The baby boomer generation consists of 78 million people, all born between 1946 and 1964. Every day 10,000 more in this group reach the age of 65 and are confronted with one of the biggest decisions of their lives – whether or not to retire. Choosing how to spend your time, your changing family dynamics and establishing financial stability are just three concerns that a retiring baby boomer will have to face.

Establishing Financial Stability

As a baby boomer considering retirement, there is one question that needs to be addressed above and beyond all others: Can you afford to retire? This question spawns others about how much money you need to live on, where the income will come from, and whether the money will last you for the rest of your days. Working with a financial planner is essential in helping to create a clearer picture of your finances and evaluating your options and alternatives in order to meet your lifelong financial goals.

Deciding what to do and what direction to go in is not a decision to be talked about casually or scrawled on the back of an envelope. There are many important decisions to be made, such as when to start taking Social Security, pensions, and withdrawals from IRAs, and how best to use your personal savings. Financial stability is one of the most important elements of retirement, and keeping your portfolio balanced throughout the year will help you handle other areas of retirement, including family dynamics and how you will spend your time.

Changing Family Dynamics

Inevitably, working impacts the time we have to spend with our spouse, children and extended family. You may have wished that you had more time for family and retirement will definitely give you that opportunity. The question is, are you ready for it? Typically, the family dynamic begins to shift as we age, as our children become parents and grandchildren enter the picture. With retirement, there may be greater expectations to uphold your responsibilities in family and social settings now that you have this free time, and this may require additional assimilation for some newly retired individuals.

Caring for elderly family members is another area that affects many baby boomers. The relationships you have with your siblings may be affected when it becomes time to care for an elderly loved one. Arguments and controversies can spring up over the decisions that need to be made, especially when dealing with assisted living, final wishes, and the remains of the estate upon passing. This can add additional stress to your adjustment to being retired and should not be overlooked. With the right planning, many of these potential issues can be minimized or avoided altogether.

Choosing How to Spend Your Time

Do you realize that when you retire, you will gain 40 hours a week (2,000 hours per year) that are now free to do with as you wish? Think of all the potential experiences that you can now make a reality. The financial stability you build with your advisor is key to making your retirement exactly what you want it to be. Maybe you have aspirations to travel the globe and see the sights. Perhaps you have always wanted to build a big deck in the backyard. Either way, your disposable income needs to be planned out ahead of time.

In addition to home projects and world travel, you may choose to be more involved with your community, make new friends or venture out to try something new. Many retirees use this new freedom as a chance to improve their lives with a new hobby, group exercise or even skydiving (it’s true!). Today it is not uncommon for retirement to last 30 years, and you should plan accordingly. Dust off that bucket list and see what you can still accomplish in your golden years.

Figuring out what you are willing to do and where you belong may be ever-evolving, but reaching out to others and knowing that you have support is key. Working with a financial planner with expertise in retirement planning will help you differentiate between perception and reality. The right financial plan should show you exactly what is possible.

You deserve to live your life to its fullest potential. So….

Are you ready for retirement or not?