By the time most people hit 40, they have begun putting aside money for their retirement. Unfortunately, they have put little time or effort into the following 6 factors that are key determinants of thriving as they approach and enter into the retirement phase of their life.
1. Create a compelling vision for your future. For all too many people (especially those who spent their careers “living for the weekend”) their retirement vision consists solely of the absence of work. Unfortunately, “permanent weekends” of endless shopping, golf, gardening, and TV quickly lose their appeal. Retirement is not a time to give up on setting goals – it is a time to get better at identifying the goals that really excite you now that you are not constrained by the need to work. To determine the goals that will energize you as you move into this next phase of your life, ask yourself the following questions:
· What have I always wanted to see, do, have, create or achieve that I never had the time to pursue?
· What accomplishments would I feel proud/excited to tell my grandchildren (or friends) about?
· What am I scared/embarrassed to admit to others that is something I have always dreamed of doing? (Yes, that!)
2. Connect with your purpose. Without the need to pay the bills, what would make you excited to get up each morning? It may come as a surprise to know that it is not the pursuit of unending leisure activities that provides thriving retirees with a source of boundless energy and enthusiasm. Research shows that people of any age can tap into huge stores of vitality when they connect with a purpose beyond their own preservation, profit or pleasure.
Howard S. Friedman, psychologist and co-author of the book, “The Longevity Project” has done extensive research into the factors that determine health and longevity. Despite the popular advice people are being given to slow down, take it easy, stop worrying and retire early to reduce stress, The Longevity Project discovered that those who worked the hardest lived the longest. In particular, those people whose work (either paid or unpaid) was dedicated to a purpose that served people or objectives outside of their own personal gain were seen to live longer, healthier and more successful lives overall. The conclusion? Taking on the stress of pushing yourself to make a difference beyond your own self-interests is going to have a much more positive impact on your health than leading a low-key relaxing life of gardening and golfing will.
Your purpose doesn’t need to be world-changing, it just needs to feel meaningful to you. Ask yourself the following questions to identify where you might be most inspired to make a difference?
- · What part of my industry, company, community or family would I most like to have a positive impact on?
- · What needs do I see around me that are not being met? Which do I feel most drawn to / excited by?
- · What would I attempt to do/contribute to my family, community, workplace, the world if I knew I could not fail?
3. Make a plan. Your vision and purpose should determine your financial plan, not the other way around. Not only does a concrete sense of what you are saving for make it easier to set aside the money for it, the amount of money you need to set aside will vary greatly depending on whether your “happy place” consists of 5 star world travel or picnics in the park with your grandkids who live down the block. Don’t even attempt to figure this out on your own. Interview 3-5 financial professionals, including at least one fee-for-service investment planner, one fee-for-service money coach, and one accountant (preferably a tax and estate planning specialist) before deciding who you are going to have guide you in growing your financial portfolio. Before meeting with them, get clear on the following:
· What are your current living expenses?
· How might the above change (increase or decrease) based on what you plan to do with your time after you retire? Remember that some elements of your current living expense will decrease (such as the amount of gas you use commuting to work and money spent on work clothes), where others will increase (budgets for travel, doing all of that landscaping you have been putting off, going back to school, etc.).
These first 3 keys, although may sound simple, require serious attentions an thoughts. Perhaps it is the time for you to sit down and do the homework. Perhaps it is not, yet. However, it is very important to get them right. If you need help, we are here. I will post the last 3 keys next week so do come back! 🙂
Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance and profits took shape. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates leading eastern and western thought with top-tier leadership, engagement, wellness and sustainability consulting to build the capacity of people and business to thrive. Her clients represent a diverse cross-section of industries including banking, retail, government, insurance, academia and high-tech. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com