“After the immediate [retirement] honeymoon, a life filled exclusively with leisure stops being leisurely,” says Chadnick. “All rest, no stress, no challenges becomes really very unbalanced. People need to find balance or they will get bored. People who don’t have a plan — who don’t have activities and ways to engage all aspects of their personality — don’t do well in retirement.”
Chadnick counsels her clients to begin thinking about that plan soon after their 40th birthday. If that’s already passed, start now. It’s especially important to begin early if you decide you’d like to do something in retirement that’s dramatically different from what you do now. Some see retirement as an opportunity to begin a new career, for example. If that requires training, work it into your plan. Don’t wait to think about retirement
“How do you shift gears? You need to get your mind around that and prepare to think about other possibilities for yourself,” she says. “I think people make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late.”
What are you supposed to spend all that time thinking about? Chadnick prepared this checklist of seven questions:
- What will be most important to you in retirement? What will give you a sense of purpose? What will be your passion?
- What kind of work do you want to do, if any? Will it be strictly paid work or include unpaid, volunteer work?
- Do you want to remain in your existing career, or do something entirely different?
- Leave aside the financial importance of work for a moment. How important will work be to you in terms of intellectual and social fulfillment?
- In the absence of a work schedule, how much structure do you want in your day?
- How will you replace some of the good stuff of work: intellectual engagement, challenge and growth opportunities? If you’re not getting the social interaction you had in your workplace,
- how will you stay connected? What do you need to stay motivated, inspired and engaged? What do you need to stay healthy, vibrant and resilient?