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From our experience, working with clients allows us to prepare them for the monetary implications of retiring and know what their future looks like financially. Where it takes a little more planning is the emotional side of retirement….and this is an area often ignored.
It’s human nature to assume that once the burden of routine is shed, life will be like one long holiday until the end of time. The reality is often very different particularly for those who have retired early and find themselves experiencing a loneliness not previously encountered. It’s also important to remember that, for most, retirement is the end of a period of routine that might have been in place since starting school at age 5, or even earlier.
So, what’s the solution?
A good idea is to plan for retirement in the same way as you would a marriage. Often, there will be “the day” when you finally cut the shackles and are treated to a celebration. This will be followed by the honeymoon period when extended holidays will be taken, friends will be seen and the novelty of no early morning alarm will be enjoyed.
Like most marriages, this will be followed by a period of realisation as you view your future in retirement. Without planning, this could easily be a time when dissatisfaction creeps in and a feeling that expectations haven’t been met. Research shows that most retirees complete their bucket list within three years. However, this doesn’t have to be the case and, with some careful thought and planning, retirement can soon prove to be rewarding and fulfilling, as always hoped.
Creating a new routine, ground rules for time together and a new “retired” identity can soon provide the basis for a great future. The Japanese see retirement as their “second life” and believe you should retire to something and not from something. Whilst retirement is the last phase of the life cycles, don’t make it seem like you’re sitting in God’s waiting room!
So how do you go about planning for a happy retirement?
Speak to others and ask about their experiences, think about how your daily routine might change and consider who you will be sharing your retirement with….spouse, partner, friends? Are there hobbies or challenges you’ve always hoped to do but never had the chance? Think about how these might work for you and your family, ensure you’ve included them in your financial plan and then get out and enjoy life to the full. Don’t wait until you’re retired before incorporating the things you love. Make it a “Life Well Lived”!!
Keri Carter, CFPTM
Certified Financial PlannerTM