“Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.” -Samuel Butler
People over 40 shouldn’t just plan for retirement, they should rehearse for it. Because retirement can last 20 to 30 years, it’s more important than ever that “pre-retirees” (those who plan to retire in five to seven years) practice how they want to live without work as the organizational focus of their lives:
Try out different retirement lifestyles.
For example, many people dream of selling the family home and traveling in an RV or going abroad. Practice this by renting a camper and going on the road for a long vacation. You may discover that travel is exhausting or boring to you.
The same holds true for relocation dreams. Rent a home where you think you may want to retire to see if it really is where you’d like to move. The weather may not suit you, or the community may not be your cup of tea. Work out these details before you commit to an expensive change.
Live with your spouse 24 hours a day.
Most couples spend much of their early years working and, thus, spending much of their time apart. It may take some time to get used to the other person’s schedule, habits, and routines.
Practice living on that retirement budget.
Most retirees’ income is significantly less than their preretirement income. Add up all the Social Security benefits, pension income, and 401(k) and IRA savings to calculate what you can realistically expect to live on each month. Then live on that amount for a month to determine what changes, if any, you need to make to your plans.