How Do You Envision Your Retirement Years?

Several years ago, I stopped asking my clients when they wanted to retire. I came to the realization that it was a difficult question to answer. One of the things that initially tipped me off were the responses I would receive. In terms of frequency, the top three were, “tomorrow,” “I have no idea,” and “sometime in my mid-sixties.” Over time, I began to understand that some people don’t want to retire and even those that do, often don’t know exactly when. I also realized that some folks feel like they haven’t prepared well for their future and may feel insecure naming a specific age.

Even though many of my clients found it challenging to pinpoint a specific date for retirement, I still needed to understand what they had in mind so I could help them make decisions that would give them the best chance of living the life they hoped for. With that goal in mind, I started encouraging my clients to envision their future with questions like…

  • How do you envision your sixties, seventies, and eighties? Or your nineties for that matter?
  • What will a typical day look like?
  • How will you fill your time?
  • Will you travel?

These questions seem to be much better at allowing space for conversation and reflection on the topic of retirement. They often lead to more personal and real answers. Not only that, but they also encourage us to consider another topic I’ve been writing about lately. The non-financial aspects of retirement planning and how they are just as important to address as the financial ones.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Dr. Michael Finke’s three factors, or pillars, that are the strongest predictors of satisfaction and happiness during people’s retirement years. The three distinct pillars are money, health, and relationships. In my Brief that followed, I shared three non-financial, “alternative” investments that I’ve recently made in my health and relationship “portfolios.”

This week, as I was completing some professional education, I came across this list of suggestions for navigating a successful retirement.

The most successful people in retirement are those who…

  • Successfully replaced their work identity.
  • Found a way to fill their time.
  • Stayed relevant and connected.
  • Remained mentally and physically active.
  • Found an avenue to express their spiritual beliefs.
  • Felt financially secure.

Many of us have a written plan for how we’ll tackle the financial aspects of our retirement years, but how many of us have a plan for how we’ll address the other important details of our non-working years? Perhaps some new questions are in order?

  • How will you replace your work identity.
  • How will you stay relevant and connected.
  • How will you remain mentally and physically active.
  • How will you express your spiritual beliefs.

These are important topics to explore prior to and even during our retirement years. Having a plan in place to address them will not only make the transition to retirement easier but also lead to a more fulfilling post-employment life. So, how do you envision your sixties, seventies, and eighties?

Our team at Beacon would love to help you address the financial and non-financial aspects of your future years. Let us know if you’d like to chat.


The content above is for informational and educational purposes only. The links and graphs are being provided as a convenience; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Beacon Wealthcare, nor does Beacon guarantee the accuracy of the information.

Geoff Hall, CFP®
[email protected]

My wife, Crystal, and I have been married for 11 years and have two kids, Cooper (10) and Rhodes (8.) When I’m not spending time with them you might find me downtown serving at our church, pushing my limits during a mountain bike ride or having coffee with a friend in the Five Points area. I've been a financial advisor for 29 years and I'm thankful for the privilege of shepherding my family of clients through the ups and down of the markets, and of life for that matter.