One of the things I like to do in my spare time is kayaking. I live less than a half-mile from a fairly large lake in the middle of a growing suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Minnesota. Although the lake is in the middle of suburbia and surrounded by homes, the time on the lake makes me feel like I am nowhere near the city.  The picture with the article was taken the last time I was out on the lake.

It is particularly peaceful going in the early spring, late fall, or early in the morning.  There is very little noise or boat traffic, you can hear the calls of various birds, an occasional fish splash at the surface and the waves lapping against the kayak.  It’s peaceful- you can even hear the wind on a fairly calm day.  What I like most about this time is it gives me time to think.  Time to think and reflect about life, family, business, hobbies, etc.- any number of things that are on my mind.  Anything that I need to sort out or decide what to do or how to handle. Time in the kayak also provides an opportunity to look ahead into the future. Even a blog topic can come to mind in the middle of the lake- this one did!

Similar to the time I spend reflecting in my kayak, when preparing for retirement, it is important to take some time to reflect on what to do next.  By take some time, I mean weeks or months until you have it figured out what comes next. Whether you have decided to retire on your own terms or had retirement forced upon you, it is a good idea to step back and take time to think and learn from your past and look toward the future as an opportunity to do what you did previously, something similar, or something completely different.

When reflecting on what to do in retirement, it is important to keep the following four things in mind: First, understand that retirement is a process and not an event. Second, take time to separate from what you did in the past.  Third, look at retirement as a time where just about anything is possible. Fourth, confidence and clarity in retirement comes from having a plan.

Retirement is a process, not an event– Often viewed as an event, or a snapshot in time- one day you are working and the next you are retired- it doesn’t quite work like this. An event creates a change immediately or in a short amount of time, but a process takes time, usually days, weeks or even months.

Retirement is a time to identify a new purpose (and possibly a new identity) for this time– You need time to separate from what you did in the past and who you were (role, title, professional identity) and decide you will be (new purpose, role and identity). This is a process because there are many thoughts, emotions and decisions to confront to transition successfully into retirement.

Retirement offers a time when anything is possible– While this statement “anything is possible” doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone’s situation, for a large segment of people who have saved and invested diligently throughout their careers, there is no shortage of options for “what to do now?”  You, for the most part, can make anything become you have been dreaming or wanting to do to come true. Along with a number of options comes the difficulty of narrowing down your options and selecting those things you are passionate about pursuing.

Retirement confidence and clarity comes from having a plan– Like many decisions in our lives, doing research, knowing and weighing options, and ultimately making an informed decision provides clarity to the outcome of our decision as well as confidence that the decision we decided on is the best path for us to take.  The same is true for our decision going into retirement.  Take the needed time to plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement- or as I refer to these aspects- The Other Side of Retirement.

If you would like more information about The Other Side of Retirement or need help planning for this time, feel free to contact me for a free introductory meeting to discuss what your perfect retirement looks like.