I'm usually a gigantic fan of getting a solid eight hours of sleep, but occasionally, I find myself restless at 4am. I try to put this unanticipated block of thinking time to good use, which means I typically run through new recipe ideas and plan what I want to cook in the hours and days ahead. I’ve recently thought up some pretty great recipe ideas, but it wasn't always about food and recipes. What used to occupy my thoughts in the dark was my worry about retirement. Not the lack of work part, the money part.
You see, my husband and I are both in our 50s, and well aware that time is marching on (no matter how much we try to pretend it isn’t!). The reality is that we’re not getting any younger and whether we choose to shift gears at 60, 65, or even 70, we don’t want to be working forever. These are the thoughts that were making my brain spin in the middle of the night. How could we be sure that we could afford the retirement we want?
Do you have an idea of what you want your retirement to look like? We’ve known for at least a decade exactly what we want ours to be. The top priorities? To stay in the home we love for as long as it's practical, both logistically and financially, and to fill our days with travel, volunteering, family, fitness, and fun. Oh, and food. Really, really good food. I fantasize about building a fire on a beach in Bora Bora to cook freshly-caught fish. A girl can dream, right? Yet, every time we tried to do the math, we weren’t sure if we could ever afford it. Compounding things (pun intended) is that since we’re self-employed entrepreneurs, we don’t have big government or corporate pension plans to count on. So we came up with a plan to make all of this possible. Thankfully, retirement is no longer a 4am worry.
In the past, we moved our money around a fair bit, but nothing seemed to be the right fit. This increased our fear that we were never going to be able to accumulate enough money for the future. We knew something had to change, so after a goals-based assessment at TD a few years ago, we moved all of our retirement investments over to them.
The advisors we deal with at our branch made it clear, right from the start, that they would take the time to understand not just our goals, but also our worries. We learned just how much we could accomplish in pre-retirement, the 15 years before we retire, and that it wasn't too late. Find an advisor who will take the time to get to know your goals and preferences like we did. We were unsure about our retirement, but after we spoke with them, we felt confident.
We discussed the realities of retirement budgeting, and they laughed sympathetically when I explained that we would need to allocate a lot more money than most people do for groceries (I plan to keep up my culinary creativity for many, many more years!). We talked about our travel wish list (near the top of mine: truffle hunting in Italy. Have you ever tried popcorn topped with truffle salt?), our expectations regarding our health, and what hobbies we hoped to enjoy. I felt like they really took the time to get to know us, which gave me confidence that the plan they put together is the correct one for us, and not just a cookie-cutter solution. They will do the same for you. They'll get to know your retirement wishes and goals and then come up with a personalized plan to make it happen.
I think one of the most reassuring things I’ve learned through all of this is that just as we all make choices about how we want to live our lives, retirement planning involves personal choices too. Dealing with our advisor has given us a sense of relief that we're finally getting the advice we need. They not only helped us build our portfolio, they’re also ready to help us continuously refine it to get a better rate of return. It’s nice to see our nest egg growing beyond the contributions we continue to make as often as we can.
I finally feel like we’ll be able to #RetireReady while still young and healthy enough to enjoy everything we’re eagerly anticipating in the next phase of our lives. And yes, that most definitely includes tropical sunsets, heaps of truffles, and plenty of champagne.