Retirement planning steps

planning for retirement

Why are thoughts about retirement often so stressful? After all, we've had a lifetime to prepare for this important time in our lives. While financial resources are definitely important, something else is often ignored.

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It's called a sense of purpose, and we need it even more after we retire. If you are now in your 50s and early 60s and active, you could very well live for another quarter of a century or more after retirement, and you may be in good health for most of the time. What are you going to do with all these added years, which some people call the "30-year bonus round"?

First, you need to find your sense of purpose. Try to remember the times of your life when you had an extreme sense of purpose. For example, if you enjoyed playing a team sport, that doesn't necessarily mean that you want to do the same in retirement. However, it could mean that you love being part of a team and having a schedule. That will help you find the post-retirement activities that truly motivate you. (Need more suggestions? See "Top 10 Most Desired Retirement Activities" from Allstate Financial, listed below.)

Finding your financial purpose

Many people have fallen short of their post-retirement financial goals. These four steps can help you plan for a more comfortable retirement.

  • Go for the goals
    Instead of thinking strictly about the money you will need in retirement, focus on the purpose of your retirement. What do you want to see and do and accomplish in this new life phase? That will help you put a price tag on what it will cost.
  • Design a transition plan
    Carefully consider the actual adjustment that will occur when you retire, and then create a preliminary plan so you have something to "retire to" and not just "retire from."
  • Recreate the paycheck
    Make sure your investments are set up in an easy-to-understand way, so you receive checks once or twice a month, similar to a paycheck in the working world.
  • Plan with a purpose
    Set up quarterly meetings with a reliable financial advisor to make sure your investments are continually "tuned up." You always want to maximize and protect your retirement nest egg in changing financial times.

Top 10 Most Desired Retirement Activities

In 2002, Allstate Financial asked Baby Boomers what activities they're most looking forward to in retirement. Here is what they learned:


Retirement Activity

Family activities
Home improvement

$   900

$   827
$   762
$   545

One thing noticeably absent from the above list, considering recent financial uncertainties, is pursuing a part-time job or opening a small business.

4 Secrets to Longevity

Want to enjoy more than just 30 "bonus years?"

The four most important things, under our control, that can add years to our life are:

  • Don't smoke
  • Don't drink alcohol in excess
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables

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