How will I fill the hours, days, and weeks in retirement

In the 10 – 15 years prior to retirement the sense of urgency in answering questions about retirement increases creating another commonly asked question as people near retirement.

Personal choice drives the answer to this question.

A simple way to give your self some starting clues is to ask yourself these questions.

  1. How do I currently spend my free time?

2. How often do I plan on travelling to see friends and family?

3 .Will holidays be part of the plan?

And ask yourself do I want to fully retire, semi retire or begin a new income earning venture by becoming my own boss or maybe volunteer for a cause I believe in? There are options available to each of us.

Populations in developed nations now have a greater life expectancy. This will also influence what we do in retirement. If we retire at 65 years most of us can expect to spend at least twenty, if not thirty years in retirement. With advancements in medicine and it’s associated therapies we can expect to maintain better health for longer. Hence, how are we going to fill the hours, the days and the weeks in retirement? Some people say there is time for a whole new life after retiring. Other people think you are old if you reach the biblical three score and ten years of life i.e., 70 years of age.

People look forward to retiring because it is a time for taking things easy and having time to pursue, hobbies or interests. Most people think of retirement activities as being recreational. That is mostly true. A retired person now has flexibility to spend time in artistic, sporting or creative interests. Other retirees find intrinsic reward in being involved in volunteer organisations, especially if it is a cause, they strongly believe in. For example, animal care, politics, improving the environment. Travel can be a significant plan in retirement. An opportunity to see the world or revisit places from earlier travels. Travel can also be important to stay connected with other family members who live some distance from you.

After maintaining good health, having some money put aside for later years, creating a purpose for the next phase of life is really important. Often people retire without a life plan. This is where disappointment and despondency can creep in to a person’s life. Usually after the first twelve months of having time to enjoy coffee with friends, engage in chosen recreational activities or travel retirees find it isn’t enough to give them meaning to their life. The word recreation has in it re-create AND that is what we have to do is re-create a meaningful life for yourself and those you love.

I think of John who retired at 60 years of age from a corporate job. He had sufficient retirement savings but had not thought through what life after the farewell party might look like. Within 12 months he was back working for his old firm but on terms he created, short term contracts, flexibility with hours spent at work each week etc. Another client of mine, Gary, retired at 65 years and had planned to play golf three times a week. In less than six months he was struggling. His wife was unhappy having him underfoot all day and Gary began to wonder if they might end up divorced.  He and his wife were both healthy and had sufficient funds for a quality retirement but needed to learn how to communicate effectively with each other all over again. Gary did not return to part time work but was able to talk to his wife about his dreams and plans without the fear of being unheard.

The importance for planning with clarity to transform your life from full time work to a happy, meaningful retirement is more than possible. It can be difficult to visualise what the next twenty years ahead might look like. Start with small steps but do begin to plan, write your ideas down and keep them in a safe place.

Engaging a professional to assist you with some of the bumpy patches ahead will be so beneficial for you. Most people wouldn’t dream of trying to create some wealth for retirement without the assistance of a wealth manager or a financial planner. As you are more than likely to have ‘another new life’ for twenty or more years it will be time well spent planning for that next phase of life.

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About Estelle Kelly

Estelle Kelly ACC is an Associate Certified Coach member of the International Coach Federation. Estelle has over twenty years of experience in the education and welfare sectors, and specialises in coaching her clients towards a happy and successful retirement.