Retirement Planning for Dummies

What did you forget to include for your retirement?  Retirement planning for dummies really does not mean you are dumb. It means that the best laid plans can overlook certain (important) facts.  We all know, or should, that during our working years we should have been paying ourselves like a monthly bill. Utilizing a 401K, IRA, or something similar to a retirement plan should be or should have been a top priority. Retirement planning for dummies takes in more than financial planning. If you have not planned for your lifestyle in your retirement planning for dummies, you’ve missed an important part of your future.

Most retirees of today are living longer and healthierlives. From the time we retire until the actuaries give us as a life expectancy is an additional 30 years or so past the day we retire.  So, retirement planning for dummies must include how you plan to spend the rest of your time once your financial needs have been met. So, how important are your non material needs?  Think of retirement planning for dummies as a beginning, not the end all. Keep a focus by writing in your retirement planning for dummies journal what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them.

As we stated earlier, there is going to be many years you have to fill with some activity. Within your retirement planning for dummies journal you may want to make an inventory: 

1) List your personal assets, strengths, talents, skills.

2) List intangible qualities such as optimism, sense of humor,

fears (love the acronym FEAR: False Expectations (that)

Aren’t Real)

3) Be real. Don’t bluff or fluff.

4) Consider an internship for a hobby that always interested you.

If you don’t remember as a kid, take out the photo album and

see what interested you during different ages. Dig deep.

5) List life experiences that you can offer to others 

Look in your area as to workshops, seminars, volunteer work for a cause. 

Retirement planning for dummies must take into account where you will live.  Do you have to scale down? Do you have to take care of elderly parents? How simple a lifestyle do you seek? Warm weather,

winter cold & snow? Mountains? Maybe the middle ground where you will live only a few hours from all of it. What is important to you as to your lifestyle and location?

Are you willing to leave family, (immediate or extended), aging parents, children, grandchildren? If you are in that position, will you have room for them to stay a period of time? How about children still in school?


 The National Association of Home Builders publishes a spreadsheet that shows the affordability of houses around the country.


 Because you found that perfect house in your perfect price range, it may not be what you bargained for.

What kind of demographics are you looking for?  Neighbors?  Convenience?  Do you want zero lot lines between your house and next door or do you want five acres? The Census Bureau’s Quick Facts web site will show you population, income, business information for all counties in the United States.

Get a sense & feel for where you want to move. Call the local Chamber of Commerce or view the local newspaper online. See if there are local chat message boards or local web sites. Check with local law enforcement for safety & crime in the area. The F.B.I has a crime reporting system that they release annually. 

How do you get where you want to go? Are you willing to drive everywhere? Check out those gas prices. Does the area you are looking at have public transportation that is convenient to do grocery shopping, travel to the mall, take you to the cruise ship? What about airports? International or domestic? The FAA has maps showing major U.S. airports with links to smaller or regional airports. Don’t forget the train or bus lines.

Going to your house of worship can be a great way of breaking into the community. Usually, you will be welcomed and start new friendships with those who have the start of something in common.

As we become wiser (certainly not older), we become wiser to our health needs. hospitals, doctors, health practitioners. You might be facing a medical challenge or specialty.

Neither rain, nor snow or sleet……..Oh, yeah. That’s the postman’s creed. Do you want to live & play in snow or at the beach? You can certainly check the weather patterns in the coldest months (Jan-Feb) & the warmest months (July-August) to the area you are considering. The local Chamber of Commerce & online web sites can assist you in your decision.

Check it out with your current service. What’s involved of keeping your popular cell phone number or going through the anxiety of letting everyone know your new cell phone number. The cancellation of a contract, a new contract, area coverage. Do you plan to be a world traveler with needed coverage or just local? Dial up the coverage maps for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or your current carrier.

General grocery shopping is fine. However, what about; seafood, vegetarian, kosher, deli, farmers market, green market, organic market, specialty markets? Dining out…….how far do you travel to your favorite restaurant or Starbucks?

What are you going to do with all this FREE TIME you now have on your hands? Golf, walking, beach, skating, cruises, gardening, traveling, cleaning your house, become a dog walker for the neighborhood, become a volunteer (so many needed)?

Did you know that there are garlic festivals all around the country? What about wine tasting? You can check online by using the key words to your desired activity. One thing for sure……look to see if there are certain gatherings in your prospective new address that might be a little overwhelming for you. Some events happen in certain areas of the country during certain times of the year.

It’s easy to find a movie theater or a video rental store. What about the likes of local community live theater (dinner or not), symphony orchestras, dance companies, museums, free local tours, mall shopping. 

WHOA! Hold on a minute. I want to go into retirement. I’ve done my time you say. You know what is said about idle hands……. You just may want to keep those hands busy now that you realize you’re not a couch potato. So, maybe a part time position is in the cards…..mmm, a dealer at Vegas? 

Ready to explore new interests or a degree? Want to study rocks……… archaeology or diamonds, they are a girls best friend. Continuing education just might be for you. A new language, become a tour guide.

Sure there are bookstores in every mall across the country. Have you considered used book stores, libraries and their resources? Many libraries offer free classes, book readings & senior activity. Glow little book worm, glitter, glitter.

So, retirement planning for dummies takes a diligent t and a conscience effort for anyone  planning for or is in retirement. Retirement planning for dummies is only the beginning.

Have fun on your new journey.