Have you ever caught yourself saying, “if I just have enough money to buy x then I will be happy”?
It is so easy to get caught up in the cyclical cycle of basing financial success on the things that you can buy and own, but the true benefit of financial success, to me, is the freedom that comes with it. The freedom to live your life the way you want. The freedom to spend your time, talents, and resources on the people, places, and things that mean the most to you.
In retirement, many people want to move into that place of freedom and living a life that will bring meaning and fulfillment. Now, that doesn’t usually happen without proper financial management. Your finances are a crucial component of living the life you want in retirement. But many people make the mistake of stopping there.
Finances aren’t the only aspect that goes into a happy retirement, a fulfilling life plan is its equal counterpart. Creating the life that you want in retirement takes as much time and energy as saving for retirement does. There are so many aspects to consider, like where you are going to live, if you are going to work, how you are going to spend your time to establish a legacy, and so much more.
Today, we want to talk with you about what retirement lifestyle planning really means and how you can put it in practice.
Each and every day, I work with people on their retirement plans. Along with my team, I help clients establish a financial plan to support the lifestyle they want in retirement. I work with them to learn more about their goals, dreams, and desires alongside their unique viewpoint of what the next phase in their lives will look like. Before long, I knew it would be my turn to take my own advice.
I have been slowly moving toward retirement and plan to continue at that pace over the next 5-10 years. Even though I talk about retirement planning every day, the realization that I am making those steps myself has been a tough transition.
In fact, my initial plan was to not retire at all. It is particularly challenging for me to step away from a business and a career that has marked my entire adult life. But I try to look at retirement as an opening for me to pursue new passions and have a new adventure with my wife.
Here at TFS, we talk a lot about testing out your retirement plan and I am practicing that advice myself by periodically working remotely in Chelan, WA, and Arizona. I have also taken the time to actively pursue writing and photography, two passions of mine to help keep me busy and sharpen my mind.
This process has been both exciting and stressful. I often feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the transition, but that is why I am giving myself the time, and space, to adjust in my own way.
What I hope our readers take away from this example is that it is important to give yourself grace throughout this time of transition. Be sure that you not only have a plan for your retirement lifestyle but that you take concrete steps to live that plan.
Consider your lifestyle
Money is often the first thing that comes to mind when you think of retirement. Are you going to have enough? How will you invest it? Can it support your new life? In what ways will it help bring your retirement plan to life?
In order to fully answer these important questions, you will need to think about the type of life that you want to have in retirement. You may want to make a big change like move across the country or embark on a new career or your plans might be more modest, but no matter what you want, thinking through your lifestyle considerations will be a crucial step.
Let’s walk through some of the lifestyle factors you will need to consider:
- Where you want to live
- This encompasses location of course and also the type of accommodation (house, condo, apartment, etc.)
- How you want to spend your time
- Retirement looks different for each person, but it is important to have a plan for your day-to-day life. For you it might be pursuing an encore career, a passion project, volunteering regularly, sitting on a board of an organization, or even going back to school. Through these activities and communities, you will find meaning and fulfillment.
- How you will keep your mind and body active
- Physical and mental health is especially important for retirees. Make sure that you pursue activities that challenge you and give you the desire to grow.
- Develop new relationships
- Everybody needs a community of people for support. You may find this at a part-time job, through a local organization, church, exercise group, or other social activities.
Once you take the time to think through these different facets of your retirement lifestyle, you will be better able to make a financial plan to support your lifestyle goals. If you have plans to retire to the California coastline, that would require a different set of financial needs than if you were retiring in a small southwest town.
Your finances and lifestyle operate in tandem. They speak to each other and help support and influence the other as well.
Practice makes progress
I’m sure you have heard the saying “practice makes perfect.” While the sentiment is nice, I much prefer an alternative, practice makes progress.
Your ideal retirement plan won’t come together in one day. It takes work and practice to get right. Making such a big transition requires a great deal of practice and flexibility.
Before you retire, it is a good idea to practice the retirement lifestyle you have planned for. This will help illuminate other areas you might not have thought of and can help give you a sense of what your plan will actually look like in your day-to-day life.
By taking the time to pursue the hobbies, activities, communities, etc. that you are interested in before retirement, it will give you the chance to see how you like those activities and if they give you the life you are looking for.
If possible, take some extended time away from work in your pre-retirement years. Try out that small lake town you always said you might want to retire to someday. You may find that the water is perfect for you or that the mosquito upkeep isn’t worth it. No matter what, you will have the chance to try a few places out to decide what works best for you and your loved ones.
No matter when it happens, retirement is a hard transition. It asks you to change many aspects of your life and that can be alarming. But with proper planning and a little bit of practice, you will be able to craft a retirement lifestyle that leaves you happy and fulfilled.
Here at TFS, it is our goal to help you use your resources in a way that enhances your life and the lives of those around you. That includes your retirement lifestyle. Are you ready to take another look at your retirement lifestyle plan? Schedule a time to talk with us. We can’t wait to speak with you.