When we hear the term “wealth,” most of us imagine an abundance of money or possessions. While that is a core meaning of the word, there’s more to wealth than yachts or a chest full of gold coins. There are four main types of wealth, and only one of them is financial:
- Financial wealth - Valuable financial assets such as your retirement savings plan
- Social wealth - Your web of family, friends, and social relationships
- Time wealth - The freedom to design your own schedule
- Physical wealth - Your health
There’s a quote floating around the internet that says “Be wary of a life that lures you with 1 and 2, but robs you of 3 and 4.” We couldn’t agree more. Though financial wealth is desirable, as is the status that comes with social wealth—finding a balance of all four is actually the best retirement planning strategy.
Managing Your Time in Retirement
Throughout the stages of life, our capacity for each type of wealth ebbs and flows. Most of us enjoy a natural bounty of physical and social wealth in our youth (though we can cultivate them our entire lives). The working years are prime for building financial wealth. And in retirement, time becomes your greatest asset.
No more punching the time clock. No more juggling the kids’ extracurricular activities—your time is your own. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some sort of structure or schedule. Time is your new currency in retirement, but unlike money or relationships, once it’s gone, it’s gone. And, going in without a plan can leave some retirees feeling lost, bored, or questioning their purpose.
Using the Retirement Mapping Profile™ to Design Your Ideal Retirement
Fortunately, there is a simple and powerful process to help you uncover exactly what kind of retirement lifestyle you want to build. Retirement mapping is designed to help give shape to your dreams and create accountability for making them happen. Instead of waking up not knowing what day it is or wondering “where has the time gone”, retirement mapping helps you spend your retirement doing more of what you love.
Define Your Level of Activity
To map out your plan for an ideal retirement, start by defining your current level of physical activity. Rate yourself on a scale from level 1 to 4 using the guidelines below.
Level 1 activities involve sitting, such as reading, watching TV, crafting, playing cards, or playing bingo.
Level 2 includes light activities such as walking, gardening, hunting, swimming laps, or ballroom dancing.
Level 3 comprises moderate activities such as cycling, playing tennis, skiing, jogging, or climbing stairs.
Level 4 refers to strenuous sports and other activities such as cross-fit training, running a marathon, moving heavy boxes, or stacking wood.
Now think carefully about the level of physical intensity you want in retirement. Do you want a lifestyle that is different from your current one? If so, do you want more physical activity or less? The answer will depend in part on your character (are you a former competitive athlete or more of a beach bum) but also on your physical abilities and/or limitations.
Consider the Four Retirement Lifestyles
Once you’re clear on your goals for physical activity in retirement, you can begin to create your Retirement Mapping Profile™. The profile encourages you to brainstorm retirement activities as they relate to four different lifestyles:
Using the four retirement lifestyles as a guide, you can start to envision what your “best week ever” in retirement looks like. Your retirement mapping profile should be tailored to your personality and desires, which means it may look different from your spouse’s or your best friend’s. And that’s ok.
Create Your Map
Now for the fun part - mapping it all out. Take a blank piece of paper and write “Retirement Options” in the center. Next, divide the paper into four quadrants. Label each quadrant as one of the four lifestyles (play, work, renew, connect). Then, start adding activities that you wish to pursue for each of the four lifestyles.
For example, under “play” you might add “visit the national parks” or “go to Aruba”. For “work” you might add “volunteer at the synagogue” or “become an Airbnb host”. Take up as many pages as you need, and feel free to break down bigger ideas into smaller, more specific pieces (ie “travel more” might become a list including “Berlin”, “the pyramids of Giza”, and “Macchu Picchu”).
The only rule of this process is, anything goes! The point is to document as many ideas as possible (even if it takes you a week) and get creative. You may be surprised by what you come up with.
Reflection Questions for You and Your Partner
The beauty of this exercise is it allows you to expand on your idea of what is possible in retirement. Many of our financial planning clients have said this exercise helped them come up with new ideas they hadn’t considered before. It also helps you remember some of the activities you previously enjoyed.
After completing your Retirement Mapping Profile, take some time to reflect on the following questions. You can do this either alone or with your partner, if you have one.
- What are your top retirement activities from your Retirement Mapping Profile? The ones you are most interested in and excited about.
- Which of those activities would be a good fit for doing with your partner, and which ones do you prefer to do alone? Why?
- How do your activities compare with your mate on the physical activity scale?
- How many interests do you naturally share with your mate? Have any been forced on either of you?
Reflecting on these questions will help you and your partner understand where your interests overlap and where they diverge. It will reveal places where you might need to compromise, which activities you can do together, and which might be best pursued independently.
No matter where you are in your retirement planning journey, a fiduciary financial advisor is an important partner. They can help you come up with a long-term investment plan (and make adjustments along the way).
As you can see, however, preparing for retirement is not just about the money. Retiring comfortably and with peace of mind requires thinking about the bigger picture. For preparedness in all aspects of retirement, including financial, lifestyle, and making the transition, you need Retirement Secrets.