5 things to do when you test drive your retirement

Mature Couple Driving Along Country Road In Open Top Car

Image: monkeybusinessimages/Bigstock.com

Test drive your retirement? Yes, it can be done and it isn’t that difficult.

Your test drive begins by taking a month off (holidays or long service leave) a year or so before retirement. But it’s a stay-at-home holiday to allow you to live as if you’re retired.

Here are five things you could do:

1. Live on the income you expect to have in retirement

Actually, financial advisor Trey Smith supports this idea in a post: ‘Before retiring, try spending like a retired person.’ He thinks it’s a good challenge: ‘If you can’t live according to your retirement budget while you’re still working, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to when you have all day to spend money.’

Living on your retiree income for a month helps check some retirement realities. Many costs will be the same (you’ll still eat), some will fall (you don’t have to travel to work) and some will rise (you may want to eat out more).

If you’re not able to work out what your total income would be, check with a (your) financial advisor.

2. What will you do about your health?

Good health is a treasure greater than finances. In retirement there can be no I-don’t-have-the-time excuses because you’re in charge of your time. As you are during this test-drive month.

Darren Morton, the author of Live More Active warns that if we don’t become more active, we may be forced to by the consequences from poor lifestyle practices.

‘In the pursuit of living more, taking time for regular physical activity is non-negotiable. Besides, it need not be time intensive—just capturing 10-minute chunks throughout the day works wonders.’

This test-drive month could be the beginning of a health regime that continues to retirement and beyond.

3. Developing a routine

Retirement can be an adventure with planned holidays and other activities, but most of the time you’ll be at home. Even grey nomads who take off with their caravans for months at a time do head home eventually—even if it’s only to plan their next trip.

What will you do at home?

Start simple: What time will you get up in the mornings? Then, unless you see your retirement as one long holiday, what will you do? Routine is important for both being and doing.

You could start by listing the things you want to do or make happen each week.

4. Time to work on some of your interests

This month could be a good time to check out some of your interests (hobbies, passions, priorities) to better prepare to follow them in retirement.

For instance, amateur photographers could look at classes or photographic groups to join. Then they can decide whether they should join them before retirement so they can enter retirement with greater proficiency.

Remember, a good question to ask is, ‘What will I do when I retire?’

‘Nothing!’ doesn’t answer the question.

5. The people in your life

If you have a partner, this test-drive month is an ideal time to get used to the idea that once you’re both retired you’re together so much more. That can be a challenge for even the most together relationships.

In our retirement, as a couple we’ve set aside time in our week when we do things together, but we also have our own lives and interests that we follow.

That works for us.

But so many studies emphasise how much we need people outside of family in our lives. Nancy K Schlossberg, in Too Young to be Old, says we need a social circle that includes people we’re close to, good friends and family, and lots of acquaintances.

‘We all need a confidante as well as a social network. We need to fill up our dance cards.’

6. And . . .

What else could you do to test drive your retirement? Taking the time to do these kinds of things can really help your planning and preparation for retirement.

Bruce Manners is the author of Retirement Ready? and Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com

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

Category: Planning

Leave a Reply

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

Retire Notes