Imagineering a retirement that fits who you are

Senior tourist couple hiking and taking selfie at the beautiful mountains

Image: HalfPoint/

Retirement is quite an adjustment, but the exciting thing is that you are in control of it. This may be the first time that you have full control of your life since you started school.

How do you imagine it?

One CFO I know finished up work on Friday and on Monday was a volunteer, driving his car to transport patients who needed to get to their treatments. That was him giving back. That was his goal, or at least one of them.

How do you imagine your retirement? Do you have mountains to climb? Places to see? A list of things that need tending to?

Jeff Giesea reckons that ‘many Boomers are allergic to the R-word. The reasons are understandable. Retirement, for many, implies a binary off-switch towards mortality, golf, and bingo’.

All this, he says, ‘suggests a fixed destination when the 21st-century reality is much more fluid and personalised’.

So, before you press the R-button, spend some time imagining what would give you life satisfaction, challenge you, and help fulfil you and your potential during this season of life.

And remember, it’s personal because it’s your life—no one else’s. Of course, a shared life, if you’re part of a couple, means shared dreams and discussion. But even then you will have both shared and individual dreams.

Here is a four-way process to help you in your planning:

1. Take an hour

Take an hour to imagine what you would like to do in retirement. Allow your mind freedom to think through what you could do. What you’d like to try. The new experiences you would like to have. What you’d like to achieve.

2. Simply dream

Don’t be too practical at this point. If Mount Everest appeals, write it down. Some realities may come into play that mean you need to tackle a smaller mountain. Of course, anything that takes time and a degree of difficulty can be your own personal Everest.

Include in your list the things you’ve always wanted to do as well as the things you need to do. You may have wanted to write the next international bestseller. You may need to landscape around your house. You can attempt both.

3. Write it down

Write down what you come up with so you can mull over your list over time—and adapt it where necessary. Revisit your list every now and again. You’ll probably find that you will cross some things out and add new ones.

4. The other side of imagineering

Imagineering is a word that uses your imagination for the ideas, but then includes working out how to make it happen. So when your list seems complete, the next step is to plan how you can achieve the things you’ve written down.

These steps will help you be prepared for your retirement.

Giesea suggests that ‘to thrive in this next phase [of your life], you will need a reason to jump out of bed in the morning. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just has to resonate with you and your values’.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of

Category: Attitude, Planning, Purpose

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