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Putting yourself first in retirement

David Gray

How do you plan for a fulfilling retirement? Giving yourself time to reflect can take your retirement plan from good to great.

By David Gray, StatePlus Financial Planner

Often the first question that comes to mind when we think about retirement is: how much money will I need? Of course it’s important to think about your finances and to have a financial plan in place. But it’s difficult to know how much money you will need without first understanding what you want your retirement to be like. 

Happy retirees know what their money is for

As a financial planner I’m often asked questions such as: what will I do with my spare time? How will retirement affect my relationships? Will I get sick of my partner if we’re not working? What is my role now in society? What will my life be like? Will retirement make me old? 

In my experience, a clear idea of how you will spend your time in retirement is just as important as knowing you are financially secure. So where do you start?

Taking time to reflect is one of the best things you can do

Usually my clients have a rough idea about what they want to do, but no concrete plans. By taking time to map out your retirement, you can start to match your lifestyle goals with your financial needs. All you need is some time to think and maybe a cup of tea or a cold beverage.

Your Life List

Activities that bring us joy, social connection and a sense of purpose are key to living a happy and fulfilling retirement. Try this Life List exercise to help you get a clearer view of your retirement. Simply complete the statements for each decade of your retirement:

At 65 I want to:

  • Spend my week days…
  • Spend my weekends…
  • Look forward to…
  • Be able to…
  • Contribute to…
  • Have achieved…

The more detail you can get into the better. Not a words person? Create a vision board for yourself. Find pictures and images that resonate with you and put them together on a board or using your computer. Talk to your family and friends about your vision. Sharing with others can give you new insights and understanding into what you really want from retirement.

Look forward to retirement

A study done by the University of Queensland showed that over 60% of people feel happier in retirement. With the right planning, retirement can be something to look forward to rather than worry about.

Giving your retirement meaning is a fantastic motivator. And it gives you a focus to help you keep on track with your financial plans. So when you’re talking to professionals about your retirement, be sure they are on board with a whole of life approach. 

To get started, download our free Retirement guide or call us on 1800 620 305.

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