Reality Check: More Retirement Planning

Whether you are looking forward to retirement with delight or trepidation, planning can help. While financial planning can help satisfy your need for survival, it’s also important to consider other needs.

Last column, I suggested finding ways to satisfy your love and belonging need. After all, in retirement, you’ll no longer enjoy all that love and belonging that you used to get at work!

We have other needs too: for freedom, fun, and power.

When you dance out the door of your workplace that last time, your freedom need may feel delightfully satisfied. However, that could be a temporary feeling unless you ensure that this new “free” time doesn’t rapidly disappear.

Appointments, visits, chores—everything that you somehow managed to squeeze in along with work may now seem to consume every free moment! Does retirement seem busier than working?

Some folks have also never developed the skill of saying “no.” Before retirement, there’s an excuse: “I’d love to [take care of the grandkids, help with the party, attend the meeting…] but I have to work.” Now, without the socially-acceptable, “I have to work” excuse, you might feel you have no recourse but to agree to everything.

If you are happy with having activities constantly crop up to fill the time available, that can be wonderful. Enjoy!

However, if you need “me” time to satisfy your need for freedom, then plan for it. Consider when and how much time you need, schedule it, and keep it sacrosanct. There’s no need to explain or feel guilty.

Fun is another need that you might think is automatically satisfied by retirement. Everything is fun when you’re not working, right? Everything except for that mile-long to-do list that you’ve put off till retirement.

Again, you have choices. For example, you can choose to look at your retirement chores as fun. (Yes, you can!) Staining the deck, cleaning the garage, many activities can be fun when that’s what you have chosen to do.

Another approach is to share the activity with friends or family. “I’ll help you one day; you help me next.” Sharing the activity can make the chores go faster and as a bonus, also help satisfy our need for connection.

If you feel that fun is lacking (and despite my suggestion, can’t seem to turn your chore list into fun), think about what is fun for you. Then plan how and when to get that fun into your life.

Do you like sight-seeing? Spending your morning in the coffee shop? Writing poetry? Digging in the garden? Fun needn’t be an elaborate, expensive production; perhaps it’s as simple as sitting in the sun watching the birds.

What makes you laugh? Brings you contentment? Again, you don’t have to explain; it’s your fun and your choice. When you know what satisfies your need for fun, regularly include some of those activities in your life.

Next time, we’ll take a look at how to keep some of that final basic need—power—in retirement.

How are (or will) you satisfy your needs for freedom and fun in retirement?

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