I have retired twice so far and I have another retirement planned for next year. I haven’t returned to work because I wanted to. On both occasions, there was a crisis and they asked me to steer them through the trouble for a while. Unfortunately, my retirement plans had firstly to be put on hold for a few years and then slotted into a part time work schedule. So its probably a bit rich to use the heading “Get it right the first time”! But I think most people won’t have the issues I had, and there is an urgency about retirement that means you should plan it well in the first place.
Of course, most people hear “financial planning” when you say “retirement planning”. In fact if you Google retirement planning there are pages and pages of people wanting to help you retire well. Unfortunately that just means with enough money! Even the “9 tips for a successful retirement” that AMP offers have one step focussed omg the age you can retire and 8 others focussed finances. As important as financial planning is, your life is effected by many more things than money. Health, your missing work identity, social networks, and relationship issues can all remove the importance of finances in a microsecond. One bad diagnosis from the doctor, one letter from your wife solicitor, the depression that comes from having nothing important to do every day or relationship issues with family or friends seem to overrule financial security. So, Robert Laura, writing in his book “Naked Retirement” says true retirement planning “means accepting the fact that for every hour invested in traditional retirement planning an equal amount of time should be spent on things such as replacing your work identity, establishing a healthy and active lifestyle, staying socially connected and involved, resolving relationship issues and concerns, as well as making the most of your God-given skills, talents, and wisdom.”
As you will know if you are a regular reader of this site, I am facing some heath problems and I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to write here and certainly how much longer I can keep up the part time work I’m involved in. But this highlights the fact that everybody facing retirement should realise their life is not infinite. In most cases we have just a few years before health problems disrupt all of our retirement plan. So, having a plan for what you want to do in retirement is vital. You never know whether you will have time for all those things on your bucket list so put the best ones on the top of the list and assume you may never get to the bottom.
Now I’m not telling you this so you can feel the fear of health issues falling down around you or your marriage falling apart. Worrying about those things won’t change them in any way. But I am suggesting that there are some things worth thinking about and putting in place while you can. So, if you get nothing else from this blog please understand I’m saying you shouldn’t put your marriage, your friends, faith, personal well-being, or the need to secure the proper insurance on the back burner until next year. Putting things off will get in the way of living your retirement to the full and planning for these things now will result in a better next year anyway. So, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do to start addressing these issues today?” Then get on with it.
So here is a checklist of things to work through:-
- Make plans to keep as healthy as possible for as long as possible. See this and this.
- Tidy up your important documents. See this blog.
- Try to repair your relationships. See this blog.
- Find work replacement things to do. See this blog.
- Get around to looking at the important things in life. See this blog and this.
Of course there are many other places you can look for help in working out the next phase of your life. But don’t put it off. Don’t just wait and see if it works out because it won’t! Life will surprise you when you lest expect it.