woman thinking about retirement

We’ve all seen those “o/s” shirts that are definitely NOT one-size-fits-all. Did you know that retirement planning suffers the same one-size-fits-all trope? In reality, retirement planning is one of the most unique journeys we go through in life. Read more to find out how you can tailor your retirement to fit like your favorite shirt –  something you look forward to trying on!

Many think of retirement as a blissful “all the time in the world” scenario and others dread the idea fearing boredom and loss of identity. Tailor your retirement planning for a happier transition. Retirement has even been given different names to paint a more relevant and endearing picture: Financial Independence, Retirements, The Encore Curve, and the list goes on for potential candidates…

How do you approach this prominent life transition with a level head and at least a modicum of excitement? One word…


There are many aspects of retirement planning involved. Each of these needs to be unpacked, carefully considered, and given the proper time and attention they deserve. 

The human side of the retirement planning equation:

  1. Your identity
  2. Your spouse/partner/involved family members
  3. Your community

Your Post-Retirement Identity

The average American adult works 38.7 hours per week which translates to approximately 90,000 hours throughout your lifetime or one-third of your life at work. Besides being a sizable chunk of time, it also means your career may be ingrained into your identity.

Take time to articulate what matters to you, what roles you play in life, and where you spend (or wish to spend) your time. Loop your family members into this conversation. Ask their opinion on what they observe as mattering most to you and what you may “lose” when you aren’t working in the same capacity. These comments are intuitive to them and may create insights for you. Listen thoughtfully.

Your spouse/partner/involved family members

If you have a partner, then retirement planning is a team sport. You may need to negotiate or compromise with a partner on aligning needs, wants, and wishes. This could be as simple as renegotiating household chores or as big as outlining your three-decade vision.

Many may think about retirement at the 30,000 foot view, though it is important to think about daily routines. If you have not spent 24/7 in the same house together in a long time (or ever), then outline what a day looks like:

  • Who wakes up early? Who sleeps in? Who stays up late?
  • Who wants to be in the kitchen (solo?!) and when?
  • Who wants to seek solitude for their morning coffee/tea?
  • What are your lunchtime expectations? Together? Out with separate friends?
  • What are new hobbies or classes one wants to take?
  • What can you do together and what can you do apart?
  • How much do you want to stay home? How long does it take to recover from trips (and grandkids) visits?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that retirees spend 4.50 hours watching tv daily, 6.24 hours relaxing, and .57 hours reading. 

What do you want your stats to look like? As we all know, when you set intentions, you have a greater chance of those coming to fruition.

Your Community in Retirement

What does your current community afford you that you want to continue in retirement? Are there services that you want to make sure are accessible even if you cannot drive? How does your home need to be modified?

Over 75% of adults intend to stay in their own homes as long as possible. This means taking the time to prepare your space and evaluate your community options for assistance when you cannot do as much as you once could. The list is long for modifications over time, so start early and take it slowly. Here are some highlights:

  • Install sturdy railings up stairs.
  • Swap door knobs for lever handles.
  • Install handrails in showers.
  • Widen doorways for wheelchair accessibility.
  • Have first floor living arrangements.
  • Check for tripping hazards for falling e.g. – rugs.
  • Evaluate yard maintenance.

If you are looking to sell your current home or “right size” into one that fits your next chapter (smaller and less to clean OR perhaps that dream home that is now possible?), check out realtors specialized in your demographic with the Senior Real Estate Specialist® designation.

What are you retiring to?

Whether you’re excited about retirement or anxious about how you’ll spend your time, it’s important to put pen to paper and map out your time. What do you want to continue to do, to learn, to try, and to explore? Starting with a list of interests and a calendar helps you plan what life can look like. And if you are open to it, let science drive health habits to incorporate.

The financial side of the retirement planning equation:

Curious about how we think about the financial side of retirement? This deserves its own post, so more to come soon. Spoiler alert: Your projected income + your assets – your spending plan = your financial plan

Flexibility for transition…

Flexibility is often a key pathway to happiness. If you can be happy with various avenues, then it makes it easier to adjust as life changes and manages the inevitable bumps.

Take a cue from those who have made it – measured by centurions who still smile! 

  • Find your purpose and your people.
  • Do some work to keep your mind engaged.
  • Surround yourself with family and friends.
  • View life through a lens of positivity.
  • Walk as often as you can.
  • Value your mental and physical fitness.

Financial planning is all about flexibility and control. Work with your fee-only CFP® to articulate your values and align them with your resources to give yourself more options and grace as you embark on this journey.

If you take the time to plan your retirement, you will be properly positioned and aligned with the people and environment around you. Then you may feel more relaxed to embrace the small steps towards the transition and how to tailor it to fit your style and budget. 

We can help you move towards retirement with confidence by following our retirement planning process. Contact Spark Financial Advisors here.

Coming soon: If you are solo, what unique factors do you face in your retirement preparation? We’ve got you covered!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This