The retirement challenges beyond finances

When it comes to retirement planning, it can seem like much of the focus is on your finances. Money is clearly an important factor, but it shouldn’t be the only thing to consider.

The retirement income you have is clearly crucial for achieving your goals, saving enough is often a challenge that’s focused on. However, there are other retirement challenges that you may have overlooked, and it could mean your years after work don’t meet expectations.

Failing to plan

One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to retirement planning is failing to plan at all. Giving up work can seem like a daunting and intimidating prospect. After all, work has likely been a big part of your life for several decades. As a result, some people choose to ignore the planning process of giving up work. It can mean you feel unprepared for what the future holds.

Deciding what you want your retirement to look like can be challenging. The options are endless. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach for retirement, your ideal retirement probably looks very different to others.

However, without a plan, it can mean that your aspirations fall to the wayside, even if you have enough income to achieve them. With a clearer sense of direction, you’re on the right path to secure a greater sense of wellbeing and satisfaction once you put the world of work behind you.

Of course, you don’t have to plan every aspect of your life; you can still be impulsive in retirement. But setting out what your ultimate goals and aspirations are in advance is important for securing the retirement you want.

While planning is important, it can also be challenging. Figuring out what you want to spend the next 20, 30 or even 40 years of your life doing is no small task for some. This is where financial planning can help, we take the time to understand what your priorities are before creating a plan.

The mental challenges of giving up work

Often one of the overlooked challenges of giving up work is the mental challenge of it.

Work may be a big part of your identity. And it likely plays a role in your social life too. You might want to give up work but still struggle with this aspect of retiring. To suddenly give up work one day, where you’ve spent many hours a day for years, can be a bit of a culture shock.

Retiring on a set date completely isn’t for everyone. Luckily, there are more options than ever. You could choose to reduce your hours or responsibilities with your current employer, search for new opportunities, undertake consultancy work, or even turn your hand to an entrepreneurial venture.

Even if you’re certain that giving up work entirely is what you want, other activities can give you some of what you may miss from working life. Supporting charitable causes, being involved in the community, or taking up sociable hobbies, for instance, can all help you carve out a new identity for yourself.

It’s a challenge that a plan can help you with. Having a sense of purpose, whether it’s to continue working part-time or tick off sights on your bucket list, can help alleviate some of the mental challenges once you’ve handed in your notice.

Staying on track for goals

Ahead of retirement, you may be focused on your goals and what you want to achieve. But as you settle into retired life, you may find that you go off track.

Life can take over and even the best-laid plans can go astray. Coming back to your aspirations when making decisions can improve your fulfilment in retirement.

You may also find that as you progress through retirement, your goals change. This is completely normal, whether it’s due to unexpected events or you’ve simply had a change of heart. Going back to what your objectives were at the beginning of retirement to see how they match up with what you want now is just as important as the initial planning process.

If you’re approaching retirement or have already retired and would like to take a holistic view of your years after work, we can help you. As financial planners, we help you align finances with your aspirations and challenges you may face in retirement.