No matter how old we are, it seems we’re always facing changes in life—some that are exciting and others that are difficult. Your kids may be experiencing a new life change, such as having a baby or getting married, or you might be preparing to move or retire.
While there are many adjustments you may experience, these four major lifestyle changes require planning and new ways of thinking. These tips will help you take the first steps in tackling these major changes.
Deciding to Retire
You’ve likely been thinking about retiring for years, and planning for decades, but setting the date comes with several decisions. How much money can you spend each year? Do you have any outstanding bills you need to pay? How will you live and where? The first step is to analyze your finances so you can ensure you can afford your desired lifestyle. This includes establishing a budget that identifies ongoing bills, remaining debt, ancillary expenses, and savings. And don’t forget to budget for fun—you don’t want your retirement savings to cover only the necessities. You can also plan for entertaining activities and time with your family.
Along with your finances, make sure you’ve established an estate plan—including drawing up a will, naming beneficiaries, and assigning a power of attorney—and that you review it every few years to make sure everything is up to date.
Helping with Your Child’s Wedding
If you think wedding bells will be ringing in your child’s near future, now is the time to assess how much you want to contribute and assist with the planning. Wedding planning is notoriously overwhelming, and it can feel just as formidable for the parents of the soon-to-wed couple. It will be a lot less stressful to save and budget ahead of time before your child’s engagement. One easy way to tackle this is to set up a separate savings account and make monthly contributions.
Beyond financial support, consider how else you can help your child, including befriending the in-laws and assisting in the planning. Have an open conversation early in the engagement about what role your child wants you to play in the wedding to make the process run more smoothly. They’ll remember the care and support you offered and gave the most, so use these moments to grow even closer to your child.
Supporting Your Child through a Divorce
We all want to have faith in relationships, but when roughly 35% of marriages end in divorce, there’s a chance your child may separate from their spouse. The first step is to accept the decision, whether or not the announcement catches you by surprise. Try to put your feelings aside and focus on how your child is feeling and what they need to feel supported.
Along with offering a shoulder to lean on, evaluate how else you want to help your child through the divorce, such as offering them a temporary place to stay and helping with financial costs. If little ones are involved, you’ll also want to decide how you can help your grandchildren through the process, such as babysitting and distracting them from the chaos.
Preparing to Move
Whether you’re moving across town to a smaller home for retirement or to the other side of the country to enjoy your favorite climate, moving is one of the most stressful events. There’s the pain of packing and unpacking, the time spent organizing your belongings, and the planning for the whole process. Beyond the logistics, moving is often more expensive than anticipated.
When preparing to move, start by evaluating your moving costs and options. If you’re planning to do much of the moving on your own, you’ll still need to budget for boxes, packing tape, and a moving truck. Don’t forget to factor in time you have to take off from work! Alternatively, you might instead use a professional packing or moving service. These services are priced based on moving distance, house size, and other factors. Get quotes from several moving companies to compare your options so you can budget accordingly.
Regardless of your age, life never stops changing or throwing new challenges your way. While you can’t predict every obstacle in life, you can plan for some of life’s biggest changes. Taking even the smallest steps now will relieve some of the stress in the future and help you feel more prepared today.