Why a life portfolio for retirement is important

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Just as you should try to develop a financial portfolio for your retirement, you should also have a life portfolio. That’s according to Anna Rappaport who, at 78 years of age, has her own life portfolio.

She’s an actuary (a professional who measures and manages risk and uncertainty—often in the insurance industry) who has had a long-term interest in retirement. In her ‘retirement’ she has set up her own business Anna Rappaport Consulting.

Just as a financial portfolio requires focus, diversification, and management, she says, so does a life portfolio.

What makes a life portfolio?

Answer: Just as a good financial portfolio has ‘focus, diversification and management, so does a life portfolio.’

There are four elements to what Rappaport calls ‘The life portfolio of a successful happy retiree’:

1. Health: These are activities to maintain health and a support system

2. People: Family, friends, community organisations, maintaining and creating new contacts

3. Pursuits: Work, volunteering, hobbies, community activities, caregiving, travel, and other activities that take time and provide satisfaction

4. Places: Home, travel, community.

To illustrate what that looks like, her retirement includes ‘a combination of contract work, writing and speaking, not-for-profit Board service, research, and a lot of volunteer work, plus spending time building my art and painting skills.’

That’s almost all work-related. However, she adds that she puts high value on family and refuses to get involved in projects that will create a problem with that priority.

We all have different priorities

In her portfolio retirement, this is what works for Rappaport, but it won’t fit everyone. And that’s something she admits from her work dealing with individuals in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

‘Some are seeking a new, but similar job opportunity; some are seeking a new active lifestyle but with a different script; and some are seeking traditional retirement.

‘My experience with professional and business people is that most of them are seeking a meaningful set of activities and not just a full-stop retirement, but what that means is very different from person to person.’

This comes back to our own priorities. And what we view as important in our portfolio.

And for those who phase themselves out of their work and workplaces, this also becomes part of their portfolio.

Creating your own retirement portfolio

Going back to the beginning, your financial portfolio is important. Of course it is. But so is your life portfolio. Rappaport has done us a service with her listing of the four areas to work on: Health; People; Pursuits; and Places.

You can list your plans, your passions, your priorities and whatever else you may come up with in those four areas. If you decide to keep working or to gradually phase out of work, this is still a helpful way of looking at your life. Many of these things can be a part of your life before retirement—they will certainly help you in your retirement.

One more piece of advice

Rappaport says, ‘Some people will work on building a life portfolio long before they retire, and others will not start until after they have retired. My view is that it is better to start on this before retirement and to have some pieces of a life portfolio in place, or ready to be put in place quickly.’

 

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

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Category: Attitude, Lifestyle, Purpose

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