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8 questions to ask yourself before retiring

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What kind of retirement do you want to have? You may already have a few practical goals, such as moving to a smaller home, but you’ll also need to have a broader vision of how you can stay active and engaged in life. As you develop that vision, you may find it helpful to answer these questions:

Do you actually want to stop working? Most people plan to continue working into their 60s and 70s, because they either need to or want to. Consider the pros and cons of continuing to work, and then plan for what best meets your needs.

If you plan to stop working, when would you like to do that? Would you like to retire early? Or do you want to move to part-time work? If so, you’ll need to build that goal into your retirement plan.

What would your ideal day be like? How would you spend your time if money were no object? Look for ways to achieve your ideal at least part of the time if you can’t reach it all the time.

When you were young, what did you want to be or do when you grew up? Most of us have some dreams that we put aside to focus on our work or families. You may be able to build on early dreams after you stop working.

What activities make you happiest? Ask yourself why your favourite activities appeal to you. Then, think about what your favourite activities have in common. This may give you ideas about what you would enjoy most in retirement.

What kind of setting brings out the best in you? Whether it’s the city or the country, most of us tend to feel more comfortable in certain kinds of environments. If you aren’t sure, try to explore some of the options before you decide whether to relocate. Spend a weekend or holiday in an area you might be interested in moving to.

Who are the most important people in your life? A network of good relationships is key to a successful retirement. Think about the people you care about most and the relationships you would like to have with them in retirement. How often would you like to see them? What would enable you to do this? Will you need to make a special effort to stay in touch? You may be able to do things right now to strengthen those relationships.

What gives your life meaning? Your retirement will be more rewarding if you have a clear sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed every day. If you’re not sure what that is, writing down your personal values will help you set a direction. If you won’t be able to continue some of your most rewarding activities in retirement, start looking now for ways to replace them.

As you build your vision of retirement, explore a wide range of options. Plan to pursue a variety of goals and activities that will add joy and meaning to your life. That way, you’ll have a fall-back plan if something doesn’t work out as expected.

LifeWorks users can find more support as they look ahead to retirement by using their username and password to log onto the mobile app or Search for “retirement” for articles, podcasts, and more.

This article was adapted from the LifeWorks article “Planning a Successful Retirement”.

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