Including Your Goals and Aspirations In Your Retirement Planning
How you would like to spend your superannuation and retirement savings?
After you have worked through your annual expense plan and gauged a reasonable estimate of costs required to meet your regular living expenses (read GLFA Insights article: Living Expenses as a Retirement Planning Start Point , you can move on to looking more deeply at your retirement planning. In this process, you can look at the big picture more broadly, and make choices at a higher level on how you would like to spend your superannuation and retirement savings. The expense items at this next stage are often called your Bucket List and in part that is appropriate. However, this is an opportunity to really go deeper into how you want live, and to make sure that your choices manifest a reality where you can truly enjoy the retirement phase of your life.
This planning process is when you think about your aspirations and goals, when you make firm steps towards manifesting dreams that you have always hoped to achieve. Most people love the idea of travel: a big adventure, an overseas trip, or a cruise to visit various countries. But what you need to identify is what matters most to you, not to your neighbour or friend, or even to your partner, but to you. Just because a friend or colleague is excited by the prospect of six months backpacking around South America, doesn’t mean that you are. Your desire may be to do some charity work in a place that could really benefit from your skills and financial support, or rewarding yourself for all those years of toil working and raising your family by flying business class to Europe to enjoy a luxury river cruise. Everyone has their own wishes to fulfil.
What appeals to you in retirement?
Giving yourself answers to some of the following questions could be a useful process.
Are there things that you have always wanted to do? Or is your happiness in retirement focussed on helping your family and loved ones?
Is there a hobby that you would like to pursue?
Would you like to study? When someone gets a degree in their nineties, we all hear about it!
Would you like to transition from full-time work by setting up your own small business and need some capital for the start-up phase?
Have you always wanted to help your kids and grandkids with their higher education?
Or support your children by contributing to the cost of their wedding or the deposit for their first home?
Have you ever dreamed of buying a caravan, and then purchasing a comfortable car that can also tow it?
Do you have passions you would like to pursue, such as owning or restoring old vehicles, or buying sizeable tools to create new things, like a lathe for woodworking perhaps?
Are you happy to leave your beneficiaries with your property assets and minimal money, or is it important for you to leave them a larger part of your retirement savings too?
Would you like to do charitable work as a volunteer? Or gift money to a charity that you strongly believe in and know could benefit from your direct support?
Hopefully the answers you come up with from this list will show you some areas where you can get started with pinning down and prioritising your goals to create a solid retirement plan; the aim here is just to help you make a start on defining and clarifying what is really most important to you.
Once you have an item or two, the next step is to consider the details of it more deeply. If you visualise yourself as being in the present moment of doing that thing… What does it look like? When is it taking place (year, season, month, day…)? Who are you with? How does it feel? Go into detail. You need to do more than merely say “next year” or “five years from now”. Let’s pin down a realistic timeline and outcome, rather than just waiting for it to come along someday, or hoping that it happens while you’re still alive and healthy enough to enjoy it. Dreaming of “someday down the track” just doesn’t provide sufficient definition to realise all your main goals. It is too easy to dismiss the ideas and fantasies, and forget they exist. You really need to be specific. Yes, put a year, a month, and ideally a day or dates to each aspiration, and put it on your calendar. When you fix the date and write it down, your intention validates more strongly and has greater likelihood of coming true.
Once the timeline is set, give your best estimate of the cost as if it were today; if it is a fairly large sum, and the date is a way down the track, I can work out the impact of inflation for you if you would like me to. Please note that I don’t think it’s productive for the process to be delayed by over-analysis of intricate costing or other details. At this point your best “ballpark” estimate is fine. Let’s move forward with that.
Finally, check in with how important each item really is to you
Imagine you are at that point, at that day, and that you are achieving that goal or aspiration. How does it feel? Are you proud, happy, smiling? Or maybe a little emotional about finally achieving that thing that you have dreamed of for years.
Giving yourself confirmation of the importance of the goals or aspiration, helps you know that you’re on the right track.