Last fall, Kiplinger's explored a very important issue in "The Biggest Oversight in Most Americans' Retirement Planning." This article warned about the perils of poor preparation for the mental and emotional demands of retirement. Not many of my clients make this complaint, rather they wonder how to fit everything they want to do in their day.
There are folks however, that head into retirement with a sense of excitement and a bit of anxiety—they haven't given much thought to their actual goals or how to best to use their unique skills and abilities. Perhaps these retirees did very little "avocational" planning when preparing for retirement and planned instead to just "take it as it comes." With my clients who have obviously put some time and effort into planning prior to the day they stopped working, they’ve experiencing more meaningful and interesting lives. They’ve devoted their time of service to others, newfound creativity or even starting new businesses. This is not for everyone however, so it’s important to give what you want retirement to be some thought. There is no doubt that for most people retirement—and the freedom that comes with it—can be the best part of their life. Unfortunately, there is the other side of retirement as well: loneliness, depression, and alcoholism are all too common afflictions of some retirees.
The best way to avoid these darker possibilities is to get your finances ready for retirement while setting some worthwhile goals. Take time each week to determine where you excel, to define your interests, and to consider what types of things you'd like to learn and what experiences will give you the most satisfaction. Then, look for ways to employ those skills and goals. As so many now realize, retirement isn't the end of anything. Quite the contrary, when you plan and prepare, it's really the beginning of new pursuits.
Don't spend your retirement sitting in front of the television! Start planning what you want to do in your retirement. If you don't know where to start, chat with family and friends. Ask them what they could see you doing. Don't delay! Figure out today what's going to bring you a sense of purpose and fun in retirement.
Reference: Kiplinger's (October 2015) "The Biggest Oversight in Most Americans' Retirement Planning"