What will retirement look like?

Women at retirement party

Act 2.5 is the ideal time to start thinking about your retirement. It is a great opportunity to consider your initial dreams and priorities. We do have many choices today. So there is no need to put out the sign that says “gone fishing.”

Be sure to first reflect on and celebrate your past achievements. Take the time to be clear about what you will be leaving behind. This is not to raise doubt but to help set your goals. I’d like to think of this as creating your post career map! There will be many new decisions to make, which may be as simple as purchasing a laptop PC or printer with scanning capability for your home.

No doubt this will be a significant life change and the more you know in advance the easier it will be to adjust. Some of my friends have found their greatest struggle was to develop a social network outside of their work. Fitness, sports (golf, running, swimming, etc.) and community activities are available but it will be important to reach-out to find the best fit for you.

When we choose to retire it does not mean that we want to withdraw from our active work and social life. That said we will need to re-imagine a new way forward. Most articles on this topic begin with financial planning. This will definitely be important, as well as acknowledging what personal issues you may have put aside. You may find that your home needs improvements, and that you have to find new healthcare providers, insurances or you need to buy a new car.

Many of our peers tell us, once they stop working they not only have to adjust to a change of schedule, but also a change of environment. Their children have moved on so they sell their home, and relocate which brings many new experiences. Instead of waiting to retire, I recommend you continue to create new experiences, develop your interests and expand your life now. Here are some inspirational ideas from Curry Glassell, author, speaker and philanthropist:

Pursue a dream: Many of us pursued the careers and opportunities that were made available to us when we were young – whether that be a corporate career, motherhood, trade or profession. If you had to forgo a personal dream to follow this path, then your retirement will be the perfect time to fulfill that inspired need. Ask yourself now, what did I give up earlier in life? Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and, vitally, never stop learning. These days, with online courses, you can learn and become anything you desire as we outlined in our article, Five Great Websites for Learning Something New.

Create: All of life is a creation in some respect and if you’re not creating, you’re not becoming your best. Ask yourself, how can I engage my creative energy? It may be painting, gardening, cooking, entrepreneurship or farming.

Use your skills in different ways: You cannot reach your 50s without gathering valuable experience, skills and expertise. Consider the ways that you can turn your skills into new endeavors. This may come in the form of consulting, mentoring or community work.

The important thing is to find a sense of joy, purpose, and meaning in your daily life. Find ways to contribute – firstly, to yourself and then, to others