Despite what many people believe, preparing for retirement is not just about the financial preparation.

In the past, people would retire and live on the age pension for a few years before they died.

Not today.

Depending upon when you wish to retire, you may have 20 – 30 years of living so it is important to start planning for a successful and fulfilling retirement.

Regardless of what you want to do, whether it is go on holidays, buy a car, build a house or bake a cake, you need a plan. So it is with retirement, you need a plan. The people most happy in retirement had a plan for their retirement. Before drawing up the plans for a house, you need to know what soil type as this determines foundation, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, whether you will have a formal living area, media room, the number of garages, orientation for the sun and breezes etc. it is no different with holistic retirement planning.

Today, financial institutions and the government are all promoting the need to prepare financially for retirement. Strange people called actuaries have developed various tables for how long people on average are likely to live and how much money will be required.

But are you average. Probably not, so the fatal flaw in both how long people may live and how much money they will need is that they fail to take into account family history and individual lifestyle.

For our retirement planning, we need to understand what type of lifestyle we want in retirement before we can develop our plan.

Some aspects will require money and will therefore influence our financial plan, other areas will have very little impact financially but may be considered far more important. It is possible that not all our desires can be met so we need to adjust our lifestyle accordingly.

We will look at just three aspects that we suggest are important parts of a Holistic Retirement Plan.

  1. Relationships with spouse or partner, your children and grandchildren are very important. A little known but important fact is the age group with the highest divorce rate is not in the 30-40 age bracket but those over 60. Divorce is sad at any time but may be more so at this stage of life. After 30 – 40 years of marriage, any plans for retirement together, the overseas travel, the house at the beach, the comfortable retirement is shattered. Financial security gone.

People take relationships for granted but as we prepare for retirement, now is the time that we need to be concentrating on and maybe rebuilding our relationships particularly with our spouse or partner, after all you are likely to be together 24/7, 365 days a year for the first time in your marriage. No longer is there an escape to your place of employment.

  • Social refers to our network of friends. While this is something that we should be working on throughout or lifetime, it becomes particularly important in retirement. The sad truth is that we will lose friends over the years and as we age, that loss will increase unless we are proactive.

When we leave work, most of our friends and colleagues from work will move on and it will just be a couple that will remain. Some other friends will move away as they retire or maybe with work and statistically, a number will die.

If you only had a small number of friends, retirement could be very lonely particular for males who are not known for making friends easily.

It is important, before retirement, that you start making new friends outside of work and that you continue to make new friends in retirement.

You may like to catch up with old school mates at a school reunion or old friends that you haven’t seen for years. Everyone has had busy lives so don’t be afraid to contact people that you haven’t seen for years.

At this stage of your life, it is also important to develop friends across a varied age group. One of the reasons given by people who volunteer is to meet people and some of these will form into friendships.

  • Health has been identified as the second reason why people retire early but it is the number one priority for what people plan to do in retirement. The importance of health is therefore recognised but what are people doing about their health?

When people cite health as a reason for retiring, it is generally due to their ill health or that of their partner.

For those that have health as one of their goals in retirement, what are they actually planning to achieve. Is it going to the gym regularly, playing some sport or going for a daily walk. While these activities are admirable, they are only looking at one part of health.

As part of health in retirement, we would suggest that there needs to be;

  1. Regular health check-ups particularly for some common issues such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and if a family history diabetes.
  2. Appropriate exercise including weights, balance and cardio
  3. A review of your diet – what you eat and drink, the quantities and frequency.

As well as exercise for physical health, we suggest that there needs to be exercises for your mental health as well. This could be as simple as doing crosswords or a puzzle or if more serious, learning a musical instrument or a new language.

These are just three areas that we look at under Holistic Retirement Planning. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts – is it radical or common-sense?

error: Content is protected !!