Five Things to Think About Before You Retire
From an article by Robert Laura in Forbes magazine
So often people think they enter a magical world once they retire … that everything is somehow going to be lovely because they’re no longer working. Make no mistake, though, retirement has a tendency to magnify who you already are and what you already do; you just have more time to think and stew about it. With 10,000 people retiring every day and hoping to make a smooth transition to the good aspects of that life (not just the financial aspect) I suggest every pre-retiree do these five impactful things:
1) Eat A Meal Good Enough To Be Your Last
This is something you can do whether you’re five, 10 or even 20 years away from retirement. Whether its lobster, filet mignon, or some other delicacy, make it an annual tradition to stimulate your taste buds in a way you’ll never forget. Post pictures of the meal online, acknowledging your fine company and those who helped prepare it. Think of it as a special time to celebrate and enjoy some of the finer things life has to offer.
2) Take Lots of Pictures
Two important aspects of retirement that often go unaddressed are staying socially connected and maintaining a strong network of friends. Study after study has shown that those who stay socially engaged with others and who have a strong network of friends that they can rely on, tend to outlive their peers. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to connect with old and new friends is through pictures. Simply ask for their email or Facebook id and offer to send them copies of photos or tag them in it. It’s a proven way to create lasting memories and friendships.
3) Establish Some Investment Beliefs
With the Presidential election heating up, more and more people are discussing their political and religious beliefs. You may consider yourself conservative or liberal, or you may side with the right or the left. Either way you have acquired a series of beliefs that guide your voting decisions. That should also be the case when it comes to money management and investing. Before you retire, reflect on past financial decisions you’ve made; what has worked and what hasn’t, then write down five beliefs you have about money and investing. Several years ago I developed an Investor Constitution that outlines my beliefs for investors – here’s three of my top five.
- Investors shall respectfully require each investment to have a specific purpose in their portfolio
- Investors shall not invest in something that cannot be easily monitored and explained
- Investors shall understand all of the fees and expenses associated with each investment, transaction, and professional service, and use that information to align themselves with services that best serve them.
4) Eliminate Stress
In my book Naked Retirement, I ask readers to assume they are celebrating their retirement on a wonderful Mediterranean cruise when suddenly they become stranded on a deserted island. Despite the situation, this becomes something of a big relief because now they don’t have to deal with _____________. It’s a quick and concise exercise that pinpoints an area of stress in your life you’d like to eliminate. Whether it’s a relationship, bad habit, financial commitment, or other situation, take steps to remedy it now rather than later. Seek out support from friends, or get help from a professional if necessary, but try not to drag any unnecessary stress or anxiety into retirement. If you don’t, you’ll just wind up with more free time to ponder and worry about it.
There are lots of things you can do to eliminate stress from your life, but it starts with identifying the cause and changing negative responses to them. Whether you overeat, binge drink, or avoid people, break major stress factors down into parts you can examine and then design a plan for change.
5) Create Healthy Habits
We’ve all heard that first we make our habits and then our habits make us. In retirement, nothing could be further from the truth. Remember, there is nothing magical about retirement. That means there’s no magic potion you drink daily that motivates you to work out or walk every morning. There’s no mystical maid who cooks healthy meals for you every day. Yet these are two routines retirees often talk about wanting to do once they retire. So instead of hoping healthy habits find you, start establishing them right now. If you’re plan is to walk every day, start now. If you hope to eliminate meat or gluten during retirement, get ready now so you can focus other things instead of constantly hoping for the motivation to exercise, or the inspiration to prepare healthy meals.
Combined these five steps can help you address mental, social, physical, and financial aspects that lead to a successfully transition into retirement.