Your retirement lifestyle planning may start with financial planning, but having a happy retirement needs a much more holistic approach. It is also an ongoing process which you will refine over time.

Why you need more than a financial planner for developing a holistic retirement plan

We started planning the details of our retirement over 10 years ago and it would be fair to say we are still planning for it – learning from our mistakes and leveraging our successes. Although there are always financial matters for serious consideration, we also have managed to have a lot of fun along the way and we have learned to look more broadly at retirement.

There is no doubt financial planning for retirement is an important subject, and one you should pay close attention to. Unfortunately though, that is often where retirement planning advice ends. Unless you are entitled to a redundancy counselling, your retirement planning will typically end up in the hands of financial planners and accountants. These are key advisors for your financial success, but they are generally not skilled in holistic retirement planning. I note that all these years later they are beginning to talk about the lifestyle aspects of retirement, but that isn’t their core skill set. Indeed as they are usually younger than us their knowledge can really only be intellectual in any case.

piggy bank for retirement options
Your piggybank is the foundation, but not the entirety of retirement

This focus on purely financial matters is also obvious in print and online media; in researching retirement planning, we found that around 90% of the articles published were about the financial planning aspects. And thus, this website and blog was born to talk about the myriad other aspects of retirement. Since we started blogging on these subjects we are pleased to see that others have begun to discuss the ‘softer’ side of retirement. Actually it isn’t really a softer side at all, it includes so many subjects of importance.

How retirement lifestyle expectations have evolved

There are so many aspects to having a satisfying and rewarding retirement. Retirement is now a time of great expectation for many of us; no longer does the male of the species typically leave work and then drop dead.  Many women have had careers that have been satisfying and stimulating. Both genders now seek a retirement lifestyle that is fulfilling. And with our longevity increasing, retirement is likely to be a longer period of life, all the more important that we should plan carefully for it.

Man standing near signs pointing to his future retirement lifestyle
Leave behind past notions of what retirement means

You don’t have to be planning to fully retire either (we both consider ourselves semi-retired) but you do need to think about how you want your life to be in ‘retirement’, whatever that means to you.

Why you should start early with planning your retirement lifestyle

At what age should you begin to think about retirement? That is an entirely personal decision; we have friends who started planning in their 40’s and others who only began the process in their 60’s. For us, whilst we had done a lot of financial planning for retirement, we have had to learn a lot ‘on the go’, and that has sometimes been painful.

couple dancing
Don’t forget to plan for fun in your retirement

Our experience has taught us that there is a lot to think about so that retirement can be the most fulfilling stage of your life;  health, wealth, family, leisure, location, estate planning etc. etc. The list goes on. You need to develop a plan for every aspect of your life .

And you really do need to get out your crystal ball and consider contingencies. What happens if one or both of you becomes seriously ill or dies? What if you choose to move to a new location to be close to children and grandchildren, and they are transferred away for work reasons? How will you create new social networks if you move away from your current home? And we often don’t want to talk about this topic, but what will constitute a good death for you?

How this blog can help you in your planning

This site is designed to share our experiences with you. Unlike the financial planner we have dealt with real life challenges and experienced real life joys.

cocktails on the beach in retirement options
Are cocktails on the beach part of your retirement lifestyle aspirations?

The site is not designed to tell you how to live your life. You should consider it more a series of posts which will hopefully encourage you to ask yourself questions about your ideal retirement, to create or refine your plan as you move into and through your retirement years.

That plan will evolve over time, as you near retirement and as you move into and through your  retirement. Health may be a factor that changes your plans, family issues may change your plans, we have found that just being semi-retired has been quite different to what we expected and that in itself has changed our plans ….

We have learned about and shared posts on each of these topics:

  • Ageing, ageism and the emotional impacts
  • Ideas on financial and legal issues, including keeping on top of our SMSF (self managed superannuation fund)
  • Thoughts and experiences on volunteering
  • Ideas about staying healthy in retirement
  • Where to live, location and types of housing – whether ageing in place or in a retirement community setting
  • Refreshing your wardrobe for your new lifestyle (yes for men too)
  • More indepth pieces on the planning aspects
  • Relationships and family
  • Technology and it’s importance for keeping connected (and some of the challenges it presents)
  • Travel – one of our favourite parts of our retirement lifestyle
  • Thoughts on working in retirement – yes that sounds counter intuitive, but many retirees choose to take part time work to keep connected and tick over the coffers. That has included being involved in the sharing economy.

We have also shared some of our opinions ….

We hope to be thought provoking and if our experience can help you towards a better retirement then we are delighted, and we’d really like to hear from you.

Sign pointing towards retirement options
Take time to create your retirement lifestyle map

Disclaimer: We are not financial planners nor are we retirement planners in the broader sense of the word. We are two individuals who have transitioned from full time work and a city lifestyle to semi-retirement and a regional lifestyle. Find out more about us here.

Tell us, what are your most burning questions about retirement? What experiences and wisdom can you share with our readers?