Decluttering and Simplifying Your Retirement

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This week’s insight homes in on how to go about decluttering and simplifying not only financial matters but also how you live out your retirement.

Maybe the springtime would have been more apropos for this topic, but there’s never a bad time to perform a little Marie Kondo in certain aspects of your life. It sounds like a light-hearted topic, but being proactive about tying up loose ends, such as rolling over an old 401(k) account lingering with a previous employer, reduces the burden you or your loved ones may face should an unfortunate health crisis strike. Streamlining your finances as you near retirement and then making it a yearly thing to review all the accounts, plans, and policies you are enrolled in is a savvy strategy, be it in the fall or spring.

That goes for possessions, too. Here’s one way to go about it: make categories for everything from prized possessions to family heirlooms to old knickknacks. You’ll soon see that a handful of things stir up warm memories while other items are just taking up valuable space. It’s like a “bucketing approach” to make your everyday life simpler. Ultimately, you should aim to strike a balance between sentimentality and practicality when deciding what to hang on to and what to toss to the curb.

Pruning your financial life and reorganizing your home has the added benefit of saving you money, too. While I’m not asserting that you should give up self-identity in retirement, getting rid of what’s not essential might mean reducing account fees, freeing up cash to move into higher-yielding investments (you can earn more than 5% basically risk-free now), and maybe even reducing your property taxes depending on how much you declutter your home.

Another tip? Do a little household inventory on a cool autumn weekend. It’s easier than ever these days – all it takes is your phone. Go through each room and take panoramic videos of your possessions. You will be glad you did in the event of a calamity like a fire or natural disaster.

Transitioning to retirement can be a challenge. It may help to reevaluate your goals and priorities as well as take stock of your possessions so that you can focus on what’s important. Uncomplicating your financial life and trimming away some items you own are thoughtful strategies to reduce stress to better enjoy retirement.