Why planning your retirement needs to start earlier than you think

The harder you work, the harder it is to retire.

Over the years, we have seen many executives successfully transition from a busy work schedule into a satisfying and meaningful retirement. We’ve also seen that this typically happens when an individual takes time out to consider their retirement five to ten years before the event.

Planning your retirement years in advance can be the secret to enjoying your post-work years. Keep reading to find out why.

Why planning your retirement needs to start now

Planning your retirement doesn’t begin on the first Monday that you don’t have to turn up at the office anymore. To create a rich and fulfilling life outside of work, it’s vital to start thinking about it five to ten years before the event.

Part of this planning includes taking time out of your busy work schedule to participate in some of your planned retirement activities now. This:

  • Whets your appetite,
  • Helps you reconnect with your personal passions
  • Serves to reclaim some of ‘yourself’ from your business/work by sampling some of the life you will enjoy when you retire

It takes time to change your mindset and you should take small steps initially to achieve some quick wins. Examples of steps you can take include:

  • Commit to leaving the office at a certain time every evening and have somewhere to go, or something personally to do – ideally involving another person, who is expecting you, so you won’t let them down. Letting yourself down is far easier than letting someone else down.
  • Commit to having free days. These are days where you are forbidden to work or even check-in with the office. Instead, you should do something you enjoy, explore new hobbies, or do things you’ve always wanted to do.
  • If on holiday, build in some free days where you resist the urge to check-in.
  • If you must work at weekends, block time out and do not allow it to spread over the entire weekend. Eventually, your target should be to have work-free weekends.
  • Be present when you get home. Learn to ‘shut down’ from work by having a time when you turn off your phone and emails
  • Consider what work you must do and can only be done by you, and then delegate everything else to capable colleagues. Be ruthless. This gives you more of your most valuable asset – time.

Why you should create a transformational life plan

A transformational life plan considers what you wish to do today and in the future. Think of it more as a ‘personal rebrand’ concerning:

  • Who you are when you’re not at work
  • What you love to do
  • Taking positive action.

It’s the ‘action’ that makes your life plan transformational – taking some positive steps towards creating the life you want.

In the years before you stop working, take time out to consider how you wish to enjoy your retirement or life after work. Think about you and what you will do when you have ditched the corporate wear and thrown away your title.

Thinking, planning and visualisation help to bring clarity by forcing you to determine concise end goals. In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield writes: “If you get clear on the what, the how will be taken care of.” In other words, knowing your end goal is of utmost importance in any endeavour – retirement planning included.

Remember that you are retiring from your present job, not life.

Without a plan, people who are too busy working to think about life in retirement end up having things imposed on them. Their retirement effectively gets hijacked by other people and/or organisations. Often, this is people they love who are worried about them and find things for them to do. However, these may be things that the retiree does not want to do.

How do you build a transformational life plan?

We might be biased, but to start thinking about your post-work years, we recommend that you seek out a suitably qualified lifestyle financial planner, who has the training and experience in creating financial life plans.

Such an individual can help you to create your plan and build the financial infrastructure required for you to afford the life you want. They can also hold you accountable for the things you have said you are going to do, encourage action, and make your plan transformational.

However, if you wish to get started alone, then take yourself off to a quiet, private place for a few days. Even better, go somewhere where you feel most relaxed and at your most creative, and get started.

Importantly, you should have no distractions, but be focused on you, where you are now and your future. If you are in a relationship, I encourage each of you to do your own independent life plan and compare notes later. It is absolutely fine to have different goals and aspirations. In fact, this can be healthy!

To keep things simple, transformational life planning is the process of charting a course from where you are today to where you want to go, and then taking action.

Get in touch

Planning for life after work helps bring purpose into retirement, which is an essential condition for a fulfilling retirement.

We can help you to build the retirement you want. Even if your intended retirement is years away, it’s never too soon to start making plans. Email info@henwoodcourt.co.uk or call 0121 313 1370.

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