By Megan Giles: Retirement Transition Consultant
This is a great quote which made me pause and think about the things that I truly want to do and achieve in the coming year. It was also a timely quote to come across given that a new year has just begun. So what might this mean for you in retirement?
If you are retired or have spoken with friends who have retired, you quickly learn that there is more to retirement planning than just your superannuation balance. Without a doubt good, robust financial planning is critical to positioning yourself for greatest flexibility in deciding how and when you will retire, but the health and wellbeing elements are just as vital. The research also backs this up with findings demonstrating that preparing psychologically and emotionally for retirement leads to increased life satisfaction. By that I mean things like spending time with the people whose company you enjoy and feel energised by, doing the activities that bring you joy and fulfilment (as well as the non-negotiables we all have to do) and looking after your mind and your body so that you can do the things you want to do.
The risk for those who fail to give much thought to the non-financial aspects of retirement planning is that they can start to feel a little adrift once the honeymoon period is over. There’s a feeling that ‘something’ is missing.
So why not take a few moments at the beginning of the year (now!) to focus on what will be important to you and what you’d like to change or improve in the coming year. From a wellbeing perspective, what will enable you to look back in twelve months and confidently say you enjoyed a year that was fulfilling and meaningful to you?
Not sure how to do this? Why not start by considering key aspects of health and wellbeing using the questions below. Be brave and respond to each question honestly because when you clearly understand what’s important to you and what you’d like to be better, you can then take focused action to bring those intentions to life.
1. Your physical health
- In what way would you like to be physically healthier at the end of the year?
- What is one specific daily action or choice you can make to improve your health?
2. Your relationship health
- What will it look like in December if your relationship has strengthened?
- What is one action you can take on a regular basis to better connect with your significant other?
3. Your financial health
- How would you describe your knowledge of your financial position?
- What steps can you take to increase your financial confidence and feel more optimistic about your future and your ability to achieve a fulfilling life in retirement?
4. Your emotional health
- The words I wish to use to describe my retirement are….
- The one thing that would make the biggest positive difference to the way I feel about my circumstances is…
5. Your social health
- In what ways would you like to better connect with the people and/or community around you?
- What is one way you are going to reach out and interact with a new person or group in the next month?
- Who is one person that you are going to reconnect with in the coming year?
6. Your intellectual health
- What is one key thing you would like to learn in the coming year?
- What skill or expertise would you like to pass on to someone else?
Deciding to make a change can be challenging for some, but sticking it even more difficult. As such the questions above have been designed to encourage you to consider your big picture goals and then articulate realistic steps that you can take to start bringing those to life.
Start small. Your goals may only require small actions on a day-to-day basis but imagine how you will feel and what your retirement will look like at the end of the year when your changes have become a reality. Possibilities abound!
Looking for some inspiration? Here are some examples of what others sought to achieve last year?
- Learn and instrument - actually play that saxophone that I was gifted 20 years ago!
- Complete the Mothers Day fun run with the grandkids (even if I can't run the whole way)
- See a specialist for a long overdue skin check
- Get to know the neighbours in our new apartment block
If you enjoyed this article you may also like to read Health Focus: How your GP can help as you prepare for life in retirement and 4 People to see to plan for retirement.
To better understand how prepared you are for retirement, why not download the Retirement Planning Questionnaire?
It's more than just a quiz, it's an action-focused tool that will help you take action today (not wait until the day you retire!) to create a retirement that you will love to live!