Retirement Planning 101

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The Best Years Ahead Need Your Attention.

Your retirement years can be the best years of your life, but retirement also has the potential to be the worst time of your life.  Whether it’s good or bad will depend on how well you prepare. And that begins by looking seriously at what will happen when you retire.  

Today, unfortunately, every time someone talks about retirement planning, all they want to talk about is money. They usually want you to give them more of what you currently have or will earn in the near future so they can give it back to you when you retire. But a wise man once said “Life at any stage should not be defined by money” and that applies to retirement as well as your current circumstances. So let’s ignore the financial advice thats floating around this subject and ask “If retirements not about finances where do we start our planning?”

Begin with Relationships.

I believe the first step is to plan how you will handle your relationships. After all, bad relationships can have a more devastating effect on your life than running out of money. In Australia, at least, there is always the pension to live on and though you will not live like a king, you will still live and be able to eat!

Now the most important relationship you will have in retirement is with your spouse. You’ve probably heard of a retired bloke who follows his wife around the house giving her advice on doing the things she has done for years. There is plenty of those blokes around and thats no way to improve your relationship. They often come from a work life where the bloke told everybody around them what to do and in retirement they just continue on. One wife told me she has never spent so much time in the toilet because since he retired that’s where she hides to get some peace!

Work out How To Live Better With Your Wife.

So I suggest you begin today to work out how you will live peaceably with your wife in retirement because you will have a lot more time to spend together. Sure you can go fishing but there’s a limit to how many fish you need anyway. You can think about part time work to get you out of the house but that cant last forever either and it may not be so easy to find the type of work when you need it. So if there is stuff you can fix now, then do it. If you don’t then it’s likely you life will be even more miserable. Maybe you could start by buying a copy of the book “The 5 love languages”. Then read it and work out your wife’s love language. It’s not a difficult read and you can take some time to think about what you are reading but it can result in a better life. After you have read it, you must determine to show your wife that you love her, using her love language. You can start on this website to work out your love language but thats not the point. You need to know her love language so you really need to read the book and look at all the love languages Chapman has defined! It’s not a complete cure for relationship that you have ignored for years but it is a good start.

Find Her Love Language.

Chapman suggests that to discover another person’s love language, you must observe the way they express love to others, and analyse what they complain about most often and what they request from their significant other most often. He theorises that people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive love, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.

The Choice You Face

So you face a choice in retirement – you can do things to build each other up, or you can go with the flow and watch your relationship get more distant over time. If you want the rest of your life to be the best of your life, you must choose today to do things to make things better. That way, your retirement can be the best time of your life. But it probably wont happen without you making it happen!

The Other Major Change.

The other thing that will change is your social network. All the work relationship you have now will change! That’s why sportsmen – especially those in team sports, have so much trouble with retirement. But most workplaces are team places anyway, so expect everything to change. So the second thing you have to do is find a social network outside of your workplace. That may mean investing time with friends or in your church. That’s a great place to find new friends and if it’s a good church you will hear encouraging words every week to keep you on track. You can also plan to join your local men’s shed if you are into making things with your hands. But whatever you do, begin today to plan how you will replace your existing social network with a new supportive one when you retire.

Other Things to Consider.

There are a few other things to consider in retirement planning. Things like health. How are you going to stay fit? Things like worthwhile things to do. Will you volunteer somewhere or help your neighbours or visit an age care home? Will you travel and see things you haven’t so far? Things like improving your knowledge. This is your chance to find out about the things that spark your curiosity. So whatever you are planning to do in retirement, write out a list today. Include as many things as you can think of. Next ask yourself, if your doctor tells you you only have two years to live, cross out the unimportant things you have written down. That way you will have a list of the things you should start with when you retire because you never know, you may only have two years of retirement and you won’t want to waste a moment doing. stuff that doesn’t matter.

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