It’s so much more than financial planning!
Do you dream of retiring? Are you saving and slaving to get there? Of late, statistics and surveys indicate that a lot of the boomer generation expects to work into normal retirement years, whether by choice or necessity. I’m one of the lucky few who worked hard, planned ahead and had some luck in order to be able to retire early.
In 2010, at age 61, I stepped out of the 9 to 6 world and into the world of my retirement. I planned it years ahead of time, originally thinking I would retire in 2008. Seeing the downturn and knowing of several things we would want to do in the short term future, I stuck it out for two more years to build up a huge cash reserve, and consider the non-financial aspects of retirement.
I had the traditional retirement party send off, with an engraved clock, a going away party and all the trimmings. It was great fun. It continues to be great fun, because I did think of the many facets of retirement.
If you are thinking of retiring, make sure to consider all aspects of retirement, not just the financial ones.
Non financial preparations for retirement.
What is it that you want to do as a retired person, that you aren’t doing or can’t do now when you are working? Really think about those activities. Picture yourself doing them day in and day out. Consider whether they will be attractive to you after that first golden year! Do you want to sleep in, then go play golf? What happens if you can’t sleep? What if it rains? What if there is no one to play golf with? What if your body won’t support doing those activities!
Will it be difficult spending so much time with your spouse?
How will you and your spouse give each other the personal space you are currently enjoying? Mine had retired two years prior (at age 58!).Luckily my spouse loves the great outdoors and I spend a lot of time inside. If we are both inside, I move my ‘office’ to the end of the house away from him to give us the personal space we need. I sometimes travel without him and he does things outside the home occasionally without me.
Plan to embark on several new opportunities, some to start retirement and others for later on.
Before leaving work, I started a class on entrepreneurship. That class extended into retirement time and helped me work to launch my online businesses.
How will you find your new opportunities and get started on them? Will you learn a new skill? Teach what you know? Volunteer for a cause you love? Start a business, write a book, climb a mountain, go into politics, or any one of the infinite number things other than what you do now?
I started several online websites – spending a lot of time learning the technical and business aspects of setting up and running a site. My next opportunity may be real estate – as I am currently studying up on how to buy rental property and manage it! Later on, I may decide to run a franchised business. Meanwhile, I am starting to decide on which kind of volunteer activity I would like to do.
What will be your motivation for maintaining the healthy, beneficial routines you use while working?
Will you continue your exercise routines? Will it be more difficult to do so, making it necessary to find new avenues for exercise?
I decided early on to keep my morning home exercise and tooth care routines. As I had done this for years, it was just a matter of continuing the routine. I added a 3 mile daily walking routine (weather permitting).
How do you plan to stay connected to the outside world?
Many studies have shown that good health requires social interactions. Do you currently have connections and relationships not work centered? If not, how do you plan to develop some?
This has been my hardest area. I do connect online with many different people and have spent more time with family, but my preference would be to develop at least two new social interaction avenues – perhaps a church group and a volunteer group. It is frustrating to have the time and money to do what you want, but no one who is available to do it with me because of work or school schedules!
How will you bolster your sense of self-worth?
Work provides much self gratification – you (and others) offer congratulations when you succeed in a job well done. You receive recognition and admiration from your peers. These are very satisfying feelings and you will miss them if not received. How will retirement provide a sense of self worth and gratification for you?
Knowing that I have set and met goals has given me much satisfaction. Learning how to build and develop my sites and seeing them grow has been very satisfying. My family and friends also provide a lot of positive feedback and recognition of my efforts.
In summary, as you consider retirement, I urge you to consider how you will stay involved, move forward with new goals and find a cause if you don’t have one. Don’t just think about whether or not you have enough money!
Have you pictured what your retirement will be like? What will you do during the day and evening? What will your week and month be like?