As experts in retirement planning, we are constantly engaged in conversations about the dollars and cents surrounding retirement, helping our clients to answer questions such as:
Will I have enough money to retire?
What’s the most tax efficient way to take retirement income from my portfolio?
What do I do when we experience a market downturn during my retirement?
One question that is equally as important but often not asked: What will retirement be like for me?
Even if you have the best financial plan in place, you are still not prepared for retirement until you envision what retirement means to you. The closer you get to retirement, the more defined this vision should become. We’ve previously written about taking a Retirement Test Drive, which is a useful tool to help you trial run your retirement. For many people, work is a defining part of their identity so when it’s time to retire it can feel like the floor has dropped out from under them. So why not have a parachute ready to help you land on your feet?
Another helpful tool to guide you is to start a retirement journal during the months or even years leading up to retirement. We believe one of the biggest benefits of writing in a retirement journal before you retire is that in the future you can reflect on what your expectations were for this rite of passage.
For example, if you find yourself feeling stuck, it might help to review the reasons why you were excited to retire in the first place. For many of us, it’s easier to make a list of all the things we want to do when we don’t actually have the time or resources to do them, than it is to have an open calendar and feel like you can’t think of anything.
Take a minute to write down the bucket list you’ve been keeping in your head. Where are the places you’d like to travel to? Do you have a list of hobbies you’d love to pursue if only you had the time? If you plan to volunteer in retirement, are there specific organizations that you feel would be exciting and meaningful to give your time to? If spending time with your grandchildren is in your plan, think about their ages when you retire, what kind of activities might you enjoy together?
Consider a retirement journal your own personal reference guide to retirement. It’s better than any book you could buy because it was written especially for you!