As financial planners, our job is often seen as helping people navigate through the financial aspect of retirement. However, we are the first to admit that your money is simply the tool to help put you in position for a fulfilling, meaningful and successful retirement. Therefore, your nest egg is only one critical part -- there's more to it.
With advances in medicine, technology and awareness in health, nutrition and fitness, people are simply living longer. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is age 78 which is up almost 10 years since the 1960s. The average retirement lasts 18 years, and it is not uncommon for people to live to age 90-100 which could put the length of retirement up to a whopping 30-40 years!
People often think about retirement as a chance to get out of the job they’re in, but we find it surprising how little people actually think about how they will actually fill their time in retirement. When we ask the question, we often hear things like "I'll play more golf, sit on the beach, relax." While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those things, allow us to suggest viewing retirement as a second wind. A fresh start. A new you.
A recent study surveyed both active retirees who engaged in over 10 activities on a regular basis versus a group of non-active retirees who engaged in less than 5 activities on a regular basis. With the group that was active, 75% reported being “very satisfied” with their retirement life, while less than 50% of the non-active group said they were very satisfied. This suggests fulfillment comes from finding ways to fill your time with activities that bring meaning and purpose.
Some choose to remain at the company they retired from, in a different role, or with scaled back hours. Others pursue volunteer opportunities at their local charity. There are a myriad of benefits to this, but we’ll point out just 2.
- People need you. You have built up an entire lifetime of knowledge and wisdom. Something that can only come with time and experience. Where you choose to use your skills in retirement will be invaluable to the organization and individuals who will ultimately benefit.
- You need them. Keeping your brain active and engaged is imperative to a long and prosperous retirement. Most experts believe that brain power is “use it or lose it”. In other words, the more you stay engaged, the longer you’ll preserve the power of your brain.
So what should you do in retirement?
Start by asking yourself a few questions: What are you interested in? What are you passionate about? What will provide that feeling of contentment when you put your head on the pillow each night?
You see, in your retirement years, if you've properly saved and mapped out a retirement plan, you have the benefit of knowing your nest egg is there. You have financial security on your side. You’re no longer confined to your job because you have bills to pay. This puts you in the drivers seat. In our working years, many of us are focused on providing for ourselves and our family while paying down debt and building wealth. In retirement, you can change your focus to engaging in activities which bring you joy, fulfillment, and where you can make the most lasting impact for yourself and your community.
For retirees, the future is now. Now you can completely shift your attention to what it is that drives you, to what you are passionate about to your core. The fabric of our beings are woven in such a way to drive purpose and conviction and now you can follow this wholeheartedly with all of the time in the world. You can wake up each day and ask yourself, "how will I achieve my purpose today?" This is living in retirement. This is what it means to retire well. This is what a fulfilling retirement looks like. This... is the new you!