Written by Nathan Munt – Independent Financial Planner

When you sit down and think about the answer to this question, it isn’t quite as simple as you might think. Some people will freely tell you they are happily retired. Others will say that they don’t feel like they have ever stopped working. The important thing to realise is that the answer to this question is relative, your retirement should be tailored to your own circumstances and lifestyle.

Most people equate retirement planning with a pension, the value they have in a pension pot and/or the size of the income they can secure. While a retirement without money is not what you will want to be targeting, focusing exclusively on the money is missing the bigger picture, and the two go hand in hand. By having a clear idea of what you want in your retirement and what’s important to you, it’s then much easier to determine how much is enough to support this lifestyle and ultimately, what plan you need in place to ensure you retire comfortably.

I would encourage you to begin with taking the time to think about more than just the money.


What do you want to do in retirement?

Retirement is all about freedom and hopefully this will be both financial and non-financial. Some embrace this freedom and transition into retirement seamlessly. For others, retirement brings about significant change from the many hours spent at work, which can take time to adapt to.

To enjoy a successful retirement beyond work, you need to find productive ways to fill your newfound free time. Busy retirees tend to be happier retirees and engaging in regular hobbies, groups or social events will provide an important sense of purpose. This is a challenge commonly faced by many of our ageing retirees, who overtime can begin to feel isolated and removed from society.

Before retirement it’s worth exploring different hobbies and activities that you have wanted to try to find out what appeals to you.


How long do you expect to work?

More and more people are finding themselves working in retirement. Unfortunately for some, this will be a necessity, but many others are choosing to continue working, even just part-time, beyond their intended retirement age.

Many studies have shown that those who continue to work voluntarily are much happier in retirement. There are many reasons why this can have such a positive impact on your retirement, and it’s not just the extra money in your pocket. Similar to taking up hobbies, work keeps you active and healthy. Most jobs will also provide plenty of opportunities for social interaction and a continued sense of purpose.

The important thing to remember here is that the choice to continue working must be yours. You can choose to remain in your present role, maybe on a part-time basis, if you love what you do. Otherwise, why not consider pursuing a new challenge entirely?


Where are your friends and family?

Do you want to spend more time closer to your friends and family? It’s not unusual for families to shift geographically over many years and with grandchildren in the picture, it may be that you are no longer near loved ones. You may want to be nearer to your children as they start to raise their own family, perhaps caring for your grandchildren from time to time. You may want to be nearer to your children to provide comfort knowing they are on hand to support you later in life. You may not want the burden of running a large home and would prefer to downsize.

Clearly there is an extensive list of questions you can ask yourself before you retire. If you can prioritise asking yourself some of the main questions in advance of retirement, this will give you the opportunity to develop a real picture of what you want. With an end goal in mind, you then have something real to aim for.


Important information

This is solely for informational purposes and nothing in it is intended to constitute advice or a recommendation. You should not make any investment decisions based on this content. 

While considerable care has been taken to ensure this information is accurate and up-to-date, no warranty is given as to its accuracy

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