Retirement planning decisions inevitably surround the issue of money: How to save it, invest it, keep it from the government, use it more productively and efficiently, pass it on to heirs, and spend it in retirement.
Before these questions can be answered, you should determine your retirement vision – what your retirement would be like. Some retirees are snowbirds that go south for the winter. Many have two properties and golf extensively. On the other hand, other retirees stay close to home to be near family and particularly grandchildren. Their time is spent babysitting, hobbies, volunteering and maybe the occasional trip once or twice a year. These are very different retirement lifestyles.
Knowing how much money you need depends on which lifestyle you envision retirement to look like. Chances are your retirement may be very different than these two examples. While I think money and finance are very important aspects of retirement, they are not the only aspects of retirement.
What is retirement lifestyle planning?
Retirement Lifestyle Planning is really the concept that retirement is about more than money. Life Retirement Planning encompasses all the areas of retirement and life. Some of the most recognized facets of retirement are:
- Health and Fitness – One of the key factors in your retirement success is your health and wellness. After all, you can have all of the love and money in the world, but without your health to enjoy it, your “best laid plans” will be compromised. Exercise and nutrition are keys.
- Financial Comfort – It is true that you can’t retire without money, but let’s face it – you can’t live without money either. Many experts who say that you can retire on 60-80% of your last year’s employment income are assuming that you have paid off your house, you have no debts, or that you never want to do anything! There is no real rule of thumb on how much money will give you comforts. The only way to figure that out is to realistically assess your retirement price tag by figuring out what kind of life you want to lead in retirement and then assess the costs associated with that life.
- Social Relationships – Family and friends are part of your everyday life. We need relationships, particularly when we leave the workplace and our work-related relationships begin to disappear. Often, our relationships have been developed in the workplace. When that ends, new relationships should be created that will replace what has been lost.
- Home and Location – We all need a place to life. Your home is a focal point in retirement. Your home and location refers not only to your house but also the community. It refers to where you spend your time and that might be a recreational property for example.
- Hobbies and Interests – Really, hobbies and interests are about fulfillment. Doing things that you enjoy and bring you personal satisfaction. Too often people work for income and not because it provides personal fulfillment. Retirement is the opportunity to spend your time doing things you enjoy.
- Mental and Emotional Health– Just like physical health is important, mental health is really important.
- Intellectual Spirit – This refers to your ability to grow and stimulate your mind. Keeping your mind sharp is as important as keeping your body healthy and your spirit sharp.
- Spirituality – This is often confused with religion. It really refers to your sense of who you are and why you are here. Your view of the world flows directly from the values that you hold and the primary purpose of your life. What is it that gets you up in the morning and makes you want to face the day? Your spiritual health is very important to your life success and happiness
Whether you are retired or approaching retirement, retirement is an opportunity to re-evaluate life and that is why it is such a key time of your life. Money is a concern but only part of the bigger picture.
Retirement Lifestyle Planning is looking and planning life in BALANCE. It is balancing leisure, emotion, finance and physical health in retirement. Traditionally Retirement Planning is simply looking at retirement from the financial perspective. Professional Retirement Planners have a more holistic approach where we look at all aspects like housing, family care, fitness, nutrition in addition to finance.
Are you ready for retirement? From a Life Retirement Planning perspective, the answer goes far beyond the issue of money. If you are nearing retirement, make sure you take the time to explore all of these issues in depth. Afterall, it is in your control to make retirement the best years of your life.