Staying focused on the big picture for retirement

White bedding with notebook and text "Bucket list", eyeglasses and hot tea.

Image: MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC/

In planning your retirement, it’s important to see the big picture. Too often it’s thought that if you get the financial side right everything else will fall into place.

That’s not necessarily so.

From their research, Frederick T Fraunfelder and James H Gilbaugh—in Retire Right—found that ‘retirees who had a game plan for both fiscal and the often-neglected non-fiscal aspects of retirement and who frequently revisited and updated that plan were the most satisfied with their lives’.

There’s a reason for that. Life is about more than money. These ‘non-fiscal aspects of retirement’ are important.

Obviously, you’ll want to prepare well financially for retirement. That’s important. And if you don’t understand how the system works, the best advice is to get professional help from someone who does know.

But let’s focus on the non-fiscal. Here is a series of three question that may help get you thinking. And they will probably raise more questions.

Staying on track

To stay on track, you need to know what tracks you want to stay on. Here are the questions to consider.

  • Have you developed your bucket list?
  • What do you want to do for personal fulfilment in retirement?
  • What will a typical week look like?

Staying in touch

There are people you will want to keep in touch with. If married, this begins with your spouse, but extends to family and beyond.

  • How will you purposefully stay connected to your spouse?
  • How will you keep in touch with family?
  • How will you make sure you have strong and regular contacts outside of family?

Staying alive

Yes, this is about your health. The questions are designed to help you create a health plan.

  • What kind of health checks do you need?
  • What type of diet will you put in place?
  • What type of exercise program will you develop?

Staying alert

Not everyone will develop Alzheimer’s, but there are some ways you can help your brain that may reduce the possibility.

  • How will you develop your memory processes?
  • What will you do to exercise your brain?
  • How will you cultivate your creativity?

I hope you noticed that none of the questions are designed to give specific answers. They are meant to be answered personally. By you. It is your retirement, after all.

The advantage you have is that you can begin to put most of these things in place now—before retirement. That gives you a head start for your retirement.

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



Category: Planning

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