As a wealth advisor, people turn to me for guidance on financial planning to ensure they have the resources they need to enjoy their retirement years. Budgets are planned, money is invested, forecasts on spending are made, all of which are necessary components for a successful plan. But, in the midst of all the financial planning, there is one area that I have found most retirees haven’t thought much about: what their day-to-day will look like. Rather, they spend time thinking about what they are retiring from, when it would be in their best interest to be considering what they are retiring to.
Typically, there are the “bucket list” items that are planned within the first year of retirement: the big trip with the family or investing in a hobby, for example. This newfound free time in the first few years of retirement is liberating and is what I would call the honeymoon phase of retirement. It is meant to be enjoyed but at some point, you will settle into a daily routine, so decisions on how to spend your time is something that should be discussed and planned for.
As a wealth advisor, I am always looking for ways to help my clients not only plan financially for retirement but to help guide them through the process of planning for changes that will occur in their daily lives. I recently read a study done by the Journal of Financial Planning that examined how retirees derive the most happiness from their daily activities.
Not surprisingly, the research found that retirees who are active, whether that be walking, exercising, socializing or volunteering, report being the happiest. So, how do you optimize your newly found free time to include these sorts of activities to ensure you have the quality of life you have so carefully planned for?
Here are some things to think about as you transition into your new beginning as a retiree:
- Make a schedule, but not as regimented as when you were working. Rather than looking at an hour by hour list of activities, look at a daily or weekly list of things you want to accomplish. This will give you framework to be active and productive without feeling too confined. Three to four regular activities are a good amount to aim for. Then, you can increase or decrease your activities from there.
- Limit your screen time. Just like everyone else who has some extra time on their hands, the temptation is there to binge watch television, surf the internet and end up wasting a good chunk of time in passive activities that, according to the study cited above, could lead to a reduction in happiness.
- Talk to your spouse or significant other. How much time do you want to spend together doing activities and how much time would you like to have to spend doing things you enjoy on your own or with other friends?
- If you have hobbies you know will require a financial outlay for things like club membership dues, greens fees and the like, make sure to enter those into the mix in your budget. Same with any major trips you would like to take.
- Keep an open mind to new opportunities. Plans and interests will change as you settle into this new phase of your life. Seek purpose in your daily activities and look for ways you can engage in your community. Much like when you started your career as a young adult, all the answers aren’t figured out on day one. Take time to explore your options and enjoy the new opportunities as they unfold. Don’t feel badly if it takes a year or more to feel like you are settling into and embracing your new beginning.
BerganKDV has a team of financial advisors who can help you navigate all areas of your financial life as you prepare for, enter into and live in retirement. Want to learn more about what we can do for you? Start here.
The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation.
The views expressed are those of BerganKDV Wealth Management. They are subject to change at any time. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other firm. Investment advisory services and fee-based planning offered through BerganKDV Wealth Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.