Do you believe in life after retirement? (Thanks Cher.)
As a 29-year-old, the thought of retirement is nothing but an exciting and far-fetched concept filled with endless opportunity and a laundry list of things I hope to experience one day. Those wistful feelings can change dramatically as retirement becomes a quick approaching reality. Frequently, we work with clients who are overcome with anxiety as the one thing they have consistently done for the last forty years suddenly disappears along with its steady paycheck. Net worth does not matter, even Roy Williams admitted last week that he is “scared to death of the next phase.”
A recent study surveying adults and retirees found that the four key focuses to living a healthier life in retirement are health, family, purpose, and finances. As financial planners, we spend decades before retirement helping create a roadmap for clients to ensure that finances will not be a source of anxiety in retirement. Upon reaching retirement, we work to alleviate concerns around health as we utilize our resources to help navigate Medicare, social security, long-term care insurance and retirement communities. By working alongside us to create a well-thought-out plan to address those key focuses, clients can concentrate on determining how and where to plan their time between family and purpose.
Often, people overlook the unease they may experience in retirement. In that same study, 31% of participants who had been retired for less than five years grappled with finding purpose in their retirement. Once in retirement, you will likely have 20-30 active years left, creating a plan for how to spend that time is a no-brainer!
You have worked your whole life for this moment and have devoted time and energy to working and raising a family. Like many in this situation, you might have sacrificed your own hobbies and goals for many years to focus your time on your children’s school, friends, extra-curriculars, college, you name it.
Now is the time to dust off those old hobbies and see if they still bring you happiness. Or if they do not bring joy, discover new hobbies and activities. While retirement can be filled with purpose by checking off the long list of things to get done around the house, that list is only so long. According to research, retirees most often seek purpose by getting involved in at least one of three things: spiritual worship, community outreach, and checking things off their bucket list.
Perhaps you have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail or mountain bike in Sedona, AZ. Maybe you prefer to give back to your community by tutoring students or assisting low-income families with tax preparation. Possibly, retirement does not mean the end of working, but rather a change in the focus of that work by lending your experience and knowledge to nonprofits or sitting on the board of directors at an organization for which you feel passionately.
Whatever the focus of your retirement, be sure to plan for how to spend your time. Whether it is traveling the world or spending your weekends at grandchildren’s soccer games, an intentional retirement will help create more happiness with less stress and anxiety.