Retired? What to do with all of that time
When you are planning for retirement you may have all your ducks in a row. Many of the financial obligations of your life have been paid off; home and college. You have a nest egg to pay for living expenses and medical costs, an estate plan to ensure your family is protected when you pass, insurance so you are not a burden to your loved ones in your most elder years. You are free to live the life you desire.
Having a strong plan is critical to living a financially secure retirement, but have you considered and planned for your time when you retire? It can be a crucial yet often overlooked part of the planning process. For those who have not considered what their days, weeks and months will look like, it can make for a strained transition to your next phase of life.
Replacing the benefits that a career provided can be a challenge. You may need to seek other avenues to reshape your sense of identity, develop structure and rebuild your social connectivity. Not having a replacement for these things can leave a void that has proven to have an impact on physical, emotional and mental health. We recommend taking time now before retirement to create a plan for how you will spend your days in retirement.
Look in the Mirror
It is likely that your version of a fulfilling experience will be unique to you. Doing some self-reflection when you are considering how you might like to spend your time in retirement can help you clarify what is important to you. Reflect on elements that may have gone on hold due to time or money. Think about what brings you satisfaction from your job and what you might lose or miss from it when you move on to the next chapter. Looking at it this way can help you hone in on the activities you might want to pursue once you retire.
Is there a community group or nonprofit that you have passion or appreciation for? Do you have a hobby that has been on hold? Is there something you always wanted to learn about? Asking these types of questions and discussing it with your spouse, close friends and family can help you identify substantive activities and experiences that, hopefully, will instill a sense of purpose that fulfills you.
One Foot in the Door and “The Third Age”
Two popular trends for those approaching retirement are to consider phasing out their retirement or pursuing a new career altogether. As people are living longer and healthier lives, the idea of being completely unemployed at the age of 65 sounds more like a punishment than a vacation for some people, especially those who have a strong sense of identity from the work they do. On the flip side, people who were not necessarily ecstatic about their careers find the opportunity to pursue something new as a revitalizing chance to do something they really love.
If you have a strong attachment to the work you do and the people you spend your days with, then a phased retirement arrangement might be a good option for you. More often companies are offering a phased retirement option. For you, the benefits include staying socially engaged, keeping your mind sharp and alert, keeping a stream of income for a bit longer, and, of course, having more time to spend doing things outside of work and cultivating other relationships and creative or professional pursuits.
In Europe, the concept of the Third Age is very popular, and in the US it is more widely used to explain the Encore Career trend. The Third Age identifies that between retirement and old age is a life stage that, right now, is embodied by most of the Baby Boom generation. This generation is healthy, active, vibrant and not quite ready to sit in the rocker. The Encore Career has served as the inspiration for many retirees to pursue a career in something they are passionate about. As a result, the non-profit and arts sectors, specifically, have benefited greatly from new and invigorated participation from people aged 50-70. The job satisfaction among those who have pursued encore careers is very high. You are able to use the skills and experiences you have developed over the course of your life and career and apply them to something new and, perhaps, something that is more aligned with your passions, creativity, and valuespassions, creativity, and values.
To Each His/Her Own
Are you reading this and thinking, “Um, I have no interest in having a full schedule to replace my old full schedule. I want to wake up leisurely, play some golf or do some writing or gardening, have a nice dinner, watch the news and go to bed early. I want to travel twice a year and spend the weekends with my grandkids.”
To this, we say, “That’s awesome!” You have a very keen sense of how you want to spend your retirement days.
Not everyone needs to stay in their career, start a new one, go back to school or run for town council just because they suddenly have the time to do so. The pause for concern would be if you had no idea how your days would look. If someone told you that your retirement would start next week, would you have an idea of what your time would be spent doing? If the answer is “No.”, then we highly recommend taking the steps to set some goals and create an action plan for your retirement. Just as with finances, planning for retirement far in advance will benefit you most in the long term.
There is no owner’s manual for retirement or any of life’s transitions for that matter. A successful retirement can take on many forms and, sometimes, you might have to try a few times before you get it right. Considering how you define success and happiness is a good place to start when you are trying to figure out your retirement plans. We are here to help you plan for the future and find clarity in your personal and financial story. For a discovery appointment complete this brief questionnaire and we will contact you to get started.