We can plan.
We can build a plan that provides a regular, steady income in retirement.
In my work with clients, I use a bucket strategy as they approach retirement. I build a "ladder" of safe investments to ensure that the money they need in the short term is not subject to day-to-day stock market fluctuations. Longer term money is invested to provide growth, required to provide an increasing income stream over their lifetime.
We can determine the best time to collect social security.
Many people are surprised by how much social security will contribute to their retirement income by underestimating how much they can collect. In addition to the benefit increasing by 8% annually for each year you delay until age 70, the benefit is also adjusted for inflation! It is true that, in 2015, the popular strategy of "file and suspend" that was enjoyed by many couples was eliminated. That being said, it is still possible to collect spousal benefits while maximizing your own by waiting until age 70 to collect.
We can be more mindful of our spending.
I often use a values exercise with my clients when we create a cash flow plan. We spend time identifying the values they believe they live our lives by, such as family, creativity, personal growth and relationships. I then ask them to review their spending, and ask them which, if any, of the expenses are associated with their values. In trying to make these value/expense associations, my clients gain a sense of money as having the potential for purpose as they make spending decisions.
We can make sure we have planned for rising healthcare costs in retirement.
Healthcare can often constitute the greatest expense in retirement. The good news is that this expense can be planned for. I recommend my clients purchase long-term care insurance to cover at least a portion of future costs, relieving their children of the potential burden of caring for them.
But know that we cannot plan to "be happy when...." Don't wait for something outside yourself to make you happy in the future. Life is happening now. Every moment should be enjoyed and savored.
Being with where we are rather than where we think we should be
or where we wish we could be.
Cultivating the capacity to be patient with ourselves and others,
knowing that we are all doing the best we can in each moment.