When business executives start planning for retirement, they tend to focus on the money. But a happy retirement is more than just having enough money. While 70% of people planned to work in retirement, only 27% are actually working in retirement (EBRI 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey). In the same survey, the second biggest concern for retirement is “staying productive and useful.” So if you are unlikely to work, what will you do to have a happy and productive retirement? Here are five tips to help prepare for your transition into retirement:
1. Know what makes you happy (and also what makes your spouse happy!). Life gets so busy while building our careers that we can get into a rut. We may not have the time or energy to do the things we love. Once retired you will – so choose the activities that make time fly for you!
2. Recognize what you will lose. Many of us have our identity wrapped up in what we do career-wise. So when you leave your job, what will you lose? Is it status, power, intellectual challenge, social friendships, a sense of accomplishment?
3. Replace what you will lose. Or choose to let it go in favor of new identities. If you want to maintain some of the satisfaction your job provides you, consider volunteer opportunities.
4. Visualize your ideal week in retirement. Now that you know what makes you and your spouse happy, and you are prepared to replace what you lose from leaving your job; put it all together. What does your week look like? How will you spend your time?
5. Practice! If possible, take a sabbatical to practice retirement. Many law firms allow or require sabbaticals. If it isn’t feasible to take a sabbatical, can you take at least a three-week vacation? Do this for a couple years to try out new activities to determine what you like.
Preparation for retirement is all about your human capital: your time, talent and experience, and how you will use it in this exciting new life phase.