Did Your Plans for Retirement Survive COVID-19? 6 Goals to Reassess
Retirement plans have changed in Houston – and around the world, for that matter. With travel restricted in many areas, shelter-in-place restrictions extended and businesses in many industries slowed down, it’s important to reassess your day-to-day plans for retirement to see if they’re still possible post-COVID-19.
While the financial aspect of retirement is important, we've learned one thing in our 50 years of working with clients who are making this key life transition: Deciding how you will fill your days in retirement is a key component to a happy transition from your working years. Retirees who have nothing to do and no one to spend their days with often suffer loneliness, depression and other health issues.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had major impacts on the day-to-day plans of many older workers, affecting everything from when they plan to retire to what they’ll do in retirement. One survey suggested almost half of people between age 56 and 75 who are currently employed are unsure about how the Coronavirus pandemic’s economic impact will affect when they’ll decide to retire.
At Linscomb & Williams, we’ve had many discussions with clients about their retirement plans. Below are some aspects that may be helpful to consider.
Taking at least one big trip is on a lot of retirement bucket lists. But, as with most other things, the COVID-19 crisis has impacted the travel industry in unprecedented ways that could seriously crimp your plans.
Did you have itineraries booked in your early years of retirement? You may need to rethink your travel plans, either due to safety uncertainties, your health – physical or financial – or because of restrictions (the European Union has temporarily banned travelers from the U.S.). Even domestic travel is not without risks and possible mandatory quarantines, depending on the state. It’s also possible that flights, tours, cruises and other travel-related services have been or will be canceled. Your travel plans just may not be feasible, at least for the foreseeable future.
It’s unfortunate, but if you were counting on seeing the world during your first few years of your retirement, you may want to start considering some alternative activities to keep yourself occupied. Given the challenging financial conditions facing businesses in the travel and hospitality industry, be careful about tendering prepaid deposits that could be lost in the event of business failures by players within these industry sectors.
Visiting Your Loved Ones
Unfortunately, many of the same obstacles that may get in the way of your ability to travel may also hinder your plans to visit family. Can you get there safely? Can you get there at all? Does your family reside in an area considered a "hot spot"? Once you’re there, will you have to quarantine, or would you have to isolate when you return home? Are you at high risk for contracting the virus, or is someone in your family?
As terrible as it is to have to isolate from those close to you, you wouldn’t want to subject yourself or them to any unnecessary risk.
Maybe you were planning to relocate closer to family or to an area with a lower cost of living. While this can still certainly be done safely, you may want to consider the travel concerns listed above.
But what if you weren’t planning to relocate, and instead, simply enjoy your local amenities now that you have more time on your hands? Well, for a lot of retirees, that plan has changed too. For example, we have a long-tenured (30-year) client who loves living in New York City, in Manhattan, for all it offers. He is seriously considering now a move to a less-at-risk environment, because many of those activities of life in Manhattan have changed. If retirement life takes you to a new area, what do you plan to do there?
If you’re planning to relocate to Texas, read our recent blog post: 10 Reasons Why Houston is a Good Place to Retire.
Volunteering/Working Part-Time/Starting Your Own Business
Volunteering is another common activity for retirees, as is working part-time, whether this was a pre-COVID-19 plan or post, due to financial concerns. But today, you’ll have to ask yourself:
- Are volunteer opportunities still available?
- Is part-time work still possible?
- Have your dreams of opening your own business changed in today’s environment?
Schools remain shut down in many areas, so classroom help may not be available until later in the year. Many churches have stopped holding in-person services. A lot of charitable organizations have closed temporarily.
Going Back to School
Adult education classes are popular among retirees, whether it’s finally learning a foreign language, taking a pottery class or looking forward to a computer class to stay current with the grandkids. But many of these classes have been canceled or moved to an online setting. Will you enjoy online classes? Do you have the technological expertise and equipment to be able to attend in this way?
Maintaining Your Lifestyle
While retirement isn’t just about finances, though money is a factor, even if it’s just maintaining your current lifestyle when no longer working.
Many pre-retirees fear they won’t have enough money to retire now. Some are caring for adult children again who have moved home. Others had to dip into their retirement funds to stay afloat during a period of unemployment.
Discuss your situation with your financial advisor, preferably an advisor who follows the pure fiduciary business model as we do here at Linscomb & Williams. Sometimes, there are simple solutions to help bridge the gap, such as changing the date you start taking Social Security benefits.
The longer you can delay taking your Social Security benefits, the higher your monthly payment will be. If you can push the date you’ll start collecting benefits, you can increase the amount of money you’ll receive (by about 8 percent every 12 months until you turn 70).
If you’re interested in a complimentary, no-obligation retirement consultation, contact us. We’re here to help, whether you’re a current client or not.
If nothing else, the COVID-19 crisis has reminded us that things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be able to adjust and reposition ourselves when possible, and maybe even rethink our ultimate goals, whether they be retiring a little early, a little late or in a different way than originally planned.
Keep funding your retirement if you’re able and try not to tap into your retirement savings early unless absolutely necessary.
If you are someone whose retirement plans have changed in Houston, if you are close to retirement, or if the Coronavirus pandemic has you feeling anxious about your finances and your future plans, contact our credentialed and experienced financial advisors at Linscomb & Williams. Imagine the comfort and peace of mind in speaking with a financial advisor who can help you modify your plans, set realistic retirement goals and adapt to the current economic climate.