You’ve spent years in anticipation of retirement – now that it’s around the corner, it’s time to realize there’s more to retirement planning than just financial security. If you’re only saving for basic living expenses once you retire, then you may want to revisit your plan. Retirement should allow you to pursue your interests and dreams. Take the time to sit down and decide whether or not you are saving enough to fully embrace life after work.
Consider this: the average Canadian now lives to about 80 according to Statistics Canada. That means you’ll have between 15 and 20 years outside of full-time employment. That’s a lot of time and you want to make sure you’re prepared financially to enjoy yourself, not just live day by day.
Ask yourself a few key questions to help you decide whether you’re on the right track to make the most of the rest of your life after retirement:
How will you spend your time?
Looking at retirement as an extended holiday might work for a while – but don’t leave yourself open to boredom. Are there any new skills you want to learn? Or passions you have not had time to pursue because of your work schedule? Taking a course or signing up for lessons to learn a new skill can not only add some structure to life post-retirement, it can help you find inspiration in something new.
Where do you want to live?
This is something you want to consider before you retire. If you plan to divide your time between cottage and city or, say, Florida and Canada then some up-front financial planning can help you determine what’s realistic and how to make it happen. While you might not have enough money to buy that beachfront condo in Sarasota, you could set aside money to rent your dream place for a few months every winter.
Am I ready to stop working?
If you’re nervous about taking a giant leap into retirement, try baby steps instead. Talk to your employer about shifting to part-time in order to make the transition easier. Or, there may be opportunities for contract or freelance work, either with your employer or someone else – keep an open mind. You may still have your best work years ahead of you.