4 pathways to make your retirement story a success

This is my story words typed on a vintage typewriter in black and white.

Image: Nora C/Bigstock.com

Planning for a successful retirement not only includes planning your finances but also planning your time—and having the right mindset.

Three questions you should ask yourself are: Have you considered what retirement will look like for you? Are you retiring for the right reasons? Will you age well or merely bide your time?

Here are four pathways to consider to help your retirement become a success story.

1. Vision

How do you see your new, retired life? You may not have given much thought to this, but it’s an important question.

Grab a cuppa, sit down with your partner (if you have one) and have a conversation around your personal vision for life. Go one step further and prepare a vision board with pictures or drawings that represent what’s important to you.

For example, you might want to teach, educate yourself, travel, spend time in the garden, climb a mountain.

This is a simple exercise intended to lead into a conversation with your partner as you prepare for the next stage of your life. It may be helpful to involve professionals in your planning—a financial planner, for instance.

Remember, there are no wrong questions—or responses—so use your imagination.

2. Balance

Regardless of income or wealth, we all have the same amount of time so it’s important to use it wisely. Look at how you’re spending your time now and what changes you would like to make, to create a more meaningful life.

Retiring ‘cold turkey’ is often not the answer. Many people find themselves missing some of the routine, interactions and productive activities associated with their work. What they really wanted was balance.

That’s balance in work and play, balance in family and personal time; balance in being active and being still.

Think about how you currently spend your time. Now think about how you would ideally like to fill your time and compare the two.

Now look at the gaps and figure out what you need to change to make the adjustments required to achieve balance in your retired life.

3. Work

Just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean life shouldn’t be fulfilling and have a purpose. If you aren’t planning to spend time doing something worthwhile, you need to reassess what you’re doing.

Many people take on part-time work within the first year of retirement because they realise they were missing out on the positive aspects of work.

Have you assessed the activities you liked at work? And those that left you cold?

Think about: how well your talents and abilities were utilised;  how enthusiastic you were toward your work; how you benefited others through work; and the degree you were energised by what you did.

When you consider your responses, you’ll find direction to what will give you a sense of excitement and purpose when the paid work stops and the play time (your time) begins.

4. Well-being and ageing

Successful ageing is all about attitude. No doubt you know an 80-year-old who acts half their age and someone who is 40 acting like they’re 80.

For you to age well, you need to challenge yourself daily to keep going—mentally and physically.

Taking on a challenge can mean different things to different people. It could be completing cryptic crosswords; knitting for charity; learning ballroom dancing; joining a new club; or . . . Age is no reason you can’t be challenged, curious, connected, creative and charitable.

All you need is the right mindset and that leads to thriving not merely surviving.

There’s no doubt that if you’ve prepared well financially you will have more opportunities to make choices. However, the mindset is just as important as money when it comes to a successful retirement.


Anne Graham is a financial planner and CEO of Story Wealth Management. In December of 2018, she was named one of Australia’s 50 most influential financial planners. For more, go to storywealth.com.au

To receive a free copy of Three Things that Really Matter (in retirement) sign up here for the weekly RetireNotes.com email.

Category: Attitude, Planning, Purpose

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Retire Notes