I was recently shocked to learn the average retiree spends over 40 hours per week watching television!
When planning for retirement, people always tend to focus on the financial side. However, financial preparedness is only half the battle when it comes to planning a fulfilling retirement. Equally important, if not even more important, is a plan for how you will spend your time.
An activity plan can serve as a list of goals or ideas to keep you active, engaged, and filled with a purpose in retirement. This should be the other half of a truly comprehensive retirement plan, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to get anywhere near as much attention as the financial aspects of retirement. I think this could be because the clients themselves have to take the reins of creating this portion of their retirement plan, and there’s no template for how to fill your retirement with activities.
However, having seen many clients successfully spend their retirements on things that made them feel happy and fulfilled, I have some general guidance and a few questions to ask yourself as you start to think about how you will spend your retirement.
Make a list starting with long term, broad activity goals, such as staying fit, helping the local community, learning a new craft. Under each of those goals, write day to day actions that will help you get to those long-term activity goals.
Once you make a list look at it once a week to see if you are staying on track or if you aren’t what you can change to get on track. It sounds simple, but it takes some thinking and self-reflection. I know that may sound cheesy, but trust me it works. I used this method for myself, and I can assure you it helps you stay focused and keep your priorities straight.
In retirement, there are three different phases of retirement and each lasts around a decade. In the first phase, you will be more active, and physically able to travel, exercise, hike, etc. In the second phase, you may start to see a decline in mobility and mental aptitude. In the third phase, realistically a person may be slowing down physically and mentally to the point where they are not as capable of doing some of the things they loved earlier in retirement.
A person should account for the differences in each phase of retirement and plan accordingly. Acknowledging that you may be capable of achieving goals and doing activities now that you may not be able to do later in retirement will help you tailor each phase of your retirement plan to best suit your life situation. That way you’ll be less likely to say, “we should have done ___________ when we were younger and able.”
Here are a few questions I find helpful to ask yourself when determining your long-term, personal goals:
What will I do to stay physically engaged in retirement?
What will I do to stay mentally engaged in retirement?
What hobbies do I love now?
What hobbies have I always wanted to get into, but haven’t had the time to?
Where have I always wanted to travel to?
What makes me truly happy? Visiting family? Volunteering?
What do I want my purpose to be in retirement?
What type of impact do I want to have on the people around me during my retirement?
How do I want to be remembered by my loved ones?
Asking the questions above will help you identify what is important to you. It may take some thinking and soul searching, but I promise it will be worth it.
Creating a plan to fill your retirement with activities will ensure you spend your time in a way that makes you fulfilled and minimizes the chance of time wasted on activities that don’t reflect your values. It is essential to think about your personal goals when making this activity plan, and important to consider your ability to do different activities during the different phases of retirement.
So start thinking about what is important to you and plan your activities accordingly. A fulfilling retirement awaits!