When you are planning to retire it’s easy to focus on just the money and the technical details, and yet your non-financial retirement goals should be kept top of mind.
Recently, someone approached us and said that they were planning to retire next year.
We asked them something that we ask every client, “What do you plan to do after retirement?” Their response was, “I don’t know!”
Oftentimes, people become overly focused on their investment portfolio when they start their retirement planning. With the help of your financial advisor, you can ensure that your finances are taken care of and that you have sufficient money to get you through retirement.
But what about the non-financial aspects of your retirement?
The big retirement challenge is not how you will make more money, but how you plan to spend that money so that you can lead a happy and fulfilling life!
Recently, we had Marianne Oehser, founder of Retire & Be Happy and partner at Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors, join us for one of our episodes of Retirement Revealed to talk about how you can make retirement the happiest time in your life.
In this blog, we’ll explore Marianne’s ideas on how to achieve your retirement dreams by staying mindful of a few key non-financial parts of financial planning.
Read on to learn the 3 key non-financial aspects of your retirement decision making!
1. Communicate With Your Partner
We see a lot of people retire as a couple. Just like marriage, retirement is a huge commitment, which is why it’s vital to discuss some important things with your partner well before you retire. This helps you ensure that both of you are on the same page.
The biggest mistake people make is forming assumptions about what their partner really wants and expects from their relationship going into retirement.
As a result, small misunderstandings can snowball over time, eventually turning into severe marital problems. This is one of the major reasons why gray divorces have become so common today.
So, what’s the solution?
Communicate with your partner about your non-financial retirement goals and dreams, get rid of assumptions, and build a long-term plan together so that you can better adjust to your life after retirement as a couple.
If possible, Marianne also suggests that you take a couple’s retreat to spend quality time with each other. After all, you don’t need to wait for issues to arise and then take the retreat to “fix all problems,” it’s always good to take a proactive approach to strengthening your communication in your relationship!
2. Create Your Happiness Portfolio
As Marianne explains, a happiness portfolio is quite similar to a regular investment portfolio in the sense that it also involves asset-allocation and diversification. The only difference is that the asset you’re allocating is your “time” and the diversification relates to the activities that you’re planning to do during your retirement life.
You don’t need to focus 100% of your retirement plan on your retirement income. A key part of a fulfilling retirement is to plan for the lifestyle changes that will occur.
Remember that person that we mentioned at the beginning of this post who said they didn’t know what they’d do after retirement?
Believe it or not, but such an outlook is extremely common among retirees!
Most people think of retirement as a wonderful, long vacation and they create bucket lists to plan activities they’ll do during their retirement years. This usually includes things like golfing, taking a cruise, traveling to various places, and other leisure activities that you can check off your list.
However, bucket lists are not really long-term plans, as they don’t tell you how you’re going to fill up your days to keep you engaged for a fulfilling retirement. Consider, what will you do once you’ve eventually checked off everything on your bucket list?
From our experience in dealing with numerous retired clients, most people hit this point very soon, sometimes even after just a year or two into their retirement. Following such a period, you might experience a feeling of emptiness, not knowing what to do for the next 25-30 years of your life.
To avoid this situation, you can design a well-diversified set of activities to include in your happiness portfolio. This is not limited to leisure activities; you can include anything and everything that you’re deeply passionate about and wish to pursue during your post-career life, whether it’s starting a business or following a hobby.
We’re all very social beings and like to live a life of purpose. Your happiness portfolio can help you just do that! To learn more about building your successful retirement, check out this book by Marianne: Your Happiness Portfolio for Retirement: It’s Not About the Money!
3. Get Coaching From Someone Who Has Retired Before
Retirement planning has changed drastically over the last few years. Heading towards retirement used to be like leisurely rowing a small boat across a placid lake. Now, it’s more like a kayak moving down a fast-running river where you don’t know what’s waiting for you around the corner.
That’s why, now more than ever, you need to provoke your thinking in order to successfully navigate towards your new retirement lifestyle. Sometimes, you might not even know what it is exactly that you want until you explore your options.
Marianne has come up with an effective Retire & Be Happy Workshop that highlights the five key concepts for designing a happy and fulfilling post-retirement life. You can register and attend the live workshop to understand each concept thoroughly, but we’ll quickly do an overview of those concepts to give you an idea of what this workshop is about.
The first module explains how you can use the sudden time affluence during retirement to engage in activities that you’re excited and feel happy about.
Module two addresses the problem of losing your job identity after spending the majority of your life defining yourself by the jobs you’ve held.
Next, the third module talks about the need for purpose. Regardless of your socioeconomic status, religion, or job title, everyone feels that their work matters to someone in some way, and it’s critical to find such a purpose to live by during retirement.
The fourth value dives deeper into the concept of the happiness portfolio that we just talked about.
Finally, the last module enlists some tools that help you get through your new retirement. For instance, one tool is resilience, which can help you get past the inevitable bumps in your life and get back up after facing major downfalls.
One of the best things about this workshop is its group dynamics. You’ll get a chance to interact with fellow retirees during live sessions, which will enable you to learn from their experiences, explore their varying points of view, and get tremendous support from them while making your retirement decisions.
Remember, we know that your finances are important – but considering the non-financial aspects of retirement is equally important if you want to have a successful retirement.
While your financial advisor can help you with your investments and other things like Social Security, you may want a non financial guide, as well. Look for a certified retirement coach from the Retirement Coaches Association.
Some of these coaches were recently featured in some of our recent retirement blogs and podcasts.
If you have any questions regarding your retirement planning, feel free to contact one of our retirement experts. And to learn more about how Marianne Oehser helps retirees lead a happy and meaningful life, check out Retire & Be Happy, and Next Chapter Lifestyle Advisors.
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