retirement-plan-comicOver the last three years I have been making plans for my retirement.   I’ve been working for over 40 years and I know how to do that well. Not working is a new experience for me and I didn’t have a clue how to approach it. I read a lot of articles and a book or two that gave me some direction, but no real roadmap to take me from working to a happy retirement.

My wife and I are living in Florida and enjoying the time and the weather. Three years ago, we were living in Massachusetts and dealing with the pressure of work and winters. We still have work to do on the happy and fulfilling retirement, but we’ve made a lot of progress.

While our process was disjointed and a little hit or miss, I can identify the major steps that we focused on to get us to this point. To help you avoid the confusion that we experienced, I’ll organize this into logical steps that need to be completed. Addressing all of these is essential so don’t think that doing 7 out of 8 is success. Some of them will evolve over time, but you need to have a plan to address them all.

These are the elements of your retirement transition plan inventory:

  1. Personal activity plan – What are you going to do with your new found freedom?
  2. Spousal/partner activity plan – What are you and your spouse going to do to make retirement a mutually happy experience.
  3. Get your life in order – We all have little messes (or big) in our lives that need to get cleaned up.
  4. Decide where you want to live – This is a complex question that depends a lot on many other items in your transition plan.
  5. Develop a retirement budget – This will allow you to assess the viability of many elements of your transition plan.
  6. Develop an investment strategy for your savings – This is an important aspect of a successful retirement.
  7. Perform a personal and family health assessment – The life you live in retirement is dependent on how healthy you are and the health of the other members of your family.
  8. Establish a calendar of events – Ideally, the inventory should be developed before you retire so that you have it as a guide to a happy retirement.

I will be expanding on these in future blogs, but want to offer them up as the major elements of the inventory that you will need to think about. Most of these elements are dynamic and will need to be updated as our circumstances change.   So don’t think of any of these as parts of a permanent plan. Just as in the life before retirement, we need to adjust to the changing circumstances in our personal world and the world around us. But this is a place to start.