On a regular basis, clients come into visit me and ask, “What should I do during my retirement? I put all these years of time and energy into my career and I know people say that I should be doing other things after I retire, such as travel, vacations, spending time with family, but what do I really, really want to do?” The real question they are asking me is: “What do I do after I’m done working?”
So what should you be doing during your retirement? How do we, as individuals, decide what our retirement years should look like? Well, the easiest way I’ve found to really figure out what you want out of life, is to envision it. A way to envision things is to actually take a moment and step away from where you are currently and literally GO! That’s right, go into another room, go into nature, spend time in a library, or a place of quiet contemplation, and get away to think.
Make sure to bring paperwork with you; if you can, bring a piece of construction paper or even a poster board, and go grab four or five of your favorite magazines or items that you’re interested in, grab some scissors and start cutting and pasting.
Put everything on the paper or board where you possibly could fit it; write up words on the board, and envision what your life would be like in three years from now after you retire. Many times, people get overwhelmed by retirement because they have a lot of different choices. Some choices include where they are going to live, and what type of life they want to have. In planning for retirement, it makes sense to make a plan just like you would if you were working on a project in the office or planning a vacation.
Make sure to work in a maximum of three year increments, It’s hard for us to view how things will be in more than three years. Questions to ask include: Three years from now where would I like to live? Who am I going to be spending time with; (e.g., grandchildren visits); will I be traveling or will I be thinking about buying a vacation home or remodeling my current home? Well, I consider going back to work, but a different career? These are the types of things that should go on your board.
Then I would leave the board alone, leave it alone for a couple of days. Don’t even look at it. Just walk away. Obviously bring it home, but walk away from it and then three or four days later, take the board out and look at it and ask yourself, “Can I envision myself in these pictures? Did I take enough time away to really get to know me? Then, look at it and see if you can find a deeper meaning. On a separate piece of paper, write down what you would need economically, either in additional assets or in income, in order to achieve what you put on your board.
Now work backwards. Literally backwards, in three years, if you need $100,000 or $50,000 more, how are you going to get there? Well, if you need it in three years, what do you need in two years; what do you need in one year; what do you need in six months and work towards that? Then take the piece of paper and repeat the following words: “I’m going to solve this problem. I’m going to be able to get there.”
Then, on a daily basis, look at the board and say, there I am, I’m there, I’m on that plane. There I am, I’m on that cruise. There I am, You are on whatever you put on that board. Then on a weekly basis, track how close you are to getting to your goals that you wrote down from year to year, month to month, week to week.
lastly, share the board. The more people with whom you can share your retirement vision board with, the more likely it will happen. As you talk about how it will look, the board and its future predictions will become truer the more people you show it too. Don’t be surprised at how quickly and how closely you’ll get to achieve your goals. And here is my last tip on vision boards; if you can, break your ideas down to small pieces and then reverse engineer each one to get there.
Remember, plan today… protect tomorrow.
Until Next Time,
Peter Blatt is the president at Blatt Financial Group. He has more than 17 years’ experience in the financial industry. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Boston University, a law degree and a post doctorate degree in tax from the University of Miami School of Law. He is an active member of the Florida Bar Association, the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the former secretary of the Tax Section of the Florida Bar. He has been published or quoted in numerous periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, SUCCESS Magazine and on Fox Business News.