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How to Plan for Your Retirement – Important First Steps

How to Plan for Your Retirement – Important First Steps

November 15, 2019

We regularly work with people who are planning for retirement. So, we find it interesting that the MIT Age-Lab recently asked individuals to provide five words for how they imagined their "life after career." Here are just a few of the most commonly uttered words:

Relax, Happy, Retirement, Travel, Freedom, Family, Success, Enjoy, Fun, Fulfilled, Security, Love, Work, Health, Stress-Free, Grandchildren, Comfortable, Money, Stability, Time, Volunteer

So, as you think of these words–planning for your own "life after career" – retirement, what words resonate most? How do you incorporate that into your planning? What decisions do you need to make first? A large part of the answer lies in your values, your perspective, and your expectations.


Knowing what you value in life is a great foundation for making decisions toward your retirement. For example, maybe you value more time with family or friends. Or, perhaps you might value creativity and the freedom to finally begin a new business. Maybe you value helping those you haven't had the time to assist during your working years–becoming a volunteer. Perhaps you're working in a career where you find you are valued and just don't want to quit. But, given time, it's likely that you'll need to move on. So, you might find a way to stick around to consult others in your field. And, you might continue to add value doing what you enjoy.


What is your perspective? Ever hear this… "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Quite often, a person's perspective on retirement comes from a lack of financial knowledge. So, if you are concerned about retirement, maybe it's time to take a fresh approach to thinking about it. Changing your perspective of "fear" into a knowledge-based perspective is one way to reduce the stress of the unknown. But, understanding how your financial life fits with your perspective is important. And, it influences your decision-making about retirement.


And finally, your expectations… How much time have you spent considering what to expect out of retirement? Have you considered some of the changes that will occur? For example, when you move from the camaraderie of the office to the quiet of your own home. How will you adjust without the relationships with co-workers? Matching your expectations to reality is often hard to do. Why is it so difficult? Because, most people haven't spent enough time thinking about what the day to day will look like in retirement. While financial planning is extremely important, planning for what to expect in retirement is nearly as important. Your emotional well-being is at the top of the checklist in retirement planning.

Lenity Financial, Inc.