Don’t Scramble Your Retirement Nest Egg

Don’t obsess about the size of your retirement nest egg, just start saving. There are simple guidelines for a sane retirement strategy.

Retirement calculators are your friend.

By the time you reach retirement age, you’ve most probably spent a lifetime dealing with and achieving measurable goals. From the first day you enter kindergarten to your last day at work, you have been set goals. And you have probably achieved most of them. So there’s no reason to be hesitant or anxious about measuring the success of your retirement income goals.

Of course, if you haven’t bothered to set any retirement income goals, you don’t need to worry about this subject. But, because you will have to keep working until they carry you out in a casket, those are pretty much the financial facts of life.

But let’s look at the positive aspects here. First, let’s assume you have a savings program in place. Along the way to your retirement, you will want to familiarize yourself with a good pension calculating program. This software is easily available and relatively inexpensive to use. What these programs will do for you is give you an accurate forecast of future income.

But before crunching the numbers.

Decide just how much of an income you want later on. Many people who pull down a six-figure salary each year have come to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. And they want to continue living the high life after their employment disappears. This is not an unreasonable expectation if they have an aggressive savings plan for the later years in life. However, great wealth means excellent responsibilities. That never ends.

And for those of you whose income has remained modest but adequate over the years, don’t be fooled into thinking that starving yourself today is going to give you a lot of wealth tomorrow. Tax regulations, among other things, will keep your nest egg modest.

Yet time and time again, retirement advisors find that their clients are obsessing about tucking away so much wealth that they not only sour their own lives but the lives of those closest to them. That’s how you scramble your retirement nest egg; you break it and disturb it with unhealthy and unrealistic financial expectations.

Early retirement is not the bogeyman.

The Protestant work ethic that most people nearing or at retirement age have bought into looks with horror on prematurely idle hands. People should work until they’re just about ready to drop into an open grave. This mindset certainly helped to make America a financial powerhouse.

But today, with tens of thousands of young people starting up the employment ladder, early retirement or accepting a buyout is a perfectly moral decision. Moreover, early retirement plans and company buyouts will often leave employees with two-thirds of their income for the rest of their lives. And really, that should be enough for anyone.

It’s not cruel to advise retirees to live modestly. According to some medical practitioners, the peace of mind that can come from prudent and modest living will prolong the life and health of the pensioner much better than many medications.

So take early retirement or a buyout and begin to enjoy less stress, less busyness, and more quiet time to contemplate and enjoy your surroundings.

Retirement is not a destination; it is a journey.

On your way to that condo in Hawaii or olive farm in Portugal, you might consider converting some of your financial assets to other, more imminent activities.

Such as returning to school for that art degree your parents told you was impractical. Or a family stays abroad to learn a new language. Or even taking time to serve others through church-sponsored charities. Most of these activities can be done at home or far afield.

Participation in these adventures may leave you with less disposable income later on. Still, the memories and connections you’ll make doing these things will become more valuable to you as time goes by.

Fickle finances.

There’s an old proverb that says, “Whether you’re rich or whether you’re poor, it’s nice to have money.” Don’t be afraid to spend money to widen your horizons.

Your nest egg may be smaller, but your perspective will be considerably larger. However, as with all things — it’s more important now than ever before to make sure you are prepared for retirement and no trip or perspective can keep you warm in retirement. Prepare early — and prepare well.

By Deanna Ritchie for

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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