How To Create A Retirement Plan That You Can Use Now
Is it time to retire? Only you can answer that question. Sometimes you have a choice about the timing. And you can make the decision to exit the workforce when it works best for you. Other times changing circumstances may force you to retire. Health, downsizing, or changes at work can all contribute to an unexpected early retirement. Be ready for whatever might come your way and create a retirement plan.
Retirement is the time to finally do all the things you’ve dreamed about. Make your dreams come true with a plan for your future. Take some simple action steps now to set yourself up for success. A retirement plan is a practical way to prepare for all the changes that come at this life stage.
So often people focus only on finances when they think about retirement planning. As important as financial security is, there are other life areas that you’ll want to plan for. Your retirement plan should also address:
- Health and Wellness (How to live your best life)
- Home Location (Where you’ll live)
- Leisure Activities (What you’ll do for fun)
- Relationships (Who do you want in your life)
- Work (What you’ll do to stay involved)
How would you describe your ideal retired life? How does this differ from the life you are living now? Write expectations for each life area on your retirement plan. These expectations become the foundation of your non-financial retirement goals. You’ll feel more in control of your future life if you have a plan to follow.
What action steps will you need to take to create your ideal retirement life? Select the most significant and add them to the plan. Finally, establish start dates for the action steps. Plan on taking some action steps before you retire.
Your entire retirement plan will become more real and helpful the sooner you get started working on it. In addition, remember to be realistic with your start dates. You can’t do everything at once. So start with something simple and build from there.
As an example, let’s say you have health concerns. You’ve been telling yourself that once you retire, you’ll exercise more and make healthier food choices. (No more workplace snacks to tempt you when you retire!) Now’s the time to declare that you want to live a healthier life in retirement. That becomes your health and wellness goal. Write it on your plan. Next, you’ll describe how you’ll achieve that healthier life.
Your action steps could include figuring out what you’ll do for exercise. You might be interested in joining a gym or being on a team. Doing research on gym hours/locations and costs is certainly something that you could start immediately, while you are still working. Make your start time now and get going.
In addition, just doing the initial research may motivate you to start adding in a weekend physical activity to jumpstart your exercise program. If you want to hike in retirement but don’t have time now for it, start by walking in new locations. Go to local park instead of walking in your neighborhood. Your action step could be going to a new park each month. Remember, it’s easier to make lifestyle changes when you can ease into them.
This is just an example of creating change in one area of your life. Think about all the areas and follow a similar process of looking at them as they relate to your retired life. Create a couple of goals for each area and some action steps. Plug in reasonable start dates and start implementing your plan.
It’s likely you’ve thought about how you’d like your retired life to look but never actually created a plan for creating it. Often retirement feels like it is such a long way off, it seems unnecessary to think past the financial aspect. Make the effort to create a retirement plan that forces you to think beyond financial security.
Project how you want your life in retirement to look and take steps now to set yourself up for success. In the end, retirement will be part of your life, so get ready for it by planning ahead.
Whether you are dreaming about the day you can retire or are suddenly faced with unforeseen early retirement, putting together a retirement plan can be a powerful way to begin working towards your ideal retirement. Our practical guide to Creating Your Own Retirement Plan includes guidance, a template, and a completed sample plan. For personalized assistance and guidance, please contact us.