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Older Executive Woman Contemplating, perhaps about her plan for retirement.One in four people intend to retire in the next ten years, yet few have a plan for retirement which includes the non-financial aspects. As such, they do not have a clear idea of what their life in retirement will look like.

According to a recent survey, 53% of American retirees had done “hardly any” leisure time planning for the next twelve months. Further to that 77% reported they had done no planning for the next five years and 84% had not thought ten years ahead.

I don’t have time to plan for retirement!

You’re sick of deadlines, squeezing in gym sessions in your lunch break and doing housework on the weekends. Relaxing and taking it easy is what appeals to you. Without a doubt, a less structured life is one of the great benefits of saying goodbye to the nine-to-five.

You may also be thinking “I barely have time to plan our meals for the week, let alone my life in ten years’ time”. Most likely you know the goals of your kids, grandchildren and elderly parents, but as for your own dreams? You draw a blank …

Rest assured you’re not alone in not having a plan for retirement. But that doesn’t mean that planning is not important. With life expectancy on the increase, most of us can expect a retirement of 20-30 years in relatively good health. That’s another third of your life ahead of you. This is far too long to simply kick back on the recliner and navel gaze.

Without a plan for the social and well-being aspects of life after work, however, there are risks. These include drifting aimlessly, becoming isolated and getting cranky at the world. As such, retirement can become a long, lonely and bleak journey.

“Do one thing today that your future self with thank you for.” – Anonymous

Simple retirement planning action to take today

Creating a plan for retirement does not need to be a difficult or time-consuming activity. A great starting point is to grab a cup of coffee (or wine!), pen and paper, and a cozy spot.

Ask yourself a couple of key questions

  • How do I want to spend my days?
    • What interests and activities light me up (not how do I think I should be spending my days!)?
  • What does my significant other want out of retirement? Are our plans in sync?
  • Who do I want to spend my time with?
    • Who are the people that inspire me (not drain me)?
  • How do I want to be remembered by family, friends and the community around me?
  • Are there any non-negotiables that I need to consider? These might include caring for an elderly parent or living nearby to grandchildren?

What is the value of these few questions, you might ask? A recent client appreciated that she was forced to ponder things that she was trying to avoid. Namely the divergent views on retirement that her husband and she held. One she had her thoughts down on paper, they were then able to have a meaningful conversation. They explored how to build a retirement that was fulfilling to both of them.

Talk with your significant other

Most importantly, recognize that the transition into retirement rarely occurs in isolation to the goings-on around you. Talk with your significant other(s) about your dreams, including the fears and the possibilities. This might be your spouse, partner, family member or friend. Determine how you can support each other and ensure that your goals are in alignment for a retirement that you’ll love to live!

Megan Giles Retirement Transition Consultant supports those approaching retirement to successfully transition and create a retirement they will love to live! For more tips, advice and practical resources visit www.megangiles.com.

To truly rock your life after work, be inspired by the Rock Your Retirement podcast.