Unlocking the Mystery of a Happy Retirement – Planning is the Key

By Hilary Clarke, Founder, Potentia Coaching

Want a happy retirement? Research shows you need to have a plan.

Many people focus on financial planning to get ready for retirement. Making sure you are financially ready for retirement is important, but planning how you will spend your time in retirement is just as important.

How to Plan for Retirement

Planning what you will do in retirement isn’t easy; it’s sometimes even hard to know how to begin. Here are 5 tips on how to approach the planning process to help get you started:

  • Take time (lots of it) to REFLECT on what you want to do in retirement.
  • WRITE your thoughts down – this will help you clarify, develop and keep track of your ideas.
  • DISCUSS your thoughts and plans with those close to you (like your spouse). For obvious reasons, you want to make sure that you and your spouse share a similar vision for retirement. Speaking to other family and close friends is important too – they can provide a helpful perspective on what you might enjoy in retirement.
  • EXPERIMENT with things you might like to do before you retire. That way you won’t get stuck with a year’s worth of art materials – only to discover that you don’t regain your teenage love of painting.
  • Get HELP with making your plan. There are many resources to help you. For a list, click here.

What will your Retirement Plan look like?

Given how different we all are, there is no one size fits all retirement plan. That’s fortunate. We each have the opportunity to arrive at our own personalized plan that takes into account what we want and what matters to us.

When you start to build your retirement plan, you may not have all the answers. A good way to begin, however, is to start asking yourself the right questions. For example, think about:

  • What is your vision for retirement?
  • Are there things that you have always wanted to do but never had time for?
  • What are your interests or hobbies? What would you like to learn more about?
  • Do you have causes that you are passionate about? Will you volunteer some of your time to them?
  • How will you build fun into your retirement? As George Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing”.
  • How will you maintain your social network? Relationships can be situational (eg. centred on work) so it is worth thinking about how you will keep connected after you retire.
  • Will you work in retirement? Many people really enjoy working in retirement, in part for the income, but mostly for interest.
  • How will you look after your health? As we age, it becomes more and more important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise.
  • Are you mentally ready for retirement? Mixed feelings about retirement are not uncommon. This is hardly surprising; retirement is among life’s top ten stresses, along with divorce and death. How will you manage the stress of getting ready to retire?

Ready, Set, Plan!

Retirement planning can be challenging, but it is critical to retirement satisfaction.

If you need help, please contact us at hilary.clarke@potentiacoaching.ca.

Remember, “Retire happy, that’s the plan!”

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Posted by on 5th October 2015