How to test drive your retirement plans
By Jason Maniotakis, Director and Investment Counselor 27 October 2021 4 min read
Money is typically the first thing that people talk about when it comes to retirement. Conversations tend to focus on: “Will I have enough? Can I survive on what I have saved?”
While those are important questions, they aren’t the only ones you should be thinking about for your retirement. It’s also important to consider what you will be doing to keep yourself busy. Your life has been filled with commitments, keeping you busy almost every weekday since you were six years old. At the beginning of retirement, it will feel like a vacation. But then a few weeks or months go by and without a job, a routine or a hobby—something to keep busy—people can start to get bored or anxious and at worst, depressed.
We have seen clients that haven’t planned their retirement time thoroughly or have been forced into retirement, and then struggled with how to spend their days. It’s important to think about retirement well in advance and plan for what you want to do day-to-day.
The little things count in retirement
A lot of our clients think about the big ticket items: the travelling, the vacations, the time spent golfing. But these things will only take up a fraction of your time. What will you do the other 90 per cent of your time? The earlier you think about those things, the more likely you will be able to make a smooth transition into retirement and make the most of the next phase of your life.
For some people, that will be continuing to work. They enjoy their co-workers, they love the work they do or they still have career goals they want to achieve. For these people—retirement planning will look a lot like career planning—considering their next move.
Other people might just want to do something different. They want to spend their time volunteering for a charitable organization, giving back to the community or working in a field they never had a chance to during their career.
Whatever you plan on doing, the earlier you start planning, the better. The world is your oyster. If there’s something you just have to do, jot it down. Having a plan will increase your likelihood on following through. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing that you have considered the goals and dreams you’d like to achieve during the next phase of your life.
You also need to be cognizant of your partner and your family. Some advice we have given to a lot of couples is not to retire at the same time, so that one partner can find their groove before the other joins them in retirement. It’s a major life transition, so having one partner maintain their lifestyle can smooth the transition for both halves of the couple.
Being on the same page as your partner about what you will be doing in retirement is also important. Your idea of renovating your house room by room may clash with your partner’s plans to relive their youth, following bands on tour. Coming to an understanding with your partner about what the ideal future looks like for each of you will help avoid future misunderstandings.
No one likes to think of their demise, but it’s important to plan for it just as much as you plan what you will do during retirement. Life is unpredictable. You can be in perfect health one day, and extremely ill the next. If estate planning considerations haven’t been thought through yet, they should become a priority now.
It’s critical to consider what will happen to your money, your house and your favourite things after your passing. Without a will, a place where all of your final wishes and instructions are written down, you have no way of influencing what happens to your assets after you die and can leave significant burden on your family to make these decisions on your behalf.
There is some good reading we have shared with clients that addresses the thought process in leading up to retirement. Victory Lap Retirement by Mike Drak and Jonathan Chevreau and How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski are two great books to get you thinking about the different elements of what retirement could look like for you.
Whatever you decide for your retirement, knowing the lifestyle you would like to lead will help you set financial goals to strive towards. With enough planning now, you can save yourself some headaches and frustration down the line. The retired people we see who are the happiest, are the people who worked towards retirement in advance, knowing they planned for the next phase of their life and achieved the financial independence required to pull it off. It’s not the end; it’s just the next chapter.
Looking for more information on retirement? Check out our step-by-step retirement guide—it’s here to help lead you through every stage of your retirement journey.
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