results that popped up about unfunded liabilities, there appeared to be one major unfunded liability that nobody is talking about….yours.

‘My unfunded liability?’ you may ask. ‘I don’t have an unfunded liability.’  And that is where many of you would be mistaken. Like most Americans, you are probably planning to retire at some point in your life – either at a time of your choosing or perhaps for reasons beyond your control, such as failing health.  And when that time comes, you’re going to need to have income to live off of for the rest of your life.

In order to be able to quit working or to reduce your work hours in retirement, you need to be saving every month to ensure your nest egg will be large enough to sustain you for the rest of your life. Savers (especially those without pensions) who fail to set aside enough money each month for their retirement are creating a huge personal unfunded liability – a gap between how much they have saved and how much they will need in retirement.

According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, 45% of American households do not own any type of retirement account, with a disproportionately large number of low-income households saving nothing for retirement. Even more shocking, of households that do have retirement savings accounts, the average balance for individuals nearing retirement (age 55-64) is a mere $104,000; and if we included the households that are saving nothing, that average drops to just $14,500 saved by those who are at the doorstep of retirement.

This means that most Americans will be facing their own unfunded liabilities at retirement, and that presents a big problem. If I’m an average saver with $104,000 and I need to draw out $1300/ month to survive in retirement, my savings would not last 7 years…and that’s not even taking into account inflation or any unplanned expenses (such as a big medical bill). If I live 20 years into retirement, I need to have saved at least $312,000; and if I live 30 years, I better have $468,000 in the bank. Since I only have $104,000, I have a personal unfunded liability of over $360,000. While granted, my math is simplified, take that average times the estimated 80 million people who will be retiring over the next twenty years and you get upwards of 30 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities in Americans’ personal defined contribution accounts.

I can’t help but think to myself, “What is going to happen when these folks can no longer work? What are they going to do when they cannot afford to retire?” As we usher out the era of private pensions, what is going to happen as more and more individuals enter retirement without adequate savings and with a huge personal unfunded liability? What is going to happen when they lose their home because they can’t make the mortgage payment, or go without food to be able to afford their medication? As a society and as taxpayers, what are we going to do?

It seems to me that many are suggesting that the solution to these pensions’ unfunded liabilities is to replace them with even bigger personal unfunded liabilities by forcing people to plan for retirement on their own. Pensions that have sound plan design and solid funding policies work, and they work well. They don’t pass cost onto future taxpayers because the liabilities (benefits) are prefunded, and participants can take advantage of longevity risk pooling and professionally managed investments. And while LAGERS members receive only a modest monthly benefit that often still requires some additional personal savings, their pension is the foundation of their retirement security, and it’s one they can count on.

The switch from pensions to defined contributions plans (e.g. 401(k)s) may indeed seem like a simple fix to all the mounting pension headlines, but until we start quantifying the unfunded liabilities in individual retirement plans, many Americans are going to be in for a big surprise when they are ready, but cannot afford to retire.

Elizabeth Althoff Communications Specialist

Elizabeth Althoff
Communications Specialist

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The #1 Thing Most People Overlook When Planning for Retirement

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What are you going to do when you don’t have to do anything?

Many of us dream of these days when we can fill our time doing the things we never had time for while working. Sounds great doesn’t it? Waking up every morning with a completely clean slate. Go fishing, work in the garden, watch TV, meet up with friends, it’s all up to you. But if you don’t plan for what you will do when you retire, you could end up wishing you would have stayed in the workforce. This is because figuring out your finances before retiring may be the most important, but it cannot be the only focus. Figuring out your personality and what makes you happy is essential for a great retirement.

I know what you’re thinking right now, “This will not be a problem for me! You should see the list of all the things I want/need to do!” But you now have all day, every day to work on your list. Think about all of the time you spent, not just at your job, but the commuting to and from. All of that activity is gone. So, even if you have a long retirement to-do list, with all of your extra time, that list might be complete in a couple of months, or less. Then what?

We need to take a more global approach to retirement planning than just making sure we have enough money to survive day-to-day. We don’t want to just survive, we want to thrive! To help ensure you do not overlook the emotional side of retirement planning, here are some questions to ask yourself.

How will I spend my time?

Look beyond your to-do list. When everything is checked off the list, what will you do with the rest of your life? Get to know yourself and what you need. Are you the type of person that can remain active without a routine or schedule? Maybe you need some commitments in your life to keep you motivated like volunteering or a part-time job. Are you a social butterfly who needs regular interaction with other adults, or are you OK with being alone most of time? Answering these questions will help you get to know yourself better in order to identify how you will fill your time productively and happily.

What do you really like to do?

This may seem like a simple question, but think about it. Do you even remember what you really like to do? Some us haven’t been able to pursue our own interests in so long this question is harder than you think. Think about the times in your life when you were the happiest. What were you doing? What was going on in your life that made you feel this way? Do you like to stay physically and mentally sharp? What about travel, how much and where to? How about restarting a forgotten hobby or starting a new one? Spend some time thinking about what you enjoy doing and then do that!

What will motivate you to get out of bed every morning?

Unfortunately many retirees experience periods of deep depression because they have nothing to look forward to. Making a long-term plan and setting retirement goals will help to find the answer to this question. Set out on a quest, start a business, plan social events with old work buddies, sign up for a class, or get a part time job. Anything that will propel you to jump out of bed in the morning will work. Set goals and make a plan about how to achieve them.

How will I react to not working?

Retirement is a mindset just like working is a mindset. When work is suddenly ending, it’s like slamming on the breaks at 100 miles per hour. How will your mind and body react to this new lifestyle? Will you be bored? Will your health begin to deteriorate without the routine that is the working life? This question may take some deep thought, but if you know yourself and can be honest, you will find the right answer.

 

These are four seemingly simple questions that have very complex and meaningful answers. Thinking hard about these questions before leaving the workforce is key to a successful and happy retirement. Don’t get caught up focusing only on the financial aspect of retirement, the emotional aspect must be addressed in order for you to live the lifestyle you want.

 

Jeff Kempker Manager of Member Services

Jeff Kempker
Manager of Member Services

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