You've probably spent a good portion of your life planning for (and perhaps worrying about) retirement. But once you're actually there, will you be able to enjoy it?
According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, retirement ranks No. 10 in a list of the top 43 stressors -- and that's after death, divorce, and going to jail. You certainly didn't work that hard all your life, only to wind up overwhelmed in your senior years and unable to enjoy them.
Retirement doesn't have to be a stressful time, especially if you've developed a financial plan. But even so, you still may be feeling stress, which can undermine your ability to enjoy. Don't worry: Here are four tricks that will guarantee you'll have a more relaxing retirement.
1. Fill your portfolio with dividend-paying stocks
How can retirees relax when almost half of them are worried about running out of money? It's important to develop a plan to continuously have steady income, no matter what's happening in the stock market.
The best way to do this is by filling your retirement portfolio with equities that pay dividends. Depending on the company you invest in, you can receive payments monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Consider investing in Dividend Aristocrats, companies in the S&P 500 index that have paid dividends consecutively for 25 years. This way, you won't have to touch the principal in your retirement accounts, or at the very least, you'll reduce the amount of money you need to withdraw each month.
If you don't want to bother picking individual Aristocrats, try investing in an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that holds all of them, like the ProShares Dividend Aristocrat ETF (NYSEMKT:NOBL). Then, you can enjoy your time at the beach while the dividends find their way into your brokerage account.
2. Put your finances on autopilot
Another huge stressor both in and out of retirement is remembering to pay your bills on time. This is especially true for retirees who travel internationally and don't always have access to their bills. One way to combat this challenge is by setting up automatic payments. Almost every company now offers this option -- all you need to do is go to their websites and enroll.
This also holds true for the monthly withdrawals you make that provide income. Arrange to have a certain amount of money transferred to your account on a specific day every month. This way, you'll know when money will be deposited and can arrange to make your automatic bill withdrawals after that date.
3. Consolidate your accounts
During your working years, you may have had your retirement accounts with different companies. Perhaps your 401(k) was with one brokerage house, your investment accounts were with another, and your personal and checking accounts were with a different bank entirely. Now that you've stopped working, it would be much easier to bring all your accounts together so that you can manage them easily.
Most large brokers, like Charles Schwab and Fidelity, provide access to various banking services in addition to investing, including checking and savings, money market accounts, and CDs. Some even offer mortgages. And many offer money management services if you're not inclined to handle investing yourself. In any case, having all your money under one roof will give you the free time to work on your shell collection -- finally! -- if you're so inclined.
4. Have fun!
What's the most important trick to having a relaxing retirement? Remember to have a good time. After all, you've worked hard all these years and saved up an abundant nest egg so that you can enjoy life without worrying about where your next dollar is coming from.
It's time to realize all the dreams on your bucket list and explore everything you've never had time to explore before. You've earned it... now go out and enjoy.