Good things come to those who work: and work hard. As an athlete, you are keenly aware of the benefits that discipline, strength, and rigor play in your life. These traits have propelled you through long hours, early days, tough losses, and incredible wins.
But what happens when your professional sporting days come to a close?
Many people view this time with caution and trepidation, wondering where their path will lead them. Here at Pro Wealth, we want to give you the tools to build a retirement plan aligned with your goals, priorities, and values as a person. In turn, that plan will look different for each person, just as each competition requires a different game plan. But the fundamentals and thought processes remain the same. The good news is that you have far fewer random elements to consider and many can be reduced to predictable certainty by making the right moves early.
Your retirement can and should be an exciting time in your life—one that you have worked hard for and earned. Let’s take a look at how you can start to build your retirement lifestyle one day at a time.
Organize your finances
Retirement may look different for each person, but one component that remains the same is having the financial resources to support the life you want to live in retirement.
Planning, organizing, managing, and maintaining your retirement finances is an important and big job. It provides you with the ability to support you, your family, and the causes you believe in. To do it successfully, It is best to keep a few things in mind:
Create a retirement budget based on your goals and values
This budget should be reflective of living expenses including housing, food, and utilities, planned retirement expenses like travel, debt, and entertainment/recreation
Understand your changing cash flow and income streams
How will you get money each month? Will you work part- or full-time or are you relying entirely on investments?
Assess your time horizon and determine if your predicted income adequately matches your predicted liabilities.
Your liabilities will most likely change in retirement and that is normal. Work with an advisor who can help you manage that change in a seamless way.
Make a plan for Social Security benefits
Figure out how to maximize your benefits and how much income it will provide for you and your family. This is money you have paid into the government and they are returning back to you, but the timing is up to you.
Build a tax planning strategy
Taxes are an important element for new retirees. Work with your advisor and CPA to create a strong tax plan to help mitigate tax burdens. We all have to pay our fair share but there is no good reason to pay more than what is owed. Better to support your own favorite charity than let our “friends” in Washington support their favorite project.
Decide if an encore career or non-traditional retirement makes more sense for you
Your money is a tool to help you facilitate the things you want to do. Throughout your athletic career and beyond, be sure that you are consulting with a trusted professional to help you manage your money in a way that is reflective of your goals and values.
Prioritize your health
Your health is one of the most important aspects of a happy retirement. When we talk about health, we are really talking about both your physical and mental health.
You have been physically active for most of your life, and it is important to retain that energy and drive as you enter this new phase of your life. By prioritizing your physical health, you will be supporting your body to continue to be strong. This has a lasting impact on your ability to fight disease and infection, enjoy quick recovery time, as well as increased flexibility and balance.
When you keep up your physical health, you often just feel better all around. Think back to a time in practice when you ran faster than you had previously, or you were able to lift more in a workout, or you made that play that protected your teammate or may have ultimately won the game. By remaining active in retirement you can keep working on yourself and improving, and perhaps become an inspiration to those around you, leading by example.
Staying in shape physically is also known to drastically improve your mental health. Keeping your mind sharp by experiencing new things, doing something that challenges you, stepping outside of your comfort zone, or learning something new can help inspire you as you move into this new phase of your life.
Maybe you are interested in writing a book or learning more about astronomy, psychology, history, divinity, or whatever. No matter what it is for you, be sure that you take the time to pursue that interest and give your mind the stimulation and exercise it needs as much as your body.
No matter what your future plans are, whether you embark on a new career or engage in a worthy project to help your fellow mankind, there is always room to challenge your mind and your body.
Live a life you love
Your retirement lifestyle is one of the most crucial aspects of your retirement plan. It is also one of the most overlooked when people are young. Your lifestyle and planning today will determine how your life will operate when you retire. It takes some serious and thoughtful planning to get it right. To help, think through the following questions:
Where do you want to live?
This question takes into consideration the location and the type of housing structure (apartment, condo, house, etc.)
How do you want to spend your time?
This is often a tricky area for many new retirees as it asks you to make a plan for your day-to-day life. Take some time to think through whether that is working, volunteering, a passion project, or a combination of all these things.
In what ways will you find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment?
Finding new meaning in your life is something that can take time and flexibility to work through. Give yourself room to explore and discover.
This could come from making a new community and surrounding yourself with people you love and care about whether that be family, friends, or a new group.
Retirement is a huge transition for everyone. It is important that you take the time to create a retirement plan that will allow you to live your life with your goals and values at the center.
This is a really long list of things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself, but as we talked about in the beginning, take this one day at a time. A retirement plan isn’t made out of thin air. Like almost everything else that is important in life, it takes work, practice, and flexibility to get right.
Here at Pro Wealth, we have been in professional sports ourselves and understand first hand many of the issues you will face. We are invested in your success and want to see you living the life you have always dreamed of and worked so hard for. If you are ready to get started on your retirement plan, schedule a time to talk with us. We can’t wait to hear from you.