23rd March 2017 at 10:00am
Have you ever considered practising for a life after work?
Who wants to work all their life only to retire and realise what they thought would make them happy doesn’t? You might wish you’d tried it out first.
The dream factory
We all have romantic dreams of what retirement might be like. The word itself conjures up wonderful visions of being on holiday all the time. Sleeping late. Relocating. Finally having enough time to indulge in whatever hobby or interest catches your fancy.
However, a key mistake many potential retirees make is thinking about retirement only in financial terms, they think about how they are going to fund their new life and not how they’ll live it. Too many people spend years fine-tuning their retirement portfolios but neglect to think about important personal issues they will face, or how they will adapt.
A time of change
Retirement can bring a lot of change and some of it may not be to your liking. What if you move to that place you’ve always fancied only to discover it’s not what you thought? Or what if that hobby that always seemed appealing on paper is in reality a bind?
And going from working a full-time job to having nowhere specific that you “have” to be each day sounds fantastic, but some retirees may end up feeling bored and unproductive.
Being emotionally, as well as financially prepared, is just as important.
A smooth transition
A good way of smoothing this transition is by “practicing retirement”, it can act almost like a dress rehearsal for the big day.
And a good time to consider doing so is with five years to go.
Here are some simple ways you can dip your toes into this brave new world that awaits you:
- Travel more – if you envisage yourself heading off into the wild blue yonder regularly once you retire, then try getting away more often now. Even if it’s just short trips and not far, still do it. If you see yourself becoming a seasoned traveller then add a little early seasoning, it’s a great way seeing whether the wanderlust really suits you.
- Change your work hours – see if you can negotiate a more flexible working pattern. This could be working from home, working part time or even longer days with a day off. This is a nice way of mixing things up, letting you have less time in the work place and preparing you for what it will be like not being in a nine to five environment.
- Start that hobby now – think about taking up that hobby you plan to follow with a passion in your new life after work early. This way you’ll be able to establish if it’s worth pursuing or not. Also some hobbies require a cash injection to get started, be it lessons or equipment so it might be worth making that financial commitment before you stop working.
- Expand your social network – Currently your network of friends may well consist predominately of work colleagues. And there’s every chance once you retire they may well be still working, so now is a good chance to start expanding your social circle. It’s worth seeking out people who are already retired and doing activities you enjoy, like that new hobby for example. Good friends aren’t made overnight, it takes time to build a deep friendship, so start early.
- Suck it and see – are you planning on relocating when you retire? Yes, then there’s a good chance it will be to somewhere you’ve loved as a tourist, if this is the case then try spending four seasons in your retirement destination. It’s very different living in a tourist destination full time rather than just holidaying there. Instead of just spending prime times at your retirement dream spot, go in the off-season and see if you still like it.
- Test your retirement income – if you have an idea of what your planned income will be in retirement, test it out now. It’s a good way of understanding whether you could live on less and still enjoy retirement. See if you can reduce your monthly spending to mimic your retirement income and see how you go.
- Build that relationship – when you retire there’s every likelihood you and your nearest and dearest will be spending more quality time together. For years you may have been living a very routine-oriented life that revolved around family and work and that is all going to change. Rekindle that relationship, take some time now to find out what you like doing together.
Don’t fail to plan
Retirement planning should not be about planning for the beginning of the end, but for a new beginning, it’s about bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now. And personal exploration and experimentation should play a fundamental part.
The information in this blog or any response to comments should not be regarded as financial advice.