What do you want retirement to be for you?

Man standing in a big, dark empty room, trying to plan how to fill it

Image: dolgachov/Bigstock.com

Have you seriously thought about what you will do in retirement? Sometimes it seems as if too many spend more time planning a two-week holiday than their retirement. Your retirement needs more thought than that.

One study of psychiatrists aged 55 years and over found that only 60% had commenced a retirement plan and 15% said they didn’t plan to retire.

If 15% are considered as having a plan (to not retire), that means 75% do have some kind of plan. That leaves 25 per cent with no plan.

Where do you fit? Among the 75% with a plan or the 25% without one? It’s time to do some thinking—particularly if you’re among the 25%.

It takes more than hope

Robert Laura suggests that some people think—or hope, perhaps—that retirement will simply fix itself or their problems, whatever they might be. Life will then be sweet.

He responds: ‘However, retirement won’t fix anything! It’s a dark empty space that retirees need to fill up. No one else will do it for them and if they don’t fill it up with the things that are important to them, it will get filled with other things that may include substance abuse, laziness, boredom, and depression, to name a few.’

A ‘dark empty space’? You won’t find that in any advertising brochures about the joys of retirement—or what it could be like.

A ‘dark empty space that retirees need to fill up.’ It’s better to have some idea of what you want it to be filled up with before you get there. If not, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in transition, working out what to do with your new empty space.

As someone who was well informed and well prepared for retirement, there were more adjustments than I’d expected. That’s normal, I’ve discovered. I was glad I had the basics sorted so that adjustments and uncertainty didn’t control my early retirement.

So, back to the question: What do you want retirement to be for you? What can you begin working on now to put some light in that ‘dark, empty space’?

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

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Category: Planning

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