You may be wondering what I am talking about… “what non-money stuff could possibly be as important as the real money stuff?”
Well, let me start with my top three:
- You have been working for the past X years (and possibly your spouse too). Up until now, you left for work in the morning, came home in the evening and on weekends — and if lucky, got to spend a few weeks a year on vacation with your significant other. Guess what?? You are now going to be spending 24/7 with your loved one for the rest of your life!! Are you up for this? Have you even discussed this? I know you love each other but…
- After X years going to work 40+ hours a week and 200 days a year, you have established a pretty solid social network with your work colleagues and friends. Guess what?? You have to rebuild (at least to some extent) a new social network. Sure, there may be some crossover but your old colleagues haven’t retired yet, so they can’t come out and play!
- You were a teacher, a tradesman, a lawyer, a (fill in the blank) — now what are you? A RETIRED teacher, tradesman, lawyer, etc……..This doesn’t change who you really are inside, but many people struggle with their own identity during this transition. Don’t avoid it….it’s real! Talk about it with others who have retired and have them share their experiences.
Life after work can be glorious — but the non-money stuff will take as much care and preparation as everything else. A few suggestions:
- As stated above, seek out a friend who has already retired. Ask her what she would do differently? What was the biggest surprise? The biggest disappointment?……and so forth.
- Make solid plans for what you are going to do post-transition. Do you have a trip planned? A project around the house? A part-time job doing something you love (like one of your hobbies)? The retirement vacuum that occurs when you suddenly have an open day — like every day — is a void that is asking for trouble. We have seen unprepared retirees suffer from boredom, declining health and even depression if they have not thought the “after” part through thoroughly.
- Have a conversation with your spouse about what THEIR schedule is when you retire — they may not want to spend every minute with you since they already have their own days laid out (even though I am sure you are a joy to be around)!
- Stop looking backwards!! Even if you wanted to change anything that led up to your glorious retirement day, you couldn’t. Start looking forward and thinking about what you are retiring TO (not FROM)!
Remember this grasshopper: Retirement is not the end of the book, but merely turning the page to the next chapter!