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Step One to Retirement Planning

Step One to Retirement Planning

As mentioned in previous blogs about planning for retirement, here is another practical retirement-related step you can take. This one is also very simple, and can apply to pretty much everyone.


When it comes to retirement, besides the myriad of things you know you need to plan for financially, don’t ignore creating a very important VISION of your future that may help you to look forward to retiring rather than be concerned over it!

A good way to start is to make a list of 5 to 10 things you want to DO or ACHIEVE in retirement. Some parents teach their children to MAKE A LIST and then cross off the things they accomplish. It almost seems too simple of a task to be of the great value that it is. Making lists are a great way to organize your information and prioritize. They provide a simple structure and are easy to read and write.

Every goal or dream you have can be broken down into steps. And as you follow each step you will begin to see your goal come to fruition, and it is so pleasing to enjoy the anticipated end result. It’s good to make a list because some things do take planning ahead of time, especially when it comes to retirement.

I read that when you make a list (like for groceries as an example) with bulleted or numbered points, even if you forget to bring the list with you, it is easier to recall what was on the list because you can think back to the location of the words on the paper. Lists can appeal to our general tendency to categorize things, and then we can process information more easily.*

I encourage you to stop for a minute from your usual daily schedule, and make this list with a real pen and paper, (or an electronic version) of a few things you would like to do or achieve when you retire. As the saying goes, “Put It Down in Ink.” Writing it down makes your goals easier to visualize. Then begin a sub-list under each goal for the first step you would need to take in order to reach this goal. You may be magically surprised at what you write down! You may have some subconscious ideas that you didn’t even know you had.

If you are not comfortable making a list, then at least imagine it.

I heard a story about a retired gentleman, who was asked if he missed working now that he was retired. I really liked his answer, “I don’ t have time to go to work! I don’ t know how I got anything done before retirement!” In this case, he didn’t have an official “bucket list,” but his motto and attitude (posted on his refrigerator) created his own bucket list without even being aware—to help everyone he could, and to be cheerful and happy with life ... and he enjoyed every minute of his retired life! And every day he made a list of things he needed to do that day whether written or in his mind, including such things as helping a neighbor with a project, picking up something at the store for one of the widows on his street, visiting a sick friend, giving a ride to grandchildren to and from school or other appointments, counseling boy scouts, and a myriad of projects at home! The best thing about retirement for him was that he had time to do what he always wanted without worrying about a clock or a boss!

Remember, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

Retirement is more than just saving money and finances, but in having dreams and goals in your life. Everyone has different things they would really like to do. Now is your chance to plan for them!


* “A List of Reasons Why Our Brains Love Lists,” December 2, 2013, The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-list-of-reasons-why-our-brains-...