My mother used to say to me, “Don’t you think the divorce rate would be lower if brides and grooms spent as much time planning for a marriage as they did a wedding?” The same thought process applies here.
There are many things to consider when contemplating retirement. Questions you will ask yourself (and others will ask you) are mostly around what your financial situation might look like. But there are many other factors to consider that are equally if not more important.
Most of us have been planning for our retirement since we started working. Like me, you’ve most likely chosen at what age you’ll retire, possibly decided where to retire, and have a picture in your head of what your retirement party looks like, even down to the guests attending. But then what happens?
As a Retirement Coach (yes, that’s a thing!), I see firsthand what happens after the celebration ends. Even though you may feel prepared for this next phase of your life, are you really ready?
I’ve put together a handful of questions (below) for you to answer as a down and dirty assessment of whether or not you are mentally and emotionally ready to move into this next phase.
Let’s start with some basics.
First and foremost, are you retiring alone? With a partner, family member or friend? If you are planning to retire with another person, I highly recommend jotting your answers down and then sharing them with your retirement partner.
Take your time to answer each question. If you’re feeling like you don’t know or are overwhelmed, simply bookmark this post with a plan to come back to it in a few hours.
- What does retirement look like for you?
Think about how you will spend your days. There are no wrong answers here. Maybe you have your retirement plans well thought out and are thinking, “Dr. Karen, how long do you have?” Or you may be like some of my clients and feel lost or ambiguous about how you’ll move forward. Wherever you are on the spectrum, jot down some words about what your days look like.
- Where will you live?
Is your dream retirement location near friends and family? Or will you choose a new adventure like spending part of your time on a boat or splitting your time between two locations? Again, describe the ideal scenario of where you’ll be spending your days.
- How will you fill those days?
Taking your answer above, try filling in a bit more of what your daily routine might look like. Yes, there are golf games to be played and hobbies to be explored, but you’ll also need to fill the 8-10 hours of time you previously spent working Monday through Friday. Don’t forget to add in overtime and any time you spent commuting. I suggest going hour by hour for a full week, filling in the activities you think you’ll be doing on an average day.
After you’ve finished answering the questions, I highly recommend setting aside your answers for a few days with a reminder to come back to them. As you’re moving through life, different thoughts may occur to you or the exercise of writing your answers may spark some interesting conversations.
In my next post, I’ll talk more about moving into retirement gracefully with purpose and passion.