The conversation surrounding the transition to retirement is often limited to its financial aspects. While finances are certainly a big part of the retirement equation, other non-financial considerations should not be neglected. For most, a job is more than just a means to a financial end, but something providing purpose and a sense of belonging in the world. If you worked most of your life, the transition away from something so important to your sense of self can be psychologically challenging. If you are on the cusp of, or already in, retirement, below are a few tips to ease the transition and hopefully make it more rewarding.
Lower Your Expectations
While retirement can be a joyous time of life, you must also moderate your expectations. We are all guilty of building up future events in our minds to a point where they are guaranteed to disappoint, and I contend retirement is one of those events. It is ok to be excited about the freedom retirement will afford, but understand that it will have its negatives, just like most things in life.
Develop Non-Financial Goals
Just as we spend a lot of time goal setting and planning for the financial aspects of retirement, we should do the same for the non-financial aspects. For many, a job is a large part of their identity and fulfills that sense of purpose, so filling the void left by retirement can be a tremendous challenge. To begin the process of filling that void, ask yourself the following questions: Are there other opportunities you always wanted to do but making money superseded those pursuits? Are there charitable and volunteer opportunities that could not fit into a busy work schedule now possible? Are there physical fitness goals you always wanted to achieve but were too exhausted from work to pursue? Whatever your goals are, make sure this part of your retirement transition is well thought out.
Have a Written Plan of Action
Whatever your personal goals are, developing a written plan of action is vital. By developing and writing down this detailed plan, you gain focus and clarity about the future, and your goals move from abstract ideas to something tangible and doable. In addition, try sharing your plans with friends and family as they can be excellent sources of encouragement and accountability as you move into this next stage of life. With a few simple steps, you can make retirement as good as advertised!
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Marshall Clay CFP, J.D., is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, which specializes in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters.
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