One of the biggest misconceptions about retirement planning is that it’s all about money.
The truth is it’s also about the mental, social, physical and spiritual aspects of life after work. Yes, it’s important to have your financial ducks in a row, but I so often see retirees left in a precarious position because they’ve failed to address all the other factors that make up a successful retirement.
So if you’re planning for your own future, that plan should include strategies to:
The things that occupy your time should be things you’re passionate about and things that energize you—and these things require planning just like your finances do. The challenge for many is really getting to the heart of what gives you fulfillment and meaning in life.
Here are a few questions to help you get started.
If money wasn’t an issue, would you continue doing what you’re doing?
If you answer “yes”, then you love what you do. Maybe your current profession is something that you continue to explore in some capacity, and “retirement” is a more flexible concept. If you answer “no”, then you should start figuring out what you really love to do. Could that mean retiring early, or funding a different kind of lifestyle when you do retire?
What activities energize you?
Carpentry, fitness, embroidery—it could be anything. What is something you rarely have time for, but you thoroughly enjoy doing? Is there an activity you wish you could try if you had the opportunity? You should be able to have more fun in retirement, and whether it’s doing something that creates a source of income or requires one, your retirement plan should address it.
What gives your life meaning?
In life, meaning is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without it, we cease to operate efficiently and begin a slow descent to illness. So once you take all your financial considerations out of the equation, what remains? For many, the answer is some combination of physical health, emotional or mental well-being, socialization, personal relationships, or community support. Consider the aspects of your life from which you derive the most meaning and look at ways to enhance them in retirement.
I firmly believe that happiness is a currency more valuable than money, which is why I encourage my clients to explore their ideas, plans, and current beliefs about retirement before getting into the dollars and cents of it all.
If you’re looking for more resources on planning a meaningful, fulfilling retirement, feel free to give me a call or explore my blog.
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