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What's Your Retirement Readiness?

You may remember a popular advertising campaign, where people went about their everyday lives carrying a large orange six or seven figure sum that represented their "number" - how much money they needed to retire. The implication is that, once you reach that magical number, yoiu will be able to "happily" retire.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many pre-retirees do not fully comprehend how dramatically their lives will change in retirement. For many people their job is their identity. Without work, they report more boredom, restlessness, and feelings of uselessness. People spend more time planning a wedding than planning retirement, states the article. No wonder that retired men are 40% more likely to experience depression than those who are working!

I use a tool with my clients, Retirement Vision. It includes questions such as:

  • What will you miss most about the job you have today?
  • What are you most looking forward to aboiut your retirement?
  • What would your ideal week in retirement look like? How will you invest your time?

This tool shifts the focus to what they are "retiring to" rather than what they are "retiring from." Rather than seeing retirement as a goal or finish line, they begin to visualize what life will really be like once they quit working. Yes, they may know how they will replace their paycheck, but have they thought about how they will replace the structure, regular interaction, friendships and identity that they will be leaving behind?

How much time have you spent visualizing your retirement? What experiences and/or possessions bring you fulfillment? What does financial freedom look like to you?