By Peter Boys
“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” That’s a profound statement by Harry Emerson Fosdick, who was regarded by Martin Luther King Jr. as the greatest preacher of the last century. With so many boomers retired or nearing retirement, his statement is especially relevant today.
Having a successful retirement is much more than having enough money. It’s about being happy, fulfilled, and valued. Boomers moving into retirement are concerned about loss of social interactions, especially after leaving the formal work force. Many will continue to work or contribute in some way because they enjoy interacting with people. Many retirees have commented that they miss the social interactions they had at work, more than the lost income.
How will you follow your dreams? Without a job to go to, you will have a lot of time to do other things. After having a coffee and reading the news, how will you spend the rest of your day? Some tell me they’ll golf or travel. Those activities may take up a couple of days a week, or a month out of a year, but what will you do the rest of the time? Will your ideas or priorities change over the years? Vacations can provide a sample of life after work and are a wonderful chance to put some thought and conversation into retirement.
Think about what you want to do in this new phase of life. For example, will you retire to a new career or a new hobby? Here are some other things you might want to consider:
• Learn a new skill
• Start a business
• Continue working part-time at something you love to do
• Do something adventurous
• Spend more time with family and grandchildren
• Get into better shape by biking, hiking, swimming
• Volunteer It doesn’t take much effort to imagine what one wants to do once retired, and it can provide a great starting point for planning for the rest of your retirement.
After my clients given some thought to retirement in general, I give them a more specific retirement lifestyle quiz to help clarify their retirement vision:
• What does retirement mean to you?
• Do you want to work during retirement or retire early?
• What is your ideal vacation?
• Do you plan to make any major purchases during retirement, like a cottage or luxury car?
• Would you consider going back to school?
• If you want to escape the cold winters and be a snowbird, how long would you live outside of Canada? Would you rent or buy?
Another important question is, “What’s your biggest financial and emotional worry in retirement?”
Research shows that many Canadians are concerned about paying for their lifestyle in retirement.
— Money Talks