We all know how important habits are, and they can be constructive and positive or destructive and negative. It has been said the difference between dreaming and doing is a result of habits formed to achieve the destination you want.
Unfortunately all too often retirement is something many have no plan for, particularly in setting goals to achieve in retirement. We have written in a previous article that 71% of people have no written retirement plan, and our goal is to change that one person at a time.
It is our view that the financial preparation is only part of the equation. We encourage our clients to consider going beyond financial planning, and ask what you want to get out of your retirement years. Then develop an action plan after your vision is developed. Financials get most or all of the press, as it funds your retirement years. However your vision is not likely made up of spreadsheets or investment formulas.
We look at retirement as an opportunity to reinvent yourself, to do or accomplish things you’ve been dreaming about during your working years. Here are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Retirees:
- Live with a sense of urgency and purpose – A typical retirement paradigm is “I’ll take it easy” or “I’m going golfing whenever I want” or “I’m going fishing.” A good and wise friend of mine questioned the veracity of this strategy. Are you going to engage in your favorite activity 8-10-12 hours a day? We all have more satisfaction in our lives by having purpose. Successful retirees realize that their time is limited and they live with a sense of urgency.
- Nurture your relationships – remain connected – The day after retirement, many people think their workplace relationships are over; but this doesn’t need to be the case. According to a recent article by Dr. Cynthia Barnett, “If you have workplace relationships you value, you should continue to nurture and enjoy them. Ending a career doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit. Remaining connected to the people who are important in your life will bring great joy into your life after the big day.”
- Be healthy – In almost every article written about this, paying attention to your health is a resounding theme. Last week we wrote an entire article on how Exercise at Retirement Increases Rate of Health Aging Up to Sevenfold.
- A Good Retirement Begins With Friendships – The Yahoo! Contributor Network asked their retired members what habits they rely on to make the most of their retirement lives. One response from Sandra Snow was “When I stopped teaching, along with that went the interactions between my students and me and my colleagues and me. I had friends, but not as many as I wanted; an extremely demanding work schedule had meant little time for friends, let alone a family. As a single woman, I knew I had to reach out to others. I made sure I had a plan in place to get out with people, make new friends, and to reach back to others in my past to get out and have some fun. I began filling up Fridays with dates for shopping, lunches, an occasional movie, and more. I am a natural hermit, but I knew being solitary was not good for my mental or physical well-being.”
Simplify and de-clutter – This is something my wife and I are struggling with right now. Having raised 3 children, coupled with elderly or deceased parents, amounts to a lot of stuff! Retirement is the perfect time to shift gears into a simpler, less cluttered and less stressful lifestyle. Simplifying our lives both internally and externally is the perfect activity for the immediate post-retirement days. Now is a good time for all of us to get rid of the clutter inside and around you. You will likely find the simpler and de-cluttered lifestyle a weight off your shoulders.
- Retire to something, not from something – This is from a terrific article in Marketwatch, written by Joe Hearn. He counsels “Retiring to escape a job is a recipe for misery and discontent. If you define your retirement by what you subtract — work, obligations, commitments — you’ll simply create a void in your life that opens you to self doubt, regret, lack of purpose and boredom. Successful retirees focus on pursuing something they love, not running from something they hate.”
- Be proactive – We would be remiss not to have a habit from Stephen Covey’s famous book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. “Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.”
The more you seriously consider and plan your retirement, the more you’ll enjoy it. Call us, we can help with both the financial part and the planning part!