As you’re thinking about retirement, you’re probably focused on finances and making sure that you’re doing the right things to ensure you make wise money decisions. That’s key, but there are a few other skills we’ve seen successful retirees develop that truly helped them achieve that security and the fulfillment that they’re looking for. In this post, I’m going to go over the top five skills you should know about and practice in your retirement years.

Skill #1: The Ability To Deal With Uncertainty

Much of what we do for clients is design secure retirement plans that are prepared for the unexpected, but that doesn’t mean that the unexpected things aren’t going to happen. Whether it’s health-related, stock market- or economy-related, or family issues, we can be certain that there’s going to be uncertainty. Developing the skill of working through uncertainty is very important.

We’ve seen firsthand some of the worst decisions people make is when uncertainty and emotions are high and I don’t blame them. It’s difficult to think strictly logically during times of uncertainty and high emotion. But when uncertainty happens, make sure you have a retirement plan B that considers different scenarios before they happen. Now, we don’t know what the actual scenarios are going to be, but we do know that something could happen. Having a plan that shows worst case or plan B is really helpful during those uncertain times.

Skill #2: Relationship Building

Loneliness can be pretty damaging to our health, even for us introverts. If you have your significant other or family, then you can keep in touch with them, and that’s great. But also think about friends. For much of our careers, it’s normal for us to lose touch with some of our old friends. Now that you’re closer to retirement, see if you can reach out and reconnect and see where it goes. We have two clients of Streamline that were best friends in their early twenties and then they lost touch for about 30 years. Now they’re in their late fifties and they’re just reconnecting in the last year or so. They’re having so much fun together and wish they had never fallen out of touch.

Skill #3: Financial Mastery

If you’re not working with a wealth management team and you’re doing it yourself, then you should continually study up on three areas:

  • Retirement Income Planning and Withdrawal Strategy
    • Withdrawal strategy relates to different accounts; when you’re going to take out of each one and how much. This can save you thousands on taxes.
  • Investment Strategy
    • Make sure you’re prepared for whatever economic season comes next. And as a side note, due to inflation, cash might not mean that you’re prepared.
  • Tax Planning
    • This is not just looking backwards and doing your taxes correctly. It’s really looking forward to this year and then the following years to see if there’s any tax saving strategies you can take advantage of.

If you are working with a wealth management team, then your skill will be more of the CEO role. The wealth management team is like the CFO of the family, making sure that everything’s working for you. However, you still need to be involved. An easy way to do this is to have your online dashboard so you can see your total financial life just on one page. It’s a great way to have a quick weekly or monthly check, in between regular check-ins with the financial team.

Skill #4: The Ability to Relax

You might think relaxing is not a skill, but there is a segment of our clients and people that we know who feel like they always have to be doing something. They’re not happy just relaxing. So, they continue to work not realizing that there might be some things they could be doing now, that they’re not able to do while they’re working, that would actually bring them more fulfillment and joy. This leads into our last skill to develop.

Skill #5: Introspection

Rediscover your next purpose and passion. Retirement could be the time where you have the most money you ever had, the most time you’ve ever had, and the most wisdom you’ve ever had. All these combined means you have a great chance to make an impact on others for good. It takes some self-reflective time to rediscover your strengths. I love the strengths finders quiz that you could find online; I think it might be 10 bucks. Also, take some time to think through what you love to do. If you can combine strengths, your passions, and what the world needs more of, that’s a recipe for living a fulfilling life in retirement.