I recently read that less than half of retirees, aged 50 and over, describe their retirement as “very satisfying”.¹ Additionally, this number is trending downward. In 1998, 60.5% of respondents reported “very satisfying” retirements. In 2012 that number dropped to 48.6%. This truly saddened me, as I believe that this stage of life offers incredible opportunity for meaning and fulfillment. Additional research is needed to more deeply explore the reasons behind this trend. In the meantime, I wanted to share three key tips that can help you to beat this trend.
- Create a plan well in advance
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” It is an abrupt change from working full-time to having the expanse of 24 hours a day at your fingertips. Once the glow of an extended vacation wears off, you may find yourself clamoring to find another job, if you haven’t decided in advance how you’d like to spend your time. While working in some capacity may be a part of that plan, let that be a conscious choice rather than a reaction to feeling at loose ends.
- Think holistically
Financial security is a critical factor in retirement preparedness. Yet, it is far from the only thing to take into consideration. As you create your plan, look at all aspects of your life. What is important to you? What provides meaning in your life? Where will there be opportunities for connection to others? How will you sustain your physical and mental capabilities? What hobbies might you want to pursue? How will you continue your personal development? How important is it to you to give back in some way?
Be sure to include your spouse or partner in your retirement planning. Do they work as well? When do you both want to be retired? What do you each want out of retirement? How can you work collaboratively to create a shared vision? What activities will you do together and where will you explore your interests on your own? How will you divide home related chores?
Be proactive and make this significant transition a rewarding and fulfilling next chapter in your life.
¹ Banerjee,S. (2016). Trends in retirement satisfaction in the United States: Fewer having a great time. EBRI Notes, 37(4), 1-16.