Whether your retirement is a couple of years or a couple of decades away, it is never too early, or too late, to start dreaming about and preparing for it. Traditionally, retirement planning has focused on saving money and building financial security. However, studies have found that having a vision for the future and planning for that vision are as important as money in achieving a fulfilling retirement experience.
Retirement satisfaction is typically linked to several factors: having a clear vision of retirement goals, early financial planning, continued engagement, and activity throughout retirement, financial preparation and professional advice.
The importance of planning for a meaningful retirement has increased as life expectancy has improved. According to an Actuarial statistics study*, the baby boomer generation is expected to live longer than any previous generation. In fact, it is anticipated that over half of the people alive today will likely live to be 82 years or older. When you consider even further advancements in modern medicine that will affect Generation Xers and Millennials in their old age, it is likely that people will be living a lot longer than previously thought possible. Unlike their elders, many people can look forward to living for several decades – as opposed to several years – in retirement. (*Source: Life Tables for the United States Social Security Area 1900-2100. Actuarial Study No. 116 by Felicitie C. Bell and Michael L. Miller.)
While most people would agree that envisioning their retirement dreams is an important part of planning for the future, many of us may not know where to start or how to do it. One often overlooked suggestion involves writing down your vision for the ideal Retirement. It is based on the premise that those who write down their goals are much more likely to achieve them.
Written goals are much more concrete and tangible. In order to write them down, you are forced to think through the details. And, the simple act of writing down your goals adds a certain level of accountability. This is a technique that has been used by entrepreneurs from Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich) to Daymond John from NBC’s Shark Tank. Once your goals are on paper, they are out there for the world to see, and there is no going back.
By answering thought-provoking questions about your individual vision and passions, you will uncover the attitudes, values and aspirations that drive your unique goals. This can help you develop a “retirement roadmap” in order to prepare both emotionally and financially for your future. During retirement, you can use these same questions to re-envision and re-evaluate your goals as you consider your experiences, challenges and worries as a retiree. The questions below can help you get clarity around your goals and dreams, and ultimately allow you to identify the necessary steps to get you there.
- What do you look forward to doing in retirement? – Possibilities to explore include spending time with family and friends, going back to school, doing volunteer work, starting a new business, staying healthy and fit, and traveling.
- Where do you dream of going? – Consider possible destinations and activities, how you would like to travel, how much traveling you would like to do and who you would like to travel with.
- Where do you see yourself living? – Where you live significantly impacts your costs in retirement. Do you want to be part of a community? Do you want to try a new climate or lifestyle? Do you want to live in multiple locations? Consider whether you want to stay close to your current home, move closer to family, or relocate near activities you love.
- How do you want to make your lasting mark? – Your legacy is what is important to you and what you want to pass on to others. Leaving a legacy can mean many things including passing on your assets, your values or the lessons you’ve learned. Consider what gives you a sense of satisfaction and how you can have a lasting impact.
After you have explored your dreams for retirement, you will want to consider how to turn those dreams into reality. Working with a financial planner can help you with your retirement vision. Research has shown that people who seek help from an advisor are generally more positive in their outlook for retirement. Having a written financial plan is one of the likely reasons for this.
Fulfillment in retirement is not just about getting the money right; it’s about having a vision, remaining connected to community and living your dream. Consider working with the Atlanta Wealth Management Firm of Benedetti, Gucer & Associates. They can help you envision your retirement lifestyle and create a financial plan to attain that goal.
With all of that taken care of, you can do less worrying about the future and more frolicking through the fields. I don’t know about you, but I would choose field frolicking any day over worry!
Dress | Jacket | Boots | Sunglasses | Earrings
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