Your financial assets are important, but that’s only one piece of the retirement puzzle. We’ve seen plenty of people retire with all the money they need to never work again, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re miserable. And, that's not what we consider to be a successful retirement.
So you need to make a plan to create meaning, excitement, and fulfillment after you retire. It may sound weird to make a plan for all that — especially if you didn’t need to plan that into your life before — but a lot of things are about to change.
Here are five non-financial aspects of retirement planning that you and your sweetheart need to discuss before you retire. And, my recommendation is to make this fun -- like planning a "date night" with your sweetheart. Be sure to get it on your calendars and be willing to dig deep and listen to what your partner has to say. The things you learn will give you valuable insight into what's important (or not) to them and their expectations for retirement.
1. What are your values and beliefs?
Exploring these together will help each of you define your priorities for retirement. More family time? Travelling? Volunteering? Community work? Politics?
2. Who are you going to be when you retire?
When you stop working in a long-time career, you need to prepare for a new identity. And, yes, the means you can even reinvent yourself. Have you always wanted to write a book? Are you a fabulous cook and always dreamed of owning a restaurant or AirBnB? Do you want to spend more time with your kids and grandchildren? Ready to travel the world and just never had the time to do it? It's important to discuss with your sweetheart so that both of you are on board with one another's plans. The last thing you want to find out is that your partner hates travelling while you're on safari in the middle of the Serengeti!
3. Do you and / or your partner want to keep on working during retirement?
Does either of you want to keep working full- or part-time after retiring? Maybe you want to work in another field. Will you need specialized training or education to make that change? I have a couple of clients that retired, only to unretire 6 months later because they missed the routine, camaraderie and discipline of working. I've also heard from a couple of wives that having their husbands return back to work part-time literally saved their marriages.
4. What can both of you start doing right now to help prepare for as healthy and active a retirement as possible?
Your health is a priority. Are you both up-to-date with your medical appointments? Do you get enough sleep? Are you engaged in some sort of physical daily activity? Are you learning new things to keep your mind sharp? Do you need to consider changing where you live to enjoy a lifestyle that's better suited for your health and activity goals?
5. How will you both stay connected with family, friends and community.
People need some level of social interaction. What will you do to adapt to a post-retirement social life? Keep up with your family and friends, join a book club, choir, amateur dramatics or film club, host dinner parties and pot-lucks? Learn how to use technology and social media to stay in touch with folks who are not local to you. Make new friends?
While these are simple conversations, they are very important. And, sometimes they are not the easiest to have with someone -- especially someone we love. If you need some help figuring out how to have these conversations with your sweetheart, please call the office at 770.249.7424. One of our Advisors will be happy to help!