Dreaming of Retiring? Get a Countdown Clock!

countdown to retirement collage  

Dreaming of retiring? Or maybe taking a break for a couple of years? Want to go sailing off into the sunset … literally or figuratively? Does it seem too far away to even contemplate? You know what? It's never too early to start planning. You have to work at making your dreams come true, or they just remain dreams. Here's some tips on how to start.

1. Spend some time deciding what it is you really want to do.

Do you want to sail and live aboard a boat? Go RV'ing across the country? Travel? Start a little business? Put time aside to sit down, relax and really think about where you want to go and what you want to do. Whether you're 30 or 60, there's no time like the present to do this. You'll be 30 or 60 + one day older tomorrow. Get moving.

2. Put those dreams on paper.

Write it all down. For many reasons, when you take the time to make a plan and write it out, it becomes more concrete. It's more than just a dream. Make this a fun exercise for you and your partner. Get a special notebook … give it a name...your Dream Book, Retirement-R-Us book, We're Outa Here book, make it your own. Tweak your plan as things change. Write, rewrite and get it right. Set up a file folder (hard copy or on your computer) and keep relevant articles, links, and ideas close by

3. Assign a time frame to your plan.

countdown_Days to goStart with a biggie. “I'd like to retire in 2015 or 2020 or whenever and then I want to ...”

Then what? Sailing, travel, RV'ing, what? Actually assigning a time frame makes the dream more and more real. Now you know when. Wow!

4. Figure out how to get where you want to go.

After you decide the “what” and the “when”, figure out the “how”. Assuming your dream is not so out of the ballpark that it's unobtainable, start to determine how you'll achieve your goal. What about the finances? How much money do you need to retire or take a 2-year hiatus from work? Can you earn money while you're living your dream? What are the logistics of heading down the road you want to travel?

5. Research your plan.

This isn't work. This is the stuff your dreams are made of. What kind of boat? What kind of RV rig? Where will you go? What are the restrictions...financially, health-wise, family-wise? Maybe one of the passage maps from the blogsite?

6. Set milestones for yourself.

What needs to be done by what time in order to meet your goals? A savings plan? Getting the kids through university? Selling your home and downsizing? Make a list as part of the original plan and cross off the milestones as you meet and complete them.

7. Celebrate along the way.

Reach a milestone? Congratulate yourself! 1000 days left? Have a special dinner. 500 days to go? Half way to your savings goal? Decided what boat you're interested in buying or which RV rig makes sense? Make it a point to celebrate in some small, but significant way. The time goes by faster if you've got lots of big and little milestones to achieve and celebrate along the way.

8. Buy a countdown clock.

It might sound crazy, but we received a countdown clock as a gift from my sister when we made the decision to sail off into the sunset. It was nearly two years till we actually took off. We loved it as we watched the days, hours, minutes and seconds tick off. Everyday brought us just a little closer to making our dream a reality. We liked it so much, we recycled it and gave it to my parents when they were planning their trip of a lifetime to Hawaii.




Already retired? Out cruising or RV'ing or living your dream whatever it might be? How did you plan for it? What did you do in advance to make sure your dream became a reality?