Beyond Money: How to Plan a Successful Retirement

Beyond Money: How to Plan a Successful Retirement


After decades of diligently socking away money, you have a sizable nest egg, your house is paid off, and you’re ready to enjoy your retirement. But what will you do? Many people plan for the financial aspects of retirement but fail to consider how they’ll stay happy and productive over the coming years. And with people living longer than ever, your retirement could easily last 20 to 30 years. So how will you spend it?

Determine What’s Most Meaningful

The key to a happy retirement isn’t just filling your time, but finding pursuits that make you feel fulfilled. But after decades of working, many people find themselves paralyzed by the glut of free time that retirement offers. This can often lead to depression and substance abuse issues that stem from that.


Retirement opens up the possibility of a whole new path in life, but determining the right path calls for some soul-searching. George Kinder, the founder of the nascent field of life planning, recommends asking three questions:


1.    If money were no concern, how would you live your life?

2.    You doctor says you have five to 10 years to live, but you’ll be healthy until your final moment. What will you do in the time you have remaining?

3.    Your doctor says you only have 24 hours to live. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be, and what did you not get to do?

Find a Sense of Purpose

Once you’ve unearthed your core values and passions, it’s time to make a plan to put them into practice.


If creative pursuits are what get you fired up, do you want to aim for a gallery show or would you like to teach art to youth? If you want to get involved in your community, will you join a nonprofit board or coach a Little League team? If you want to keep working, will you continue in your previous profession on a part-time basis, or learn a new skill that you can monetize?


Figuring out how to transform your passions into action is an important part of fulfilling your retirement vision. After all, while your retirement can be just about anything to want it to be, without planning it won’t amount to much.

Set Goals

So you’ve decided where your passions lay and how you’re going to utilize them, but do you have a plan of action? Setting goals for your retirement helps you stay driven in the day-to-day. Self-motivation may be a new skill for many retirees who have worked in a profession where deadlines and schedules held them accountable.


To get started with planning, break down your goals into categories:


     Short-term goals you need to accomplish.

     Short-term goals you want to accomplish.

     Long-term goals you need to accomplish.

     Long-term goals you want to accomplish.


Goals you need to accomplish may be things like getting a health condition under control or getting a business license. Goals you want to accomplish could be things like volunteering or enrolling in college courses.


No matter what your retirement dreams are, setting goals and tracking progress helps you stay on track to achieve them. And remember that it’s okay to change your plans; the goal is to feel happy and fulfilled, whatever form that may take.

Get Help

If you’re wondering how you’ll spend your retirement, talking with a life planner can be a valuable way to uncover your goals and the path to achieving them. Life planners are more than financial planners; they ask hard-hitting personal questions so you can figure out how to align your personal and financial goals. To find a professional who can guide you in your retirement planning, search for a certified financial planner who is trained in life planning strategies and has experience working with clients similar to you.


Image via Pixabay by qimono


Author: Jackie Waters

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