There is More to Retirement Planning Than Being Financially PreparedSubmitted by JMB Financial Managers on July 26th, 2019
Working, whether paid or unpaid, is good for our health and wellbeing. It contributes to our happiness, helps us to build confidence and self-esteem, and rewards us financially. Retirement, which is expected to be a rewarding time in a person’s life, can actually be a threat to one’s happiness rather than the opportunity it is meant to be.
One reason retirement can be a challenge is that being financially prepared for retirement is not the same thing as being emotionally, psychologically, and socially prepared for it. In short, there is more to retirement planning than a series of financial calculations.
Finding Purpose in Retirement
For some people, their personal identify is closely tied to their life’s work. For example, a surgeon may define who they are and their value to society by the daily work of repairing injured, ill and broken bodies. A firefighter may find this in the daily work of saving people’s lives and their belongings from the ravages of fire. For people in these situations, retirement can bring an enormous vacuum from loss of purpose and identity.
For others, the meaning and significance of their job provides psychological well-being and a healthy outlook on life, based upon the significance they assign to their work. Some may derive meaning not from the job itself, but from the fact that it allows them to provide for their families and pursue non-work activities that they enjoy. Others may find meaning in being able to advance themselves and be the best they can be. People with a craftsmanship orientation take pride in performing the job well. Those with a service orientation find purpose in the ideology or belief system behind their work. Still others extract meaning from the sense of kinship they experience with co-workers. Retirement can rob a person of these vital feelings, which can spill over into a lower level of health and well-being.
The tasks of daily work provides a regular social life for people, both in and outside of, the work environment. Whether it comes in the form of staff meetings, lunches with co-workers, conferences, or after-hours events, work provides many with a readily available stream of social opportunities. Retirement will uproot a person from these readily available social connections, potentially creating a void that can leave a person feeling lonely for human interaction.
Finally, work keeps a person busy, challenges them to learn, and provides a means for personal development and growth. The loss of a daily routine, things to do, places to go and people to see opens the door for boredom, loss of stimulation, and stagnation. Being prepared to overcome these challenges and lessen the shock by developing hobbies and a social calendar outside of the workplace before entering retirement.
Preparing for Your Situation
A single individual facing retirement can be challenged by more than one of the factors brought on by retirement and the loss of the many non-financial benefits their work provided them -- on top of the obvious means of providing for themselves financially.
When retiring as a couple, the transition can be even more daunting as each of you may experience completely different challenges, or experience the same challenges in completely different ways. Open discussion, working together, and knowing when to give each other their space to search for find an answer that works for them are critical.
Don't Forget to Run the Numbers
Not to be overlooked, of course, is that one does need to be able to afford to be retired, so an analysis of your retirement savings, asset allocation, pension plan, social security benefits, Medicare coverage, long-term care plan and the other traditional financial planning factors should be prepared well ahead of time.
If your age, your health, your energy level, your spouse or your aspirations are telling you the time for retirement is approaching in the next several years, you should start to craft a plan that is all encompassing, and addresses ways for you to maintain your self-identity, social needs, health and nutrition, personal relationships and your financial resources. This will enable you to experience an enriching, vibrant life in retirement along with the peace of mind that you have adequate resources and retirement income.
Are You Fit to Retire?
Find out how prepared - and enthusiastic - you are in each of the key areas of retirement success by taking our exclusive psychometrically-designed Fit-To-Retire readiness assessment. From that assessment, we can guide you through a customized pre-retirement checklist, a comprehensive to-do list that will get you ready on every level. After all the boxes have been checked, we will design a retirement playbook, personalized just for you, with suggested activities and goals so you can hit the ground running! Simply head to our retirement readiness page and take the assessment at no cost or obligation to you.