When you were in high school, you most likely had some adult tell you, “Just wait until you get out into the real world. Things are going to be different.”
That statement alone didn’t tell you how things were going to be different in the working world. But it let you know, to successfully transition to the next chapter of your life, you were going to have to prepare yourself to succeed and get ready for change.
It’s similar for transition into retirement.
When thinking ahead to those years, people tend to focus on the money side of things. While this is important, they may not have thought through how their daily life is going to change as they graduate out of the working world.
Financial advisor Brian Haney has seen three areas of life that people should be thinking about before they retire, but often don’t. As a result, their transition into this new phase of life doesn’t go as smoothly as they would like.
Here are three questions to ask yourself.
1. What will your week look like?
It’s easy to think you’ll be happy to wake up each morning with no plan for the day. A few of those are fine, but suddenly living without structure can bring on all kinds of unwelcome emotions.
Haney writes, “We don’t realize just how accustomed we are to a week that is predominantly planned for us.”
His advice is to create a sample weekly schedule, detailing what a typical week is going to look like. This is especially important for couples who may have different expectations.
2. How will you deal with all your “stuff”?
It’s easy to accumulate unneeded things, especially if you have lived in the same house for more than a few years. But as you enter retirement and are considering all your options for this new phase of life, having a bunch of “stuff” can be anything from a nuisance to a liability.
Haney says that you need to ask yourself, “Do I really need this anymore?”
A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it or worn it in a year, give yourself permission to let it go. And let someone else enjoy it.
3. What happens when this “vacation” stops feeling like a vacation?
Many people assume that retirement will be nonstop golf, travel, and entertainment—all the things they put off while working.
Hopefully, you will be able to do many things you never had the time to do before. But Haney says that for many people the fun “vacation feeling” soon wears off. When you’ve got a job, a vacation is out of the ordinary.
“However,” says Haney, “when the escape becomes permanent, it loses its luster.”
To answer these three questions you need to think seriously about how you are going to spend your time in retirement.
Be prepared with a plan. And be ready for change.
And have FUN!