Close your eyes for a moment and imagine your ideal retirement. What do you see? Are you and your spouse relaxing in your new beach house - the home that you've both been imagining for many years? Or, does your dream take you somewhere else, like hiking through the Rocky Mountains or biking along the Atlantic shoreline?
Your retirement dream could be as varied and unique as you want it to be - and rightly so - because you've earned it! That's why, when deciding whether and when to retire, it is recommended that you start by looking at the idea of purpose.
In other words, it may be important to really consider the emotional side of retirement in addition to the financial aspect. Why? Because we believe retirement isn't just a financial issue, but also an emotional one. In fact, in many ways, even more so!
Now, I readily admit that I'm not a psychologist - and I don't play one on TV. But, regardless of what stage in life we are in, people need a purpose - because without purpose, the quality of life diminishes. It doesn't much matter what exactly that purpose is, as long as it's meaningful to you.
As we get older, our purpose and our focus start to shift into preparing for retirement. Saving starts to take on more of a precedence - and ideally, planning for future income and expenses will also be a priority.
Yet one thing that many people who are planning for retirement tend to forget is the emotional side of retirement. While there is nowhere to put this particular variable in a computer-generated retirement plan that provides you with numerical data, it still may be essential, nonetheless.
A successful retirement spans far beyond just money, too. For instance, your purpose in retirement could be volunteering for a favorite charity, visiting all 50 of the U.S. states, or reading every single book that John Grisham has ever written! In addition to many other things, I personally would like to use some of my time to add watching every one of the 456 episodes of the original Law and Order as well as the 271 episodes of the original Perry Mason TV series!
If you’re having a hard time defining what your purpose in retirement will be, it can be helpful to talk with your spouse, sibling(s), and/or a few of your closest friends. Once you have narrowed down your retirement purpose, we believe the next step is to match up your financial resources with a plan to make that purpose a reality.
One other thing...if you want to bounce ideas off of us to help you think some of this through, send me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to assist. I've spoken to countless boomers about this over many years, as well as myself(!) to figure what my purpose would be and maybe I could give you a hand.
Until next time...
Best to you always,