You’ve worked hard for many years. Now is the time for your reward, the icing on the cake, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the trophy for a job well done. But now you wonder how to plan for retirement and what fun things to do in retirement; you need a transition into retirement strategy.
Let’s begin by asking ourselves a few overarching questions.
How Do You Envision Retirement?
Traditionally, retirement has been the time to be done working and relax, perhaps to travel or go fishing. Many today define active retirement living as simply having the freedom to do those things which bring you joy and fulfillment regardless of the income they may or may not bring. Certainly, our retirement will look different from that of our parents and grandparents. How we each define and picture retirement depends on many individual factors, and your ideal picture of retirement will likely look quite different from mine.
It is important to begin dreaming about what you want your retirement to look like. You have a blank canvas, and you can begin to define what the next stage of your life will look like. Will you take up a side job to fill time? Will you volunteer? Will you take up a new hobby? Maybe you would really like a new career and not retire completely, just retire from the job you’ve always had.
It is probably a good idea to start thinking about this now rather than wake up the morning after you leave work for the last time and not know what you are going to do with yourself. That kind of uncertainty can lead to depression and withdrawal. Or, maybe you’re the type who would be happy with no plan at all; maybe you are a free spirit just looking forward to the freedom to be spontaneous. You know yourself, reflect on what challenges you, what motivates you, and what brings you joy.
What Will You Do for Fulfillment?
Preparation is crucial. We dealt with that a little bit in our previous post from a financial standpoint. We must also consider how we are going to live our lives.
Let’s face it, our reality for the last number of years has been pretty much the same – much of it taken up with getting ready for work, driving or riding to work, spending the next number of hours working, and then driving or riding home from work. WORK takes up a huge portion of our lives. Is it any wonder many of us define ourselves by the work we do? For years you have had a job that has brought fulfillment (hopefully) either in recognitions, promotions, or monetary gain.
Now it’s time to find that fulfillment elsewhere. So, just as we plan a vacation with all of the things we would like to see and do, we need to plan our retirement. Think of retirement like a vacation and plan it.
It’s time to reinvent your life! Fill your days. If you begin doing something that inspires you, you are off to a good start.
It can be a challenge in itself to discover what your passions truly are. While working, you were consumed with that, and now you can learn something new about yourself. Remember, once retired, you have transitioned into a place where you are in control of what your reality looks like!
What Are Your “Must Haves”?
Before your retirement dreams become reality, you do need to think realistically about your standard of living. So, another good transition exercise might be to make a list of those elements you see as “must haves” and those things you can live without. You may also wish to see a financial planner for help planning for retirement. Chances are good that your finances may be a little tighter once you have transitioned, and accepting that your lifestyle may need some adjustment may be a little hard at first.
For instance, maybe while you were working you made monthly visits to the hair salon or nail salon for pampering. Those visits were not cheap, and now that you have a streamlined budget you may need to ask yourself, are they “must haves”. If so, make sure you have the budget to accommodate. You don’t want to be two years into your retirement and have spent your whole nest egg.
Sometimes those decisions are hard, and things on our must-have lists need to be re-evaluated. Perhaps that side business may really help maintain the standard of living you are really dreaming of.
Transitioning into retirement should not be an overnight occurrence left to chance. Ideally it’s a process that begins when we’re still in our 20s, 30s or 40s. In any case, when the time comes to move into that phase, keeping these things in mind will certainly help you experience a richer, fuller retirement. Please comment below, and share some of your own retirement plans and questions.