ontrak Financial Planning

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What Does Retirement Mean to You?

Whether you are planning to retire at 57, 62 or some other age only you can decide what is right for you. In fact you may not want to retire at all – at least in the traditional sense!

The truth is that traditional retirement does not work for everyone. Instead people want freedom to pursue their own goals and interests, whatever they may be. There is no question that having money provides options to do things – money is the resource to have the freedom to do what you want and when you want. However, money is only part of the equation – finding the right life balance and having a clear picture of where you are heading is equally as important and can take a while to figure out.

When planning for retirement I believe the starting point should be to look at the big picture and ask yourself, “Who and what really makes me happy in life?” Does this involve work, not working at all – or a combination of the two? I heard someone say recently that ‘work should be an enjoyment that brings value to others and meaning to you!’ I found that a really powerful statement. You may wish to continue to work, but it may involve volunteering and giving something back. If you have a partner you should involve them in the process to establish whether the vision is aligned! I believe that for couples who have planned their future together they have a greater probability of having a better one.

The next step is to then put together a plan and then arrange your finances that is aligned towards making your vision a reality.

Too often when it comes to our financial lives we don’t look at the bigger picture. Instead we move pieces around by replacing investments, insurance policies, debts and making purchases – all the while paying too little attention to the things that are really important to us.

The most important aspect to be gained from engaging in the financial planning process is to create a better life. Investment savings are an important part of this because they help to sustain a desired quality of life for as long as possible. However, the focus should not be on what is in your portfolio but instead on using it to give you the best life possible.

Moving from work to retirement is not always an easy transition and for some a balance needs to be found between vocation and vacation. It’s important to retire to something and not just from something and view it as an evolving process in time and activity!