The beginning of retirement can be a pretty strange period of life. You’ve spent the last 20 to 40 years in working mode, and then all of a sudden it stops. It’s quite the adjustment, and a lot of retirees that we hear from can get unpleasantly surprised when they get to this stage of their life. It’s actually the best stage of life, but only if you prepare for it the right way. It’s more than just money – that’s obviously a very crucial part of retirement planning – but there are people who have all the money they need, but they’re still not happy.
So let’s use this time to just think ahead and not get caught off guard as we move forward in life. I’m going to share just two things with you.
Spending Your Savings in Retirement
The number one thing is, it may be hard to spend your retirement savings. When I tell people this they think: maybe for that person, but not for me. I’m going to have no problem spending my money in retirement. Then they retire, and they realize it’s harder than it seems – especially in the beginning.
Well, why doesn’t anybody talk about this feeling then? Your retired friends might not be talking about it because a lot of us don’t talk much about money with friends. You might also have a feeling that, if you brought this up, you might be judged a little bit or thought of differently by a friend. You say to someone, “I’ve got this money, but I’m afraid to spend it.” If they’re still working they might be thinking, “Oh, big problem for you to not be able to spend your own money.”
Don’t feel bad if you are feeling this. It’s a habit you’ve developed over the last 40 years. Every time we think about retirement, it has always been equivalent to savings. Retirement is accumulation, retirement is building the nest egg, and now it’s not that any more – it’s spending. It’s hard to break habits, especially one that’s been cemented into our normal everyday life, and really for the last 40 years. It takes conscious effort.
One of the things that help with this is just regular reviews of your plan. If you can look at these what-if scenarios like what if I spent an extra 20K on vacations each year, how does that impact the plan? Or what if we gave a bigger-than-normal gift to charity, how does that impact the plan? How does the decision that we make today impact the long-term plan? That’s a really important thing for our clients at Streamline, having that 10 out of 10 confidence in their financial decisions so that they can feel good about taking the whole family on a trip and spending that amount of money instead of feeling anxious or worried if they made the right decision.
Spending Your Time in Retirement
The obvious part of retirement is that you’re going to have a lot more time available than you’ve been having, and we know that time is more valuable than money, but only if the time is spent on things that we truly want to be doing.
You may have heard about the five stages of retirement – the first one is the honeymoon phase, and during that phase, you could pretty much do anything. You could sit on the porch and drink lemonade. You could golf 180 days straight the day after you retire and you’d be loving it.
However, what I’ve heard from people who have done this before is that there comes a point where all of a sudden, that golf starts to feel less exciting. So what’s the solution to spending time in the best possible way for you? I’ll give you two resources and then I’ll give you a way to filter what you do in a week so that you can increase your happiness with how you’re spending your time.
The first thing is a mindset that is important for retirement, and it’s the beginner’s mind. The next thing is five journal prompts to think about and write your answers to.
Three Things to Guide You
As for the filter to run through all these possible things that you can do in retirement and how are you going to live your retirement and what are you going to do with your time? Try to find these three things each week: creativity, connection, and contribution.
Creativity could also mean curiosity. We want to be able to have ideas, read new things that are interesting, spark new pathways in our brains, and create. As for connection, we were also meant to have connection with people and some kind of spirituality – whatever that means for you. Lastly, contribution; you’ve contributed your whole career. You were helping others, whether it was patients or clients or customers, or your team members. If that goes away all of a sudden when you’re done working, there’s going to be a void at some point in the future that you’re going to feel.
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Disclosures: Securities offered through LaSalle St. Securities LLC (LSS), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through LaSalle St. Investment Advisors LLC (LSIA), a Registered Investment Advisor. Streamline Financial Services is not affiliated with LSS or LSIA. LSS is affiliated with LSIA.