Do You Have the Right Priorities for Retirement?

 In Expectations, Financial Planning, Forecasts, Future, Goals, Happiness, Inspiration, Motivation, Retirees, Retirement, Social Security

DO YOU HAVE A PLAN TO BE HAPPY LATER IN LIFE?  (For retirement, that is).  Is your idea to get enough money and then you’re out the door? 

HOLD ON A MOMENT.  TAKE A DEEP BREATH.  STOP FOR A SECOND!  Having enough money is, well, great and all that, but as a financial adviser I would suggest there are other considerations that are more important for a fulfilling retirement than a great financial plan.  

IN FACT, FINANCIAL PLANNING BARELY CRACKS THE TOP FIVE OF ISSUES you should focus on as you prepare for life after work – and I’m an adviser!  It’s not that it doesn’t matter – it does.  It matters a lot and can make a huge difference in what you are able to accomplish.   But I have come to believe that preparing for other aspects of life will have a larger impact on your happiness as you age.  Here are considerations you should take more seriously as you think of your future (in order of importance):  

1)  SOCIALIZATION.  Who you will spend time with in the future?  This is a critical component of improving your quality of life and helping you get closer to happiness. Maybe you want more time with your spouse?  How about children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews?  Maybe siblings or more time with friends. What about making new friends or finding old ones?  You also need to consider how much time they want to spend with you!

OR, DO YOU WANT MORE TIME TO YOURSELF?  Many people will want more time alone.   How we decide to socialize with Family and friends will enhance the quality of our days as we age.  Think about what would be the right balance for you – and talk about it with the people in your life important to you.

2) PHYSICAL HEALTH.  Spending time on improving your health through diet and exercise can be life changing for some.  We all have to be fortunate enough to end up with good health later in life, but don’t overlook the importance of how you treat your physical well being as you get there  Staying active and learning to eat smart without depriving yourself can help you maintain energy and a good attitude.  It can also go a long way towards reducing stress.

3)  WORK.  Determine how important work will be in your life as you age.  Many people want nothing to do with leaving the workforce while others can’t wait to give it up for good.  Some might have to work, and if you do, think hard about the kind and amount of work that will help pay the bills while still keeping your stress under control.  

RETIREMENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING.  You can quit entirely, reconsider, and look for something new you might like.  You can also see if your employer might let you ease into retirement with a job share or partial work situation.  Work is a great way for many people to feel connected and valuable.  

4)  LEISURE.  Another word for this is fun.  What is fun to you?  Good health and a good attitude can help ensure that you have time to enjoy yourself.  But what will you do?  Do you really know how you will fill your time and find enjoyment? People who have focused on career, family, or just getting by may have had limited leisure time throughout their working years.  An open calendar seems desirable. But think hard about how you will fill it up.  For many retirees, this represents a real challenge.  If you want to have fun, prepare yourself for how you will make it happen.  It may not be as easy as you think!

5)  FINANCES.  It goes without saying that how much you accumulate for your future will have a huge impact on how your life unfolds.  This is undeniable.  As you get closer to retirement, less money means more sacrifices. Accept it for what it is and make your decisions accordingly. You may have less options for fun and/or need to work more, but you still have options and a path towards a future.  

PUT TOGETHER A GOOD FINANCIAL PLAN FOR YOUR FUTURE.   But don’t micromanage or obsess about it.  Know that it will change and realize that much of it is out of your control. Think about how you might adapt if you need to – you have probably done it before!  


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