Lifestyle choices in retirement

Before shifting gears into retirement, the concerns for most revolve around the money issues. How much do I need? How much will I have? How long will it last? Will I be able to live the way I choose to live with what I have? What happens if there is another economic downturn?

Few pay attention to lifestyle choices or options. What I hear is, “I’ll just keep living my life,” or “I will just wait and see what comes along,” or “My income will dictate what my lifestyle will be.” The money issues are more the focus rather than conscious, active choices about lifestyle.

However, the income and lifestyle choices are very interdependent. You know better questions to ask and answers to get about the money questions when you have a clear vision of the lifestyle you want in retirement.

The Investor Education Fund did some research as to the patterns in retirees’ lifestyles and came up with some typical scenarios for retirement ways of living. They found the following broad groupings:

Social butterflies

This group does it all from spend time with families in and out of the home, go to movies, plays, sports events, have club memberships, volunteer, and, perhaps, work part time. They have many social activities and obligations, and they entertain, and often travel.

Busy home bodies

Two-thirds of these are women. Home and family are top priorities. These are the home renovators, and gardeners who cook, clean, entertain at home, do hobbies or crafts from home and are happy doing so. They are not home bound for health or caretaking reasons. They may be looking after grandchildren. Home is where the heart is and this is where they want to be.

Happy Hobbyists

These folks can spend half their day on a hobby, doing it, learning about it, improving their skills, marketing, or meeting others who share their interest. If they work, it is part time usually with flexible hours.


These retirees have a strong sense of service and are the backbone of civic and community organizations. They tend to be well educated and informed, and engaged in their communities. The contribute time and funds to reflect their values and interests.

Media mavens

This group is often older and may have physical limitations. They need rest and quiet and often have downsized to a manageable space. They read, watch TV, and use the computer as a link to the outside world.


These people are adapting to health circumstances of themselves or a loved one. They are caretaking and/or spending time in personal care. This may be temporary until recovery.

Time to make your plan

See where you may fit into one or more of these broad groups. Create your own plan or vision of your retirement in conjunction with your financial plan. If you do this you are ahead of the game. Less than one quarter of Canadians have a financial plan and even fewer have a retirement lifestyle plan!

Too many people fall into something called retirement shock as they work right to the finish line of work without a thought to what they will be doing for the next stage of their lives. A retirement plan is a guide, a map, an indicator of your identity, interests and values outside of work. It is not carved in stone and so can be adjusted to new circumstances and choices. It gets you started on the new and exciting path of retirement with preplanned options and goals.

To go into retirement with confidence, make a plan that includes both finances and lifestyle choices.

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