Last month we talked about some practical summer planning ideas: more nuts and bolts. This month, we look at some aspects of the more touchy-feely side of planning. It’s important to remember, financial planning is not just about accumulating money; it’s also about what you want to do with your money, both now and in the future.
What we’ve witnessed over years of assisting clients prepare financially for retirement, is that a life of leisure can lose its luster after a year or two. Finding purpose in retirement – whether that’s earning money doing something you’ve always wanted to do, starting your own business, helping a child with their business, or volunteering with an organization close to your heart – may be where you’ll find meaning or greater fulfillment in this stage of life.
As you approach retirement, sit down with your spouse or a trusted friend and talk about the realities of retirement. How do you want to spend your time on a day-to-day basis? Write down what you want your retirement to look like, include both the bucket list items (see below) and the mundane, and keep this in mind as you plan both financially and mentally/emotionally for your first day of retirement.
Whether as a part of the retirement realities above, or simply adding more, well, planning to your recreation, creating a Bucket List (or a Challenge List – see our January 2022 blog) is a good idea. It may seem a bit corny, but just like in your financial life, there is value in intentionality as you travel and experience life outside of work. Once you create an initial list, instead of asking the question of your family: “What do you want to do for vacation this year?”, you simply go to your list and discuss which item(s) you want to cross off this time. It can change the whole conversation.
Finally, when we spend time with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and close friends, we teach them things every second we’re together. This could be about fishing, nature, and animals, or even just how we communicate with and treat others. As you consider your estate planning items (see last month’s blog), this is a reminder to also consider what sort of legacy outside of the financial that you’d like to leave. We suggest writing what we refer to as an “ethical will.” This is a letter to your loved ones expressing your wishes for them and lessons you hope to pass along. And after you write this letter, start passing along these words of wisdom and blessing on to your loved ones now.
These are obviously all larger questions that may require years to figure out. But at some level these are perfect things to consider on a nice summer day: looking at the future and planning for what you want your retirement to look like and what you want to pass on to future generations. Your view of these may and probably will change over the years, but that’s part of what makes life an ongoing adventure.