More people in the United States are retired or approaching retirement than ever before. A lot of these people plan and save to ensure their financial stability during retirement, but too many fail to develop strategies for exactly what they’ll do with their lives during those years. There are six basic areas of retirement planning:
- Letting go of work
Think about each of the six retirement planning areas with these aims in mind:
- Learning about yourself
- Learning about your options
- Setting tentative goals
- Implementing your goals
- Evaluating your situation as you approach your goals
- Revising and refining your goals
Include physical and mental health in your plans.
Plan on staying active physically and mentally. It’s crucial to aging successfully. Eating well, exercising regularly, and getting regular physical exams are all ways you can make sure you’re in top shape to enjoy retirement. You might also consider thinking about what your priorities will be after you’re finished working full-time. Maybe you’ll want to become a fitness instructor or run a water aerobics class. You can begin working toward those goals before retirement.
Follow your interests to new challenges.
Think carefully about each of these questions. The answers can serve as your retirement map.
- What would you like to accomplish in the years ahead?
- What’s really important to you? If you had the gift of time, how would you use it?
- What’s missing from your life right now?
As you make your decisions…
- Think of all your possible choices, including the outlandish ones. Be creative.
- Review the list and eliminate or adjust choices that are physically impossible.
- Evaluate your choices. Now think about the choices that seem most realistic.
- Lay out the consequences. What are the down sides to your possible choices? Who’ll be affected by your choice, and how? How will your possible choices affect your life or your finances?
- Reflect on the decision you’re planning to make: What will it feel like to take those steps and make that choice you’re considering? What will it feel like not to make that choice? Is the decision you’re pondering permanent or is it reversible?
Explore your options.
There are lots of options for retirees today. Be adventurous and explore them all. It’s possible that an off-the-wall idea will spin into the perfect plan. Look at just a few ideas:
Change your scene…permanently.
Sometimes a job is the only thing that keeps you connected to the place where you live. After you retire, you may want to move near your family or friends, next to a golf course, beach, or on top of a mountain.
Retirees can travel from home or even take their home on the road.
Volunteering is an excellent way to pursue an interest and be part of the community. Lend your marketing expertise to a local environmental organization or serve as a reading coach at a local school. Volunteers set their own schedules, but still have a place to report to each day or week. Volunteering also provides social connections.
Work for the fun of it.
If your favorite thing in the world is work, your dream retirement might involve a combination of part-time jobs or a new business. Part-time work is also a good way to stretch your retirement dollars. Another thing you can do to enhance retirement is to learn your way around a computer. Becoming proficient with a computer and being able to navigate the Internet can enhance your leisure, volunteer, or business activities.
Set a course toward your goals.
Choose a plan, but don’t be afraid to reconsider and revise retirement plans as your situation changes.