Making the decision to retire is one of the biggest and most stressful transitions we make in our lives. There are many things to consider, and as lifestyle financial planners, helping clients plan and move towards this new time in their lives is about so much more than the money. Moving from a saving to a spending mindset can be challenging, but there is much more to consider.
Three questions to ask ourselves when considering or planning to retire are:
- Have I had enough?
- Do I have enough?
- Have I enough to do?
Let’s consider each of these.
Have I had enough? The concept of retirement is man-made and has only been around since 1881, when Otto von Bismarck created it. If we enjoy what we do in our working life, stepping away from that may not be what we want at a predetermined age. Some skills take years to perfect, and stopping when we are at our peak and loving it may not be what is best for us.
In the same way, working too long in an environment we don’t enjoy can damage our health.
Do I have enough? It goes without saying that we need to be sure that we have enough savings and income to maintain the lifestyle we want in our retirement years. Working with a financial planner who assists you with proper cash flow planning can give you that certainty. Many people work on because they do not know if they have enough.
Have I enough to do? We often see the most challenging part of retiring, especially among men who have worked for most of their lives, to be creating a new daily and weekly routine. We can only play so much golf, tennis, or other sport with the same mates. Finding new interests and passions is vital to maintain emotional and mental health into retirement.
Having a purposeful life once we stop work does not come without trying to understand what is truly meaningful to us, and this is personal to each of us. Working this out can take time and should not be underestimated.
Being able to retire is a blessing when done properly. Make sure you plan well ahead and consider more than just the money side.
Dirk Groeneveld, Certified Financial Planner