One of the most important things you can do for your future is plan for retirement. Even if you’re self-employed, it’s possible to save for the future and establish a retirement plan that allows you to reach financial freedom.
But your plan for retirement isn’t just about building up a portfolio of stocks and bonds while you build your business. You also need to think about what retirement means to you.
Are You Really Going to Have a “Traditional” Retirement?
Your first step is to figure out if you are really going to have a “traditional” retirement. We have this idea of retirement being a time when you stop working and seeing income, and instead just live off the assets you have amassed.
But you’re an entrepreneur. The reality is that you would probably find this idea of retirement somewhat boring. I know that I’m not interested in building my nest egg and then just hanging around doing nothing. I’ll probably keep writing, and doing other things that interest me.
I’m setting aside money for “retirement,” but I also know that I will need to stay engaged in some way. As long as I can keep leading my preferred lifestyle in retirement, and as long as I can bring in some money from passive sources and from my writing, I’ll probably keep doing it. I might cut back, or change the things I write about, but retirement to me really just means enjoying my life. It really just marks a point in time where I start drawing from my tax-advantaged accounts, rather than some magical point where I stop “working.”
Plan for Retirement Activities
Even as you plan for retirement finances, don’t forget about your activities. When I’m really honest, I realize that my retirement is likely to look a lot like my life right now, except with a little more travel.
Right now, my son is in school, and that means that I have to plan accordingly. We have a good time during school breaks, but I can’t just plant myself in a new place for six months at a time because I’m not homeschooling him.
I know I want to travel more, and possibly remain involved in my community, so that is likely to inform many of my retirement choices. I’ll build my financial plan around what I want to accomplish during my so-called retirement, rather than just trying to amass money for money’s sake.
Being an entrepreneur also means that you have the option to embark on a new adventure in retirement. Once you are done with one business, and you retire from it, you can start another business, or try something different altogether. There’s nothing wrong with starting again later on if you find something that interests you, and you have laid the financial foundation.
Remember to plan for potential medical expenses and think about what you will do about living arrangements in addition to activities, and you have a better chance of moving forward, however you want your retirement to look.