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Financial • 5 minute read

Changing your money mindset: Think differently about money after retirement

Changing your money mindset: Think differently about money after retirement
By Kristina James
Published by Ruby

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For some people, the arrival of retirement day feels a little like jumping off a cliff into the unknown. All of a sudden the safety net of a regular paycheck is gone and the future looks a little scary. For your whole life, you’ve been told to save, save, save…


And retirement is when you stop saving and start spending.

Changing your mindset about money is a gradual process, but it starts with a spending plan.


Identify your spending needs and goals.

Roughly, your needs and goals will fall into three categories:

  • Essential spending needs.
  • Goals that are important but not essential.
  • Aspirational goals.


Essential Spending Needs

Your essential spending needs are the necessary monthly expenses

  • Utilities
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Medications
  • Groceries

You may not have kept track of your grocery bills or periodic repairs to your home pre-retirement but everything counts now. Don’t forget that amount of cash you routinely get from the bank machine to pay the pet sitter or tip the delivery person.


Important Goals

Under the heading of important goals would be buying a new car or travel that is not essential but important to you such as visiting the grandchildren.


Aspirational Goals

And aspirational goals are blue sky bucket list items like buying a boat or taking a European vacation.

It’s not “income”, it’s “cashflow”.

After you go through this process your next thought might be, “Where is all this money for the plan coming from?” And that’s when you have to make the transition of thinking of money as “income” and start thinking of it as “cash flow.”


In retirement, your money is going to come from several places:

  • combined savings, including
    • a 401K,
    • IRA
    • Roth IRA
  • your brokerage account,
  • savings
  • Proceeds from assets you plan to sell
    • second home
    • investment property
    • farmland
  • Social Security payments


Social Security

Social Security payments start when you turn 70, but you can choose to draw them as young as 62.


Get going.

You will set up monthly withdrawals from these pots to go into your checking account, which you should now start to think of as your “spending account”.

You want to take money for your spending account from the most efficient tax category, which is usually a high-yield savings account or money market fund.


Get help.

This is where a certified financial planner (CFP) can be vital. A CFP will collect all of the information on your financial assets and fit them with your spending needs. This will help them to arrive at a figure that meets your monthly requirements.

If you have an unexpected expense, such as replacing a deck or purchasing a new car, keep in mind that it’s OK to touch your principal. That’s why you saved all these years!


Get realistic.

There will be “blips” in your financial plan over the years. Some years, you may need to replace an air conditioning system and you spend more than normal. Other years will be smooth sailing.

You will realize over time that in some categories you’re actually spending less than you budgeted because now you’re actively thinking about each spending decision.

Get comfortable.

As you start to adjust your thinking about money, you’ll find your peace of mind increases. You’ll realize that , instead of feeling like you’re jumping off a cliff into the unknown, you’re actually taking control of your life.

And you’re buying yourself the most valuable thing you possibly can: your freedom.

How Ruby Can Help.

Ruby helps families get organized and enjoy financial peace-of-mind.

Managing accounts from multiple sources can be a pain. Ruby lets you see them all in a single view. We’ll also send you weekly summaries so you can watch what’s coming in and going out, and look out for fraud or missteps.

Ruby helps you identify trends and history, so you can make a realistic plan, and keep things solid going forward.

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