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Retirement Planning – It’s About More Than Just Money

Retirement Planning – It’s About More Than Just Money

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a pre-retirement seminar facilitated by Gillian Leithman, the Founder of Rewire to Retire.

Unlike many other pre-retirement seminars, this workshop did not have anything to do with financial planning for retirement. The content of the session focused specifically on planning what you are actually going to do with your time once you retire.

Based on some recent research conducted by Sunlife, they reported that on average Canadians are expecting to retire at age 64. With an average age expectancy of 81.7 years in Canada that is close to 18 years or more that will be spent in retirement.

So what will you actually do with all this free time?

During this workshop, Gillian shared a great deal of scientific research that supports the need to keep active and socially engaged during retirement in order to live a long, healthy and happy life.

She highlighted the benefits of planning in advance what you will do before you actually retire so that you are as prepared as possible for this significant life transition.

One model that Gillian leveraged to support the different components that a healthy retirement plan should contain was a positive psychology model called PERMA that was developed by psychologist, Martin Seligman.

This is what PERMA stands for:

P – Positive Emotion: Ensure that you have positivity in your life. This can be found in positive emotions such as peace, joy, gratitude or appreciation.

E – Engagement: This is the feeling of being completely involved or engaged in something. Gillian used the example of the feeling of when you are doing something and you are so involved with that the time just flies by without you noticing. This is a signal that you are fully engaged.

R – Relationships: As humans, Gillian emphasized the need for us to connect with each other and form relationships and bonds. And this does not change in retirement. In actual fact, it may become even more important if you no longer have an office / workplace to go to. You need to ensure you have a social network established for when you retire.

M – Meaning: We need to have meaning in our lives – the feeling that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves. This remains a need in retirement. What is it that will get you out of bed in the morning? If previously it was your work the you will need to replace it with something else during retirement.

A – Accomplishment or Achievement: If you previously received satisfaction from accomplishing or achieving things before retirement, this will more than likely still be the case once you retire. When creating your retirement plan, this should be something that is considered.

So you see – retirement planning is really about so much more than just money.

It’s about knowing what you plan to do with the new found time that you have and ensuring that you have people you enjoy being with to spend that time with. 

If you have not started to think about your non-financial retirement plan, there is no time like the present. As Yogi Berra once said “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” 

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.
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