Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Just take it one day at a time and look at all aspects of retirement planning.
By: Allan R Kirby
Over the years I have seen many people making the big decision to retire, of course I was always envious that these people could now move on to a life of leisure and relaxation. A few times I did ask the soon to be retirees what their plan was, and of course the standard response was that they planned to travel. I never paid much attention to this response, thinking I would simply just do the same, but as I get older I am now starting to ask myself, what is retirement? how should I plan for it, not just financially but mentally. I realize we have an incredible amount information available on financial planning for retirement but we really do not talk much about how we should mentally plan for it.
“What is retirement, what does it mean”
I have always known that you need to have some sort of plan, but the reality is that I have always focused on financial preparation, because I believed that having enough money to retire is the most important part of retirement planning. Today however I believe there are other parts to the retirement equations that are just as important, such as, preparing mentally for retirement because it is a big change in a person’s life. Retiring means you no longer have the 9 to 5 routine nor do you have the regular social connections and the feeling of accomplishment you get from your job. Our identities are tied to our profession so once that is gone you just a lot of free time to do something. Travelling will only take you so far, and its likely most of us are not going to be travelling the entire time we are retired.
I knew I needed to develop a much more concrete plan on how I am going to spend my retirement, and to look more closely at what retirement means for me and the following is what I came up with.
“Working Part-time could be a good way to transition into retirement and put some extra money into your pocket”
I decided to provide my plan as an example to help you understand how I am approaching retirement, My plan is simple and consists of three main idea’s, these of course can change over the next few years but it does give me a framework to allow myself to mentally think about how I should move myself into retirement. I built these ideas from simply talking to family and friends who have retired, I felt talking to retirees instead of people who have yet to retire would help me get a better sense on what I wanted to look for.
Working Part time, this was suggested to me by several retirees, something I never thought about, I just thought I would work full-time until I retired, however working part time allows you to slowly transition from work to retirement, besides providing a little extra income, working part time allows you to continue being physically active, socialize and maintain an identity.
Living in Florida, for a number of years now I have been going to Florida during the winter months just to get away from the cold weather. I had thought about living in Florida but I never really looked at it seriously until now, which was blessing in disguise because I began to realize the costs of accommodations, insurance, and other expenses are a little higher than I originally thought, this has resulted in me reducing my expectations on what I can and cannot do. I also found ways I could keep myself active within the community where I plan to live.
Volunteering, I have been volunteering for a number of years and found the work to be interesting and fun to do, there are challenges at times but that is normal, however I now see me continuing to volunteer into retirement because it provides the social aspects along with a sense of accomplishment. I am not one to just sit and read books or watch TV all day, I need to get out and do things and believe this will help me mentally ensure I keep myself active in retirement.
“Take your time, no hurry, you just need to start thinking about how you want to shape your own retirement”
Many experts have been highlighting the pending retirement crises, which centers on the issue that most of us have not saved enough for retirement but I think we should be looking at other aspects such as transitioning and planning what we want our retirement to look like. One of the biggest errors retirees have advised me is the lack of mentally planning for retirement, they felt you need to mentally plan for your retirement and understand that you should ensure you find ways to keep yourself active.
My own plan helped me realize a needed to make few changes in order to ensure I can meet my goals, of course over the next number of years I may adjust my plan, it’s not written and stone, however focusing more on what retirement means to me will help me with both my mental and financial wellness.
This is a MySmallBank.com blog written by Allan Kirby, who writes and produces Personal Finance articles and videos.