Many of us approach retirement as if it’s one dimensional, focused only on the dollars and cents it will take to keep us solidly in the lifestyle we want. But there’s so much more to retirement than investment choices and what’s in your bank account. There’s a whole life to be planned in this next chapter of your life.
Planning for the Next Chapter: While being financially prepared for retirement is important, understanding the emotional, physical and psychological realities before retiring, then integrating them into a balanced plan is ultimately the key to a successful and meaningful retirement. It all starts with getting clarity into what a successful and satisfying retirement could look like for you?
Like identifying your next career move, well-rounded retirement planning is a process and requires exploration. It starts by examining what matters most to you. Ask yourself: “What is something meaningful I want to do with the next 15 years of my life?” But also consider: “What do I wish I had time for now? And what things do I already make time for now and wish to do more of?”
Look Beyond Travel: So many people’s knee-jerk response to “What will you do in retirement?” is travel. Helen Dewar, a Certified Retirement Coach, points out that “The average retiree only travels for a cumulative two years of their retirement.” Likely lots of enjoyment and happy memories are made during that time, but it’s still only a total of two-years of travel, and it’s divided up over the duration of retirement.
Frankly, even if you plan to travel almost constantly, you still need a plan for what life will look like day to day in retirement. What will fill the gaps between one trip and another? Don’t let “travel” be your only answer and the reason for not giving more thought to what’s next.
What will your retirement look like day to day?
Will you continue working? Work in retirement can take many forms. Maybe you’ll keep working in your chosen field with your current company and just put in fewer hours each week. You could also try something entirely new. A fulfilling retirement could involve contracting your services, starting a small business, or launching into a new career that allows you to work on your terms and in area you are passionate about.
Will you continue to leverage your strengths? What facets of your professional life will follow you into retirement in a meaningful way? Use the same questions you’d ask yourself when building a rewarding career to uncover your skills, strengths and preferences that will help you create a fulfilling retirement.
Will you volunteer? Is there an organization you care about that could use your help? Do you have business management experience and the skills to start your own non-profit organization and fill a need that no one else is meeting?
Will you master something? Retirement offers the time to truly master a skill that typically takes a backseat to everything else. Perhaps there is an idea or opportunity in your life that you haven’t made time for yet or weren’t able to dedicate enough time to. Retirement could be your chance to change all that.
Will you mentor someone? Even if you don’t keep your 9-5, you can still use the skills and knowledge you’ve built over your career. Mentoring – both formally and informally – can provide an outlet for some of that “working” energy and it doesn’t usually require the same rigorous schedule as a typical job. Plus, it comes with a different type of fulfillment, the kind you only get when you lift someone else up.
Will you have different stages in your retirement? A plan for retirement can and should be dynamic. It needs to adapt with you and evolve to meet changes in your life. You don’t have to commit to a single idea of retirement, you can have it all. If you want to continue working and travel and pursue your hobbies and volunteer and start a business, you can. Whether it’s all at once or in stages as it suits you.
Design a retirement you’ll love
When it comes to planning what your retirement is going to look like, there’s no right answer. This is your time to step back and think about what you want to achieve and how you would like to spend your time and energy once you transition out of full-time employment. Don’t shortchange yourself, take the time to think about what you want. There may be steps you need to take now so that you can do what you desire later.
Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She has a reputation as a highly sought-after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as “an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Copyright JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.
Looking for insightful, tailored career coaching or retirement planning? Contact us today to learn how you can fast-track your career and create a life you’ll love.
Wishing you much career success!
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc