How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work when you were “old,” and you drew on savings and pensions to live out your non-working years (maybe a decade or more) with family and friends. That’s all changed -- nowadays, retirement can mean any or all of these things:

  1. You shift from full-time work to part-time work – either at your current employer (if your firm is flexible) or at another employer.
  2. You begin a new career from scratch – doing something that you always wanted to do and never had the time (and you can afford to do this, even if you don’t turn a profit).
  3. You stop work altogether, take some time off and then return to work (at the same or different employer) because you missed work and found being retired bored you. (note: this can be an issue if you don’t have meaningful hobbies or community activities).
  4. You stop work altogether and begin a new unpaid career as a volunteer in your community, across the country or overseas.
  5. You stop working, find a new geographic location and split your life between your former “home” and your new “vacation home.”
  6. You never actually “retire” – if you have your own business or you teach at university, for example, you have control over how long you continue working.
  7. You never actually “retire” because you can work virtually for many years into the future.

In fact, the possibilities are endless. The “new” retirement assumes you’ll live another 20, 30 or 40 years in “retirement,” which you can shape in many different ways. Forty years in retirement, you may ask?! Retirement that lasts 30-40 years once was unthinkable but I have clients in their 50s and 60s with adult parents in their 90s – and some of those parents in their 90s are now well into 40 years of retirement.

Sign Up for E-News

Here are some of the things that a financial advisor can help you determine as you go about designing your ideal retirement:

  1. If you have a detailed financial plan, you can ask your advisor to run various scenarios (e.g work full time to 65, work to 62 and move to a less expensive part of the States, work to 62 and spend part of each year in Italy, etc.). These scenarios can change and be updated as your thinking changes. The financial advisor inputs inflation rates, various projected investment rates of return and other assumptions to test how viable each retirement scenario is.
  2. You're advised to modify your retirement. Example: after due diligence, perhaps your financial planner advises you to postpone retirement a few years (although you don’t enjoy work) but gives you the green light to save less and spend more doing things you enjoy (example: travel) to help take the bite out of working those additional years.

Here are some issues that a financial advisor definitely should explore as you consider your ideal retirement:

  1. Long-term care insurance – is it right for you? (for many of my clients, the answer is: yes). What will premiums cost you (based upon your health condition) and will this insurance be sufficient to staunch the drain on your assets if you need at home or institutional care?
  2. Significant reserves for health care. Medicare covers some medical costs but these need to be supplemented with savings (covering the so-called “donut hole”). Medicare does not cover vision or dental. Medicare does not cover at home long-term care. Medicaid will cover institutional care only if you’ve spent down virtually all of your assets.
  3. The possibility that adult children or grandchildren will need significant financial support – are you willing or able to help in that way (if you want to)?
  4. What happens if you’re married and your spouse unexpectedly needs care or predeceases you – are you still able to fund your ideal retirement?
  5. What’s the best way to approach funding your retirement if you’re in a second marriage and have separate assets but share many common goals and expenses: living expenses, travel, etc.
  6. Longevity risk is a key issue for this new generation of potential retirees. It’s great to live longer, but how will you fund your lifestyle if you live into your 80s or 90s?

No one can picture your ideal retirement better than you, but sometimes these future dreams are eclipsed by reality (you’re bored, retirement costs are higher than anticipated, other planning emergencies occur that you did not expect). Working hand-in-hand with a financial planner is the best way to methodically examine all “ideal retirement” scenarios and see how many of them leave you in the “financial pink.”

Eve Kaplan is a Fee-Only (no products sold) Certified Financial Planner® Practitioner with 30+ years of investment/planning experience. Kaplan Financial Advisors upholds the highest fiduciary standards in the planning industry.  Eve opened Kaplan Financial Advisors in 2004 to provide comprehensive financial planning and investment management services to single women and couples. Eve can be reached at 908-898-0549 or  Visit her website at


Copyright © 2011-2018 by Eve Kaplan

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Sleep out at Covenant House

June 18, 2018

I can enjoy the same movies over and over like it were the first time to see them.  My kids roll their eyes at this.  Well, many unimaginable things happen as you become a certain age, and you tend to learn to accept those things graciously as gift.   But I remember the movie “The Blind Side.”  Until I saw that movie, I didn’t know homeless children ...

The Grove at Connell Park Hosts a Home for Good Dog Rescue Adoption Event: Wednesday, June 27

June 21, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Home for Good Dog Rescue presents an adoption event from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27 at The Grove at Connell Park located on Connell Drive in Berkeley Heights. (Rain Date June 28)

Click here to apply to adopt:

About Home for Good Dog Rescue: Home for Good Dog Rescue (HFGDR) is a 100 percent foster-based, non-profit ...

Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives Overwhelming Support from Community to Help Mothers this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is often celebrated by showering the women in our lives with beautiful flowers, heartfelt cards, and taking them on special outings to show them how much they mean to us. Yet, for many low-income mothers living in our community, they struggle each day to provide the basics for their babies.

Diapers are a necessity yet one in three families in the United States lack an ...

New Providence Recreation Offers Adult Summer Programs

New Providence Recreation is accepting registrations for adult evening and daytime programs that run June 25th – August 31st.  Most of the eight to nine-week sessions are under $65; several programs are free for NP residents!  All levels of fitness and those returning to exercise are welcome.

Programs are offered starting at 6 a.m.. If you are seeking weight loss, core body ...

Summit Community Blood Drive is Sunday; First 50 donors Will Get a Free Union Theater Movie Pass

The weather may have just started to warm up, but New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS) is already urging the public to donate blood as we head into the summer months.  With schools closing and vacations scheduled, less people donate blood from June through August but transfusions are still needed for local patients.   

“We’re especially thankful to our dedicated donors ...

Missing in North Plainfield: Have You Seen Angel?

June 21, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Have you seen Angel?

Angel is a seven year old black and white Husky last seen near Westervelt Ave. and Manning Ave. on June 16. Her family says she is very friendly. 

If found, call Andrea at  888-466-3242.


Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith Attends Gun Safety Bills Signing Ceremony with Gov. Murphy in Trenton

June 14, 2018

TRENTON, NJ -- Mayor Al Smith attended a gun safety package bill signing ceremony at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton on Wednesday with Governor Phil Murphy. Mayor Smith joined a bipartisan group of local and state elected officials, as well as members of Moms Demand Action of Union County, at the event. 

“As a leader in Sandy Hook Promise, I was happy to accept the ...

What's Hot and What's Not

Summer is a great time to take a step back, sip a cool beverage, and take a look at what’s going on in the world of college admissions.  Departments use the summer to evaluate how their year went and plan on any changes they want to make for the fall.  Did they over-enroll? Under-enroll?  What application materials were useful to them?  Which were redundant or time ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...