For many people, retirement is a significant milestone marking the end of one life chapter and the beginning of the next.
Indeed, many people understand the importance of financial readiness for a successful retirement. Yet they’re less likely to address the non-financial aspects of retirement or develop a plan for how they’ll handle them once they stop working.
Retirement life planning complements financial planning in that it goes beyond the numbers and focuses on creating a purposeful and fulfilling life on the other side of your working years. In this blog article, we’ll take you through a step-by-step process for defining your vision and lifestyle goals in retirement, so you can continue to thrive throughout your golden years.
Why Does Retirement Life Planning Matter?
Retirement life planning is about envisioning your life after work and mapping out the activities, pursuits, and goals that will bring you joy and fulfillment. It acknowledges that retirement is not just the absence of work but an opportunity for personal growth and finding a true sense of purpose in life.
It also provides the opportunity to explore your passions, maintain social connections, and prioritize your physical and mental well-being in your later years—all of which are important for living a long, healthy life. In fact, studies have shown that having clearly defined goals, nurturing close relationships, and staying physically active throughout your golden years can have a greater impact on your life expectancy than DNA alone.
Ultimately, retirement life planning is vital to ensure a smooth and satisfying transition into retirement. By envisioning your ideal retirement today, you can develop a step-by-step plan for turning your vision into reality.
What Does Retirement Life Planning Entail?
While retirement life planning is unique to everyone, there are certain broad categories that can help you envision your ideal retirement and develop a plan to achieve it. These categories include:
- Lifestyle goals. What do you want to experience in retirement, and how do you plan to spend your days?
- Personal growth. How will you continue to learn and challenge yourself once you stop working?
- Contribution. What can you do to give back to society, your community, or loved ones and develop a true sense of purpose in retirement?
- Social connections. How will you actively nurture your relationships in retirement once your workplace social network is no longer present?
- Health and well-being. What can you do to support your physical and mental health and well-being in retirement?
Each of these categories can help you develop a personalized and fulfilling retirement life plan. Next, we’ll explore each one in more detail and provide tips and strategies for incorporating these considerations into your retirement plan.
#1: Lifestyle Goals
For many, retirement is a major life transition that brings about changes to your routine, role, and identity. By defining your lifestyle goals, you can gain clarity on how you’ll spend your time in the next phase of life, so the transition feels less abrupt.
First, think about the activities and pursuits that align most closely with your values, interests, and goals. Examples include:
- Traveling and exploring new parts of the world
- Pursuing hobbies and interests
- Nurturing relationships
- Finding work and purpose
If you’re coming up blank during this step of the retirement life planning process, consider taking a free Personal Values Assessment. This can help you identify what’s most important to you, so you can shape your retirement accordingly.
Next, make a list of everything you’d like to experience and accomplish in retirement, and don’t be afraid to dream big. Your lifestyle goals will influence many aspects of your retirement plan, including your financial needs and readiness.
#2: Personal Growth
Retirement presents an ideal opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. By stepping out of your comfort zone, trying new things, and taking on challenges, you can expand your horizons, discover hidden talents, and explore new aspects of yourself.
Challenging yourself to grow and evolve throughout retirement is vital for your personal development, ongoing fulfillment, and overall well-being. In fact, research suggests that engaging in cognitively demanding, novel activities in older adulthood can enhance brain and memory function more than social activities alone.
As you engage in retirement life planning, consider setting goals for yourself like pursuing a new hobby, writing a novel, or learning a foreign language. This can help keep you mentally sharp and maintain your sense of identity in retirement, contributing to your overall quality of life.
Another important aspect of retirement life planning is contribution. Consider the ways you want to give back once you stop working.
Common examples include:
- Volunteer work. By contributing to charitable causes, supporting environmental initiatives, or advocating for social justice, you can help address societal challenges and create a better future for generations to come.
- Mentorship. Retirees tend to have a wealth of knowledge, skills, and life experiences that can benefit others. By sharing your wisdom through mentoring, teaching, or consulting, you can pass on your expertise to younger generations or individuals in need.
- Community involvement. By supporting the causes close to your heart, you can contribute to their advancement while finding a renewed sense of purpose, which many people lose once they stop working.
Ultimately, contribution allows you to make a positive impact on the world around you while fostering social connections, establishing new relationships, and creating a sense of belonging.
#4: Social Connections
In retirement, when the traditional social network of the workplace may no longer be present, maintaining strong social connections becomes even more vital. Humans are inherently social, and meaningful relationships provide a sense of belonging while contributing to overall happiness and well-being.
As you continue the retirement life planning process, consider how you’ll nurture and cultivate relationships with family, friends, and your community in retirement. Examples may include:
- Joining a community center
- Participating in social activities that align with your interests and passions—for example, a book club, art class, or adult sports league
- Volunteering at a local charity or joining the board of a nonprofit organization
- Establishing a standing date with friends or family to visit and reconnect
By actively seeking opportunities to connect with others, you can develop a support system that offers guidance, encouragement, and motivation throughout retirement.
#5: Health and Well-Being
Lastly, retirement life planning involves developing a strategy for maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout your golden years. Not only will this make retirement more enjoyable and improve your quality of life, but it can also help minimize your healthcare expenses, potentially preserving your financial resources longer.
The following factors can all contribute to a healthy lifestyle in retirement:
- Regular physical activity. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week for cardiovascular health and mix in strength training exercises to maintain muscle mass and bone density.
- Balanced nutrition. To improve longevity and boost your energy levels, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals and limit your consumption of processed foods, sugary beverages, and unhealthy fats.
- Mental stimulation. Keep your mind active and engaged by reading, solving puzzles, or learning a new skill. Engaging in activities that challenge your cognitive abilities can help maintain mental acuity, memory, and overall brain health.
- Sleep hygiene. Establish a bedtime routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and practice relaxation techniques to promote restful sleep.
- Stress management. Implement stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or exercise to maintain healthy stress levels in retirement and support your emotional well-being.
No matter how you choose to maintain your sense of well-being, engaging in activities that support your mental, emotional, and physical health is essential for a productive and fulfilling retirement.
Mapping Out Your Life Plan
Once you’ve addressed the above aspects of your retirement life plan, you can begin to add structure and specificity to your goals.
For example, you can identify clubs and organizations in your community that align with your interests and welcome retirees. Or if one of your goals is to pursue a new hobby, you can find local resources or people with similar interests to support your journey.
In addition, your retirement life planning efforts can inform your financial plan, since you’ll have a better idea of how you’ll spend your time in retirement, as well as the associated costs. This can be helpful from a variety of perspectives, including:
- Budgeting, and making sure your financial resources can support your lifestyle goals.
- Healthcare expenses, and the potential cost savings of maintaining a healthy lifestyle in retirement.
- Savings goals, as you should continually monitor and adjust your retirement savings strategy to align with your retirement life plan.
A fee-only financial planner can help you develop a comprehensive retirement plan that addresses these factors, as well as your financial needs and goals.
Satori Wealth Management Can Help You Transition Confidently into Retirement
Retirement life planning allows you to proactively shape your post-work years, ensuring a fulfilling and purposeful transition into the next phase of life. Without a well-thought-out plan, you may ultimately face challenges like boredom, a lack of direction, or even financial instability in retirement.
Satori Wealth Management can help you address both the financial and life planning aspects of retirement. As a Registered Life Planner (RLP®), we have the necessary skills and training to help you develop a more nuanced and comprehensive retirement plan that considers your financial and lifestyle goals.
To begin your retirement planning journey and learn more about how we can help, please start by scheduling a free RetireNow™ Checkup.