A couple of weeks ago we blogged about the transition going on within the workforce in regards to the number of retirements. Because so many workers will be retiring or are thinking about retirement, we’re going to focus this week on individual retirement planning and not the financial type!
Mentally planning for retirement is just as crucial as the financial planning. Some say it’s more important because without the mental retirement thoughts it’s difficult to have the financial piece. There are a lot of options out there so it’s best to determine which will work for you!
It’s important to understand some will ease into the retirement transition without any problem but others may have difficulty adjusting to the lack of a career identity, loss of work friends, lack of daily routine or not knowing how to keep busy along with many other issues.
The other thing, too, is people don’t always realize how difficult that transition will be and won’t make any plans. Once people become aware of the discomfort they are feeling about retirement, they don’t like to talk about their negative feelings because they’re supposed to be happy and excited about retirement.
A perfect example is football players. It can be very difficult for some NFL players. That excitement or charge that comes from playing week after week, year after year can very easily turn into depression and anxiety with that transition into retirement. That transition can be extremely difficult for players to cope with especially when the norm is to be the “tough football player.” Many have called on the NFL to help players cope when they leave from the extreme highs of the football field to the adjustment of a completely different, and possibly more quiet, lifestyle.
To avoid the anxiety that can accompany retirement, it’s best to start considering early what retirement will look like. Daydreaming about retirement is actually an important start and that should begin three to five years from the actual retirement date.
A very simple exercise can help. It’s one we use with groups on vision but it can also help with retirement planning. It’s important to do with a spouse or significant other so ideas or vision can be shared. Other family members may need to be included, too. This will help to reduce or prevent any misunderstandings or conflict in the future. The exercise starts with coming up with some questions related to retirement. Come up with your own or here’s some sample questions:
- When am I going to retire, will I retire all at once or do a phased-in retirement?
- Where do I want to live?
- What are my housing options, i.e. same, new, condo?
- What will I do after I retire, i.e. new job, part-time job, volunteer, hobby?
- What are other people doing, i.e. friends, family spouse or significant other?
- What will life be like – easy, more difficult, fun?
- What are the most important factors in making my decisions?
The next step is to do some silent thinking on each of the questions. Spend about 5 minutes on each question and imagine how it is. Remember, this is in the future – 3, 5 or whatever the number of years into retirement.
After you have spent time thinking about each question, go back and record your thoughts to each question. If you’re doing this with someone else, take turns recording your ideas. This is just brainstorming so come up with even the wild and crazy ideas! You never know what the end-result might be!
Once all ideas have been written down, go back over them and compare the ideas. Are there some significant themes or common ideas that jump out? Are there some that need more information such as finding out how much a house on the beach will cost? Are there others to start working on immediately? Which ideas are more important to one of you? How will both of you work on those more important to only one of you?
There may be additional things to consider but this helps to get you started on those retirement plans. It may even help to start the financial planning, too. If retirement is way off, maybe you want to revisit the lists at a future date or do the exercise again because some things may have changed or the ideas may not be what you want or you just want to make sure you’re on track for your retirement goals. There may be lots of other things out there you want to do, too!
Have some fun with this and happy retirement! Watch on our CALMC Facebook page for additional ideas on retirement planning from Forbes magazine!
Chamberlin, Jamie. (January, 2014). Retiring Minds Want To Know. Monitor on Psychology, Vol. 45, No. 1, Pg. 61. http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/retiring-minds.aspx
Bell, Jarrett, & McCracken, Jamie. (May 11, 2012).Counseling urged to ease NFL players’ retirement transition. USA Today. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/05/nfl-players-seeing-benefits-of-post-retirement-counseling/1