For most of us, the concept of retirement is a mystery.
The retirement that we 50+’ers are heading towards today is looking a lot different than our parents and grandparents retirement.
For many of us:
• we are single again
• we don’t have a pension
• we are still funding our children
• we are caring for our parents
• we have already travelled the world
• we have consumer debt
• we are living longer
• we have scattered families
We are unprepared and concerned for our future and it’s not just about the money.
I believe the whole “concept” of retirement is changing and there is more than just financial planning that needs to be considered. What will our lifestyle be like? What will we do? Where will we live?
Let’s do a visualization exercise. Sit back, close your eyes and begin to picture what your retirement looks like:
• What are you doing?
Are you still working? What kind of work? Are you starting your own business?
• Where are you living?
Are you moving from the city to the country? Or maybe from a house to a houseboat?
• What activities are you enjoying?
Are you travelling? Are you gardening? Are you bowling?
• How do you spend your time?
Are you volunteering? Are you coaching your grandkids sports team? Are you going back to school?
Reflect on what you want your “lifestyle” to look like in your retirement and think about how different (or the same) it is from your lifestyle today.
Once you begin to form a picture of your retirement lifestyle, you can start to determine what you need to do and how much money you will need to achieve this desired way of life.
Some examples of possible scenarios:
I live in the city but want to retire in the country and have a huge garden.
> A house in the city is much more costly than a country home. Perhaps paying off your house should be a priority because selling high with little or no mortgage can finance a smaller, country home and leave some left to live off.
I want to travel a lot and immerse myself in other cultures.
> If finances don’t allow for this, considering continuing to work but in other countries – – or for travel companies. If finances are not an issue, look for volunteer opportunities that take you deep into the real life of other cultures and not just into the hotels.
I am easily bored so I still want to work but not at the job I’m doing now.
> Consider going back to school to learn a new skill or maybe start your own company.
I believe that retirement is a journey, not a destination and the journey starts right about now.
Have you heard the expression “planning is half the fun”? Start planning!
If a new career is in your vision; start now to take some classes.
If travel is your plan; mount a huge world map on the wall, put pins in the places you want to go and start researching them.
If it’s volunteering; start looking for volunteer opportunities in the areas that you are most passionate about.
Revisit your plans often and prepare to be flexible. Make this visualization exercise a habit.
Life will still present challenges that may alter your course or you may make adjustments to your plan for whatever reason. That’s okay, this is a process.
It’s been said that one of the biggest problems for retirees is boredom. Boredom can quickly lead to depression and this is not healthy. Nor is it a good way to spend your “golden” years.
So, along with financial planning, start lifestyle planning for your retirement.
Image courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net