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What's the #1 Question to Answer Prior to Retirement?

What's the Main Question You Must Answer Prior to Retirement? 

Why Do you Want To Retire? 

Why do you want to retire? Why? What's pulling you forward? 

One thing we see time and time again is that retirees feel pushed into retirement by a certain of circumstances. They're tired of their job. They need a change of pace. They simply don't want to work anymore. Their job is changing in ways they don't appreciate. 

These are fine answers, but in our experience the most fulfilling retirements occur when the retirees feels pulled into retirement, not the other way around. That is, there is an activity, a goal, or an aspiration this is shaped into the 'why' of retirement. This 'why' becomes more important than any 'why not?' 

More of than not, a strong 'why' become the reason to retire this year rather than that year. Once declared and affirmed, it is the financial planner's job, in consultation with you and your family, to map out the 'how.' This is, of course, the cartography of financial planning. Once we know the destination we can discuss any number of routes you may seek to endeavor to achieve your goal, mindful of pitfalls you may encounter along the way. 

There can be any number of 'why's' pulling you into retirement

There can be any number of things or experiences that create a patchwork quilt of your underlying purpose in retirement. Here's a handful of retirement rationales that we see often: 

  • A desire to spend more time with loved ones, especially grandchildren. 
  • A desire to travel 
  • A desire to invest more time in a hobby. 
    • We see this often with engineering or artistic pursuits. Think working on old cars, painting, or getting the band back together. 
  • A desire to volunteer or give back.
  • A desire to decide how you spend your time rather than being at the mercy of your employer's, your patients, or your co-workers' schedules. 
  • A desire to invest in educational or spiritual pursuits. 
    • i.e. Go get that master's or attend that meditation retreat!

How Is Your 'Why' Incorporated into your Written Financial Plan? 

Does a sailor set forth without a destination? A pilot without a flight plan? The answer, of course, is 'no.' And it follows that it would be similarly unwise to embark on a retirement, or even to plan for said retirement, without a strong sense of what you are planning for.

Your purpose, or your 'why', should be at the heart of your financial plan; anything less and you'll just be treading water. 

Here's a few questions to ask yourself as you meditate on your own personal 'why' and how to get more of that in retirement:

  • What does your ideal day look like from the time you awake until the time you turn out the lights? 
  • What aspects of your day-to-day life do you enjoy the most? How could you get more of that in retirement? 
  • Are there things or experiences you feel you are missing out on? Ideally, how would you invest more time in things like this? 
  • If money was of no concern, how would you spend the next year? How about the next five years? 

As always, if you'd like to continue this retirement planning conversation with one of our fiduciary financial planners, you can schedule a time to chat below. In the meantime, happy planning! 

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