What do you want from your life in retirement? A simple question and one that many people nearing retirement age don’t take the time to ask themselves.
With an increase in life expectancy, and early retirement increasingly common, did you realise that preparing for retirement might mean planning to support yourself, both financially, physically and mentally, for as long as you worked? When you look at it like that it’s both an inspiring and terrifying thought, isn’t it?
You’ve done the pension planning; now it’s time for the life planning. It’s time to invest in you. These are the things people who are already retired say they wish they'd asked themselves before retiring...
Seven things to ask yourself before you retire
Are most of your friends through work? What do you talk about when you go out with them? If it’s all about your job and the other people you work with, once you’re no longer a part of that environment you may have nothing to contribute to the conversation. If so it’s important to make new connections when you’re preparing for retirement and expand your circle of friends.
How will you cope without the structure of a working week or day? Most workplaces run on routine, stability and structure. How good are you at structuring your own time? Replacing a working week of 50, 60 or even 70 hours leaves a lot of time to fill!
Where will you find a purpose in life, things that stretch you and keep you learning? Many retired people sign up for adult education classes, learn new hobbies and spend time with grandchildren. Will this be enough to get you out of bed in the morning?
Who will you be when you’re no longer working? How will you introduce yourself? Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of ‘I used to be a manager/plumber/accountant’. You’re a person in your own right, more than your old job title, however important that was to you. Find an identity that fits you in the present, not the past.
Where will you get respect and a sense of worth from? There may be no one asking for your help and tapping into your experience. Consider how important this is to you, and if you can find ways of adding value in other environments.
What was the best thing for you about your work? Working for a living can be tough, and it can also be rewarding. Helping other people, solving problems, creating new ideas and products are things that people miss.
What else could you do to get that buzz back in your life? Mentoring, volunteering, self-employment, pursuing hobbies, lecturing… there are many routes to explore when you’re planning for retirement.
Is your pension adequate? If not you may need or want to look for work. What will that work be? You may not want to settle for doing more of the same, so what about stretching your wings into something new (this could have tax implications).
Many retired people have huge amounts of transferrable skills. What will give you job satisfaction as well as income?
If you haven’t started preparing for retirement, the loss of these seven things can stop you short. For some people retirement can seem boring, even a burden. For others the loss is so overwhelming that it can trigger anxiety, loneliness or loss of self-belief.
Make sure you’re a part of the group who love being retired, who see it as a new chapter in which they can write their own story, embracing the opportunities that their new found freedom offers.
Talking to others is the best way to help you get your head around how you’ll need to adapt - so you can make the most of other’s experiences, knowledge and hindsight. Why not ask these questions to a group of friends and fill in the gaps together?
Are you preparing for retirement? What are your concerns? If you’re already retired, what were the things you missed most? Feel free to share your opinions, views, concerns and triumphs below - it will help others when it comes to achieving a happy retirement.
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.