I remember my journey to get my first driver’s license vividly. The preparation before the exam, the anxiety leading up to the big day, and the relief when I could finally start driving on my own are all part of the process that have become fun memories. The process of beginning retirement can be a similarly memorable experience:
You can prepare all you want, but there’s nothing like the real thing. It's always prudent to be more conservative with your money than what you feel is necessary. You can never save too much for retirement because it's easy to step up your spending and inflate your lifestyle at a later time.
You don't have to ace it to do well. You continue to improve your skills once you start driving. The process of retirement is equally as dynamic. No matter what is thrown at us, we will find a way to deal with it and thrive.
Different countries have different standards. Getting my license in Canada was much more difficult than getting the same driving privileges in the U.S. because there are two levels of road tests up north. Retirement is similar in that you can always move to another country if you feel that you want your dollars to stretch farther. Once you are no longer tied to a job, you make the rules.
You decide when you are ready to be on the road. It's no secret that most Americans don't have enough saved for retirement, but we are adaptable. We can always delay retirement or find part time work in our golden years. Retirement doesn't have to be an all or nothing experience. So, only decide to retire when you feel comfortable.
Getting the license is only the beginning. You probably thought you knew everything when you passed your road test, but getting a first license is just the beginning of your driving journey. You now probably have more insight on how to deal with every situation. And because everyone's circumstances change from time to time, you will no doubt encounter surprises. The good news is that some of the surprises are actually going to be pleasant.
After decades of driving behind the wheel, it's amazing to think back on how nervous I was at the beginning of the whole experience. And now driving is no big deal. Many people on the verge of retirement are apprehensive about how to build income and retire comfortably. But the leap into retirement is only the beginning of the retirement experience.
David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.