No matter who you are, retirement is a big deal. Planning for retirement can take up a lot of time, and that means it’s important to approach it in the right way.
Lifespans are increasing every year because of scientific and medical discoveries. According to the book “The 100 Year Life and Working in an Age of Longevity” by Professor Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton, people aged 60 have a 50% chance of living into their 90s.
That’s potentially a lot of time to plan for. Retirement presents many opportunities, but it also represents the uncertainty of a new phase of life and a different set of financial decisions to make.
For this and other reasons, retirement planning has ended up with somewhat of a bad reputation. It’s associated with anxiety, stress, and unpleasant thoughts about getting older, even among those with more than adequate savings.
As a result, you may be tempted to put off retirement planning or try to distance yourself from it. It can be stressful, for sure. But this reputation may not be entirely deserved.
Like all financial planning, preparing for your retirement is bound to come with a little stress and uncertainty, but it can also bring great joy and excitement, perhaps for reasons you haven’t even considered.
So how can retirement planning bring a smile to your face?
There’s one often-overlooked reason why retirement planning can actually make you happier right now.
According to Daniel Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, thinking about future happiness now can stimulate pleasure centers in your brain, possibly making you even happier than actually doing those things.
The decades of retirement that many people today can expect will be a huge chunk of your life, and they could be the best years of all. Having the freedom and money to travel the world, pursue new hobbies, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy some much-needed downtime are things that you may have always want to do, but will only really get the chance to do after your working life is behind you.
Thinking about this right now, as you plan for that stage of your life, can bring great happiness in the short-term. People tend to associate retirement planning with dwelling on money and the prospect of downsizing, but in reality, envisioning your future life can be a deeply satisfying and enjoyable process.
And that’s not the only reason retirement planning is good for you. Read on to learn the benefits that will kick in and make your life easier in the short-term and in the long-term.
Peace of Mind
Going through life without a solid retirement plan can be a huge mental burden. Many of the negative things you might associate with thinking about retirement often stem from a lack of planning and the current anxiety you be experiencing. Investing time getting a real strategy together can eliminate a lot of this unhappiness.
Managing your wealth now while planning for the future can give you wonderful peace of mind in the here and now, with immediate benefits like:
- You’ll be able to budget better today. With concrete retirement goals, you’ll have the financial freedom to spend on your family, hobbies, and other things you enjoy in your current phase of life without dwelling on the future.
- You’ll be able to look to your older years and feel relaxed and excited, as opposed to anxious and fearful
- You’ll be healthier. Stress, including financial stress, can have a serious impact on your mental and physical wellbeing both short- and long-term. Minimizing retirement woes can really ease that burden.
Having a confident outlook on the future is priceless. It will help you feel more certain when making financial decisions, and if you have a partner you’ll be able to drive towards shared and complementary goals.
An End in Sight
As the old adage goes: “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Some people are lucky enough to feel this way, and if you're one of them your job might feel more like a calling than a daily chore.
Still, even those fortunate enough to be doing their dream job still have those days where the alarm clock is a little too loud, that morning coffee doesn’t quite do the trick and the end of the day can’t come quickly enough.
This can spark a smile in several different ways. For one, you’ll have dreams that are actually possible and tangible. What’s more, you’ll also be able to appreciate the time you spend in work right now, allowing you to remain present and engaged knowing that it won’t last forever.
A Sense of Purpose
Retirement is a massive shift in lifestyle. You’ll be leaving behind the work you’ve known for decades, and transitioning to a new day-to-day version of yourself. That often means adopting a new identity and redefining who you are outside of work–both can be overwhelming.
Having a mission-driven vision for the new you will not only ease the overwhelm you may feel, but it will also serve as a north-star for difficult choices you may need to make before and during retirement.
Once your wealth management worries are taken care of, you can start thinking about what you really want from retirement and what it might want from you. Do you have a cause that you care about? Is there a talent you want to share with the world?
By defining a real purpose, you can devote the present time to making plans, figuring out what really matters to you, and ensuring you’re prepared for retirement in all the other, non-financial ways.
Retirement can bring many opportunities that may have been absent during working life. You may find yourself exploring something big, like:
- Traveling the world
- Taking on a demanding personal project like renovating your home
- Moving to a different country or state
- Getting involved in volunteering work or other community activities
It’s impossible to plan for these kinds of things when you haven’t figured out how to fund your day-to-day life after retirement. This can leave you feeling directionless and even unsure about what life after work will be like.
If, however, you can put together a reliable retirement funding plan, it’s much easier to make practical and concrete plans for your post-work dreams. Having something real to work towards now can bring a sense of enormous fulfillment.
When people think about getting ready for retirement, they often think the benefits will only come about once they’re actually retired. However, this is completely untrue. Taking the time to plan for your retirement today can positively impact your current life in all kinds of ways.
To find out more about how to plan for retirement, and how to have more control over the money in your life, today and in the future, sign up for our 3-minute Retirement Readiness Quiz here.