Summer is the time to be outside enjoying the sun and hopefully getting in a trip to the beach, mountains, or wherever one feels relaxed. Summer is traditionally a season where people try and take some sort of break. It’s a chance to step out of the rush of life— if only for a few days. It can also be a great time for reviewing the year so far. While soaking in the sun and ocean breeze, take a moment to reflect on the goals you made for 2020. Back in January, when the sun was still hidden behind gray clouds and you couldn’t go outside without being completely bundled up, we listed three worthwhile goals for 2020. Painful or rewarding as it may be, let’s take a moment to check back in on our plans for 2020.
1. Have you reduced debt?
Our first retirement goal was to decrease debt. Certainly, with the trial of COVID-19 hitting the U.S. as it did, this may have been a tough goal to accomplish. Nonetheless, the importance of this retirement goal remains. Taking on large financial burdens can take control out of your hands and even push you to remain employed longer than you would like. Rather than work for you, debt turns the power of compounding interest against you.
In his insightful book, Retire Inspired, Chris Hogan strongly warns against debt and draws the comparison between it and quicksand, “It’s a slow process; at first, it looks like they are on solid ground, and then, all of a sudden they are sinking. Then they realize that they can’t get traction and that they cannot get out. Debt, just like quicksand, slows down your progress, and it often brings your journey toward that dream to a complete halt.”1
2. Have you decided what to do with your house?
As we mentioned in January, the decision regarding where to live in retirement is one of the most important considerations. Now is a perfect time to review your goals for retirement as they relate to housing. Do you plan to remain in your current home? Are you wanting to travel? Do you desire to spend more time with grandchildren? Or are you truly looking forward to settling into your house? Retirees with a focus on traveling often consider downsizing their living spaces. To position yourself for the transition to retirement, it is vital to examine your residence in light of these questions.
Federal employees who would like to sell their homes need to be aware that the process may take longer than they anticipate. If your home does not sell before you retire, can you pay mortgage, living expenses, and taxes on a potentially reduced income? Whether you’re closing in on this milestone or are still a few years out, we would again encourage you to consider where you will live in retirement. Perhaps today is the time to talk with your significant other about this pivotal retirement goal.
3. Have you attended a retirement training?
Our last retirement goal was to attend a retirement training. Retirement trainings, whether through your agency or Retirement Benefits Institute, can help bring to light the many aspects of federal retirement. With so many moving parts, it can be helpful to speak with those who have walked others through this process. Often, simply having someone to ask questions and talk through issues with, can provide the confirmation needed to take that first step toward retirement.
1. Hogan, Chris. (2016) Retire Inspired. The Lampo Group Incorporated.