Retirement in S.I.G.H.T.?

Published 9:24 am Friday, October 22, 2021

By Charlestien Harris

I know you are probably wondering what the title of this article means right?  Most of us that are still in the workforce are looking forward to the day when we can finally retire.  Now you might be asking what does S.I.G.H.T. mean and how is it related to retirement?

The number one step in the retirement process is the ability to set goals to be fully prepared to retire when you decide to do so.  S-Specific, I-Inform, G-Graduate/Gather, H-Hard/Help, and T-Time Related are action terms that help you to “see” the retirement goals you have set for yourself. The goals you set must be, S-specific and relatable to your main objective which is to retire. If you want to retire by age 50 then you must list the specific tasks you need to accomplish to be able to do just that.  This includes asking the questions: when, where, what, why, and how.

The next step, I-information is critical because now you must do your homework when it comes to being “in the know” about the retirement process.  There are so many topics that you may not be familiar with such as Medicare and Social Security.   The more informed you are about those topics and others the better decisions you tend to make.  This might mean that you might have to seek professional advice on some issues. Having the correct information makes all the difference!

Once you identify the information you need, the next step is to G-gather/graduate, get that information in one place, actually read it, and then determine what information you can use and what information you can discard.  Compare it with the tasks you have listed in your plan.   If you have already accomplished some of the tasks then you can celebrate because now you can graduate to the next step.

The H-Hard/Help is one that can be most difficult because making tough choices can be hard and sometimes it’s even harder to ask for help. When it comes to our money we don’t like to be told what we can and can’t do with it.  Budgeting is often an “ugly” word when a counselor is working with a client and trying to get them to make some changes to their spending habits can be more difficult to achieve.  So, yes, it can be hard to change old habits or make those tough decisions when our lifestyle might be limited by our finances during the retirement years.

And finally, T-Time Related is assigning a time frame or a deadline for accomplishing the goals you set for your retirement.  One of the topics that may fit within the S.I.G.H.T. goal process is setting financial targets that are time sensitive.  You must develop a financial framework for your money during the long awaited period of retirement.  Every financial plan needs to be reviewed periodically, so to make sure you stay on track with your goal to retire early– review, review, review.

Other topics to consider are family, health, housing, employment and time.  Family could include your immediate household as well as your aging parents.  Your health is considered a major factor of determining when you might retire.  Trying to estimate the cost of future healthcare can be tricky but is must be included.  Questions about your living arrangements are just as important. Deciding whether to up size, down size, or move to a retirement community or buy a vacation home can have a major effect on your retirement budget.  Finances may be tight so deciding whether to work full time or part time, start your own business or work from home may be options available to you.

Something else you may not have thought about is how you may spend your leisure time.  As a retiree you might find that you may have more time on your hands than you figured.  Thinking about how you want to manage this new found time can be frustrating so be patient with yourself because you have been following a routine for several years now.  Some suggestions to get that kind of time under control might be to volunteer for nonprofits, serve your local church, or mentor a young person.

Setting S.I.G.H.T. goals can help you to “see” your retirement picture develop because you have actively begun the process of retirement planning.  Being prepared for the next stage of your life can be fulfilling and rewarding when the right plan is in place and can be executed without hesitation.  For more information about this topic or other financial topics you can contact me at 662-624-5776 or at Charlestien.harris@southernpartners.org.  You can also visit www.banksouthern.com/blog to read about other financial topics of interest.  Until next week—Stay financially fit.