Envisioning A Rewarding Retirement

By: Steven L. Schou, CFP®, AWMA®, Vice President Business Development & Wealth Advisor

It takes planning and effort to be able to enjoy and live your retirement!  What do I mean by this; will you be a retiree who has more activities than time or one who has more time than activities?  The choice is yours and planning is a big part in figuring out what life in retirement will actually be like.  While your finances are an important part of your retirement life, it is by no means the only thing in your retirement life.

How do you envision a normal day in your retirement?  What if those things you have looked forward to all these years – more time for your hobbies, more time for travel and more time to relax – are not enough to sustain you?  What then?  Remember, you are not retiring from life.  You are simply refocusing all of your energy into something different—things that you have always had the intention of doing, things that bring you peace and happiness, things that could be your passion.  This brings us back to the point I mentioned earlier, that one needs to plan ahead for a rewarding retirement.

The great paradox of the golden years is that there is so much time and yet so very little of it.  For most people, retirement happens after 40 – plus years of work and it can create both excitement and anxiety.  The excitement comes from having more free time, but the anxiety can also come from having more free time.  Aging well and gracefully in retirement may be the goal, but getting there is often a challenge.  After all, it can be traumatic to leave the working world—particularly if your self-concept is wrapped up in your job.  You might feel a loss of importance and a loss of vitality; you may grieve the loss of friendships.

While money is not a panacea for a rewarding retirement, it can cause anxiety in trying to figure out how much you can spend during your retirement without running out.  Balance is an important component to your financial life; and what I mean by that, is not to be so fearful that you do not enjoy the financial fruits of all of your labors or spend so much that you run out of money either.

Preparing for retirement is like getting ready for a trip – it never goes quite as planned.  However, the better that you plan, the better the outcome and if things don’t go as planned you have a “plan B” in mind.

Here are some steps to consider as part of your “plan A” for your rewarding retirement. 

  • Take some of your bucket list trips while you are still working.
  • Talk about the proximity that you both want to your children and grandchildren.
  • Talk about the lifestyle that you plan to continue during your rewarding retirement.
  • Address any health issues, sooner rather than later, all the money in the world would be worthless without your health to enjoy it.
  • Rekindle old hobbies or start new ones.
  • Make friends who are already retired and doing activities you enjoy.
  • Within five years of retirement, live on your retirement income.

Finally, above all else seek professional help to create and monitor your plan and strategy.  After all, a rewarding retirement is not a destination, but a change of pace or direction which can last and be enjoyed for decades if managed properly.


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