Working roughly 40 hours a week for the last 40 or so years can certainly cause one to dream of the day when retirement means not having to do anything. But for some, adjusting to not having a routine is much more difficult than they thought it would be. For the first few months, it can be freeing to have every day to yourself. But at some point, reality can set in, and that initial freedom can turn to boredom.
When we leave the workforce, many of our familiar routines and relationships suddenly disappear. How do we make sure our lives in retirement are just as fulfilling as our working lives were?
Donate Your Extra Time
With the free time we now must fill after retirement, we can start to work on some of those other passions that have been brewing for years but unfortunately got sidelined because there simply wasn’t enough time in the day. Weaving in time for the things that we are passionate about is always time well spent. Also, think about causes or organizations that you have always wanted to support more. Maybe you can give back by volunteering on a board or being part of a project that would not have been possible during the working years. I believe that we all need to incorporate these aspects of retirement into our plans because the way we will spend our time can affect the way we utilize our financial resources.
For some, transitioning out of the workforce might initially be feasible. For most people, though, this may not be an option or even desirable. If you work a regular eight-to-five job, you will likely work full-time until the day you retire. If you own a business, you may have more flexibility; for instance, you could choose to work only two or three days a week for the last several years, gradually becoming less involved in the business until you decide it’s time to step out completely. The objective, regardless of the chosen path, is to live a long and fulfilling life throughout one’s retirement.
Another equally important factor most don’t thoroughly explore is where to live during retirement. For most of us, during the working years, our jobs and careers largely dictate where we live. After retirement, family and friends play a bigger role. You’ll also need to think about the tax and financial implications, and living near the resources you will need, such as medical facilities and shopping. You will likely need to hire help to assist with chores that you used to do yourself, such as cleaning and mowing the lawn. Where you choose to put down roots will have a big impact when it comes to the challenges you will need to manage during the different phases of retirement.
Retirement is complex and multifaceted. I believe that we all need to plan and think about the question of how we will spend our time, as specifically as possible. When we do not have meaningful activities to fill our days, we can become bored and listless. Stress is not an inherently bad thing; we need a certain amount of positive stress (“eustress”) in our lives; this is the feeling of thriving and being engaged in life. Think of it as the feeling of being enthralled in a rousing sporting event or movie. If you didn’t have to work today, what would you be doing instead?
Here to Help
I believe that the more specifically we can answer the question of how we will spend our retirement, even years or decades down the road, the better we can see what we need to prioritize today. Our firm is based on our relationship with our clients, plain and simple. We’re here to work with you at every juncture in life. To get started, schedule a free introductory meeting online, call (248) 220-4321, or email me at email@example.com.
Justin Williamson is a senior partner and co-owner of Center for Wealth Management, an independent, fee-based wealth management company in Troy, Michigan. Justin has been serving clients in the financial services industry since 2001. He spends his days helping his clients achieve their financial goals and make the best decisions for their families so they can spend time on what they love and experience financial peace of mind. Justin is known for his dedication, integrity, personal touch, and ability to simplify complex issues. Justin specializes in serving engineers and other professionals who are close to retirement or recently retired and helping them maximize their benefits and create a retirement plan they can rely on. He is a seasoned public speaker and presents at numerous corporate events each year on retirement planning, Medicare, Social Security, and other financial topics. Justin has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration majoring in Personal Financial Planning from Central Michigan University and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.
Outside of work, Justin enjoys spending time with his family. He lost his wife of 18 years, Heather, to brain cancer in 2020. He and his son, Carter, and twin daughters, Jaden and Kelsey, work to honor her and make her proud each day. Outside of work, you can usually find him coaching baseball, softball, and basketball, and spending time at their family cabin at Higgins Lake. Learn more about Justin by connecting with him on LinkedIn.