How to Retire On Your Own Terms
It used to be that if you worked hard, kept debts to a minimum and saved a bit for a rainy day that when the time came to hang up the work boots (or shoes), you could expect to retire and live comfortably. Unfortunately those days appear to be in the past, at least if current financial conditions continue as they are.
More and more people are living paycheck to paycheck, and can’t afford to even think about retiring in order to be able to pay for food, housing, healthcare and other basic necessities. Today the question for those nearing retirement is not so much when they are going to be able to retire but if it’s going to be possible to do so at all.
The serious financial problems facing the United States are affecting practically everyone in one way or another. And perhaps those thinking about retirement or those who are already retired are affected even more than any other group, since the time to make changes is limited. Let’s take a closer look at how you might be affected.
Financial Issues Facing Those Nearing Retirement or Already Retired
As a result of these monetary problems, the future for those nearing retirement is looking grim, particularly for those who don’t have a guaranteed retirement plan. And let’s face it, that’s most of us. Few companies can afford to bankroll these plans any longer. Some that did have gone belly-up leaving retirees without their retirement earnings. Even government-sponsored plans are not safe anymore.
Nor are you home free if you had your money invested in a 401K. You wouldn’t be alone if your plan lost a large percentage of its value over the past few years. The financial crisis of several years ago resulted in the loss of net worth to the tune of 40% for many Americans.
Often for many people the only recourse is collecting Social Security benefits. However, if you are one of those who hoped to retire and support yourself with Social Security benefits in your golden years, you may be in for a shock. Due to the massive financial troubles facing the United States, no federally funded program is untouchable – including the Social Security program. So who knows how long benefits will continue to be available.
If anything, it’s even worse for those who are already retired. The sobering truth about retirement living is that the majority of retirees are forced to exist on a fixed income, while many basic costs like healthcare and food continue to rise.
What Are Your Choices in Retirement?
So what does all this mean for a person who is already retired or getting close to retirement? Well, you do have a choice. You can choose to cross your fingers, do nothing and hope for the best. Or you can choose to take control of your future.
If you decide to do nothing, you have to be ready to accept whatever happens. Unless you have a nice nest egg put aside to take care of your financial needs for what could be many years to come, this may be a little like playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later your luck may run out and you’ll find yourself at the mercy of whatever social assistance program if any, is available.
Or you can decide that your life is too important to leave to chance and make some decisions that can positively affect your financial future. It might be postponing retirement and working for a few more years, or deciding to rejoin the workforce.
Another option could be collecting whatever benefits are available and working part-time to supplement these benefits.
None of those options however, can be continued indefinitely. Eventually you will have to stop working for one reason or another. Perhaps your health will begin to decline. Maybe your employer will decide to replace you with a younger employee. Possibly you won’t be able to keep up with the physical demands the job requires.
Whatever the reason, when the time comes your income will certainly be reduced. The question is whether or not your financial needs will be equally reduced. And if not, then perhaps you need to consider another way of maintaining an income level that will take care of your needs.
How to Afford Retirement
Now you may be wondering just what a person at that stage of life could do to supplement their income and be able to afford to retire. After all, you already know that working a regular job is not going to be a long-term viable option. Well, that’s exactly what has led many to consider the possibility of being self-employed.
Despite the poor economic figures being reported, there has never been a better time to open up a small business, particularly one that you can run from your own home. And the opportunities are no different for those wanting to retire. So why is this such a good option?
Well, for one thing, start-up costs for many home-based businesses are very small. You don’t have to pay rent, get insurance, carry huge amounts of inventory, or even hire employees. Because of that, right away your overhead is very low, so any money you do make can go straight into your bank account.
In fact, if you have a computer and Internet access, it’s possible to run an online business, which is even more hands-off than a traditional business. And you’ll be amazed at the endless possibilities that are out there, once you start to look around.
Money issues aside, running your own business can be a lot of fun, especially if you can tie it into a hobby or interest that you have. It can give you a purpose in life and provide the opportunity to do something meaningful every day.
If you’re worried that it might be too difficult, time-consuming or expensive, think again. Running a business from home doesn’t have to be a huge stressful undertaking that consumes every waking hour.
The key here is that it is going to be a small business that can be started slowly. You can take as much time as you need to feel comfortable with the day-to-day operations, and then run it on a part-time basis with only a minimal outlay of cash.
And of course, all the while you’ll be earning enough to take care of your financial ‘needs’, as well as providing yourself with the financial wherewithal to pursue a few ‘wants’.
There is no replacing the feeling that a secure financial future can bring you. Why leave your future to chance when by opening your own business you can retire on your own terms. At the very least, don’t you owe it to yourself to at least check out your options?
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