When thinking about retirement, we need to also think about more than just money. Where will you be living? What will you be doing? How will you spend your time? In retirement, these are just as important as thinking about your money. In fact, not having a plan for how you will spend your time may be the one thing that can derail your retirement.
Managing Your Time
No matter the profession, you are accustomed to a level of physical and mental activity that is about to shut down. If you don't think about the adjustment in your daily level of activity you could be in trouble. I've seen this with clients at my financial planning practice, Leamnson Capital, and in my own family.
My stepfather taught pulmonary medicine at Indiana University. He loved what he did and probably would have done it longer than he did. Circumstances (some health issues and my mother's urging him to retire) pushed him into retirement before he was ready. Though my mother had plans of her own for him, he hadn't really thought about what he would do with his time. The adjustment of going from a high level, highly engaged professional position to nothing proved too much for Bob. As a result, he became depressed and had a really difficult first few years of retirement. His depression and unhappiness put a strain on their marriage.
Fortunately, in time things worked out. He took up painting and found it was something he really enjoyed. He became pretty good at it. They began to travel more and spend more time doing the things my mother hoped they would do. After several years, they enjoyed the kind of retirement they had both hoped they would have. But it could have easily gone the other direction.
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Not Sure Where to Start
Here are some suggestions that I've seen work.
- Consider working part-time in your field. If you're a doctor, work in a local clinic. If you're a lawyer, do some pro bono work or teach at a university. I have clients in both professions doing these things.
- Consider serving regularly at a nonprofit or with your church or religious organization. What are you passionate about? Find a way to serve in that area. Passionate about education? Affordable housing? Job skills training? Lord knows there are needs in all of these areas. I'm confident you can find a way to contribute.
- Start a business. Sound crazy? Maybe not. The online marketplace offers numerous ways to make money. I read about one couple who retired purchased an RV to travel the country. They noticed a lot of household items being sold on Amazon. After further research, they decided to become Amazon resellers. Essentially, they would go to an area they wanted to visit, go to garage and yard sales looking for specific items in demand on Amazon and purchase those items. They would then resell them on Amazon, shipping the items from a nearby Amazon warehouse. It was pure genius. They were traveling the country and running a business along the way. One of my neighbors did something similar on e-Bay. She went to local garage and yard sales and resold the items on e-Bay from her home.
These are just a few things you can do. Maybe none of these appeal to you. If you allow yourself to think about it, I'm confident you will find something you've always wanted to do but never had the chance to do.
Whatever you do, don't derail your retirement before it starts. Think about how you will spend your time, especially those first few years of retirement. After the newness and initial excitement wear off, the reality of boredom can set in. Talk about it with your spouse. Talk about it with your kids. Doing that will assure that your money aligns with the plans you've made for your life. That's the road to a happy retirement!
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