The word retirement conjures up different thoughts for each of us. Some think of growing old, others think of enjoying life in the sun. Some people think of the need to save money in pensions, others think of finally having that freedom from work and enjoying their financial freedom. Each view is valid, some just a bit more positive than others.
Our view is that retirement is a time to be enjoyed, the reward after many years of work. But like most stages in life, having a plan will help you make the very best of those retirement years, so here are four areas to plan that will help you achieve just that.
If your health is good, this is the most impactful area and is often the one in which the least attention is paid. What will you actually do every day? Yes, you might travel. But this will likely be for one or a few months of the year and maybe just for a couple of years. Yes, you might play golf, but hardly every day. And as someone recently asked a friend of mine who said he’ll play golf every day – what will you do with the rest of the day?
The bottom line here is that between working, commuting, and socialising around work, this likely took up maybe ten hours per day. That’s a lot of time to fill now… There’s a whole other article in how you might fill your time, but for now, we suggest that you just start thinking about how you are going to fill your days. It’s quite daunting but very exciting having all this time available to you. Pan to make the best of it.
We started the last section with, “If your health is good”. As we all know, so much of the quality of our retirement hinges on having good health. While some people are just plain unlucky in this regard and are afflicted by poor health through no fault of their own, most of us can have a positive impact on our health in our later years. Having a plan in this regard and the commitment to see it through will likely have an incredible impact on your quality of life.
It starts with planning to fuel the body well. Eating and drinking healthily will improve your health, increase your energy levels and have you looking and feeling better about yourself. You’re not rushing out the door any more, grabbing whatever is handiest to eat. Committing to making that bit of extra effort to prepare healthy food will have a big impact. Who knows, you’ve run out of road now in terms of excuses of not having the time to do that cookery course! Maybe there’s a gourmet chef hidden inside you – now you’ve the time to find out…
And of course, there is exercise. Build positive habits, doing things you enjoy. Whether that walking, playing golf, sailing or going to the gym, build exercise into your routines. You’ll feel better, will have more energy and vitality and will maintain your physical abilities for longer. Also, there are endless articles from august publications online that explain how strength and resistance training help to prevent the onset of dementia in older people.
Exercise is key, so have a clear plan of what you will do and when you will do it.
We’re just going to touch on this one, as we speak to all our clients all the time about the importance of pension planning. Having money in your latter years gives you more choices and a nicer standard of living. This takes planning to achieve.
We help you to identify the life you want in retirement, and we’ll help you identify how much money you need to live that life. And then we’ll develop a financial plan to make that future life a reality through pension saving. Thankfully this task is made easier by the generous tax breaks available on pensions and the relatively generous state pensions that are payable in Ireland.
But financing the life you want won’t happen by magic. It takes a plan and then commitment over many years.
Leaving your legacy
OK, for some people this one sounds a bit morbid. But we don’t see it that way. Identifying the stamp you’re going to leave on the world, your community or your family around you and how you will share the fruits of your success is exciting and a really uplifting subject. What will you do and how will you do it?
For some people, it will be through their generosity of actions – this might be through charitable work, voluntary time given to a community or sporting organisation or simply through helping others. For other people, it might be through their financial generosity. Either way, they all leave positive memories behind them.
Again though, this requires planning. Without a plan, time will just slip away and good intentions will never happen. And without a plan, financial mistakes will happen and tax efficient opportunities will be missed, reducing your funds available.
Retirement is a time of life to be enjoyed. But to make the most of it, plan out each aspect of your life and then go and live your life to the full.