What to Expect in Retirement—the Lifestyle Edition

Kevin Ward, Advisor

For many, retirement increasingly represents a meaningful share of our lives—the benefit, partly, of the miracles of modern medicine which have extended our lifespans. But without a daily job to go to, many can feel adrift, the years stretching before them shrouded in uncertainty—about how to spend their time and replace the sense of meaning that often accompanies a professional occupation. In a prior introductory piece, we explored two broad buckets for consideration when approaching retirement: financial considerations and lifestyle and emotional considerations. Herein, we will closely examine the lifestyle and emotional considerations. And while hardly a replacement for meaningful conversations with your family, friends, and other advisors or confidants, we hope this piece provides you with a starting point for approaching retirement ready to embrace its changes and evolution productively and joyfully.

One of retirement’s most significant lifestyle shifts is how you will spend much of your time. Most professionals spend anywhere between 40 and 80+ hours each week dedicated primarily to work. The sudden shift to zero hours can be jarring, particularly if you were passionate about your work. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to slam quite so hard on the brakes if you don’t want to. Perhaps your employer is willing—even eager—to retain your services part-time. Your years of experience are undoubtedly valuable—if not to your last employer, then perhaps to another who recognizes the value a seasoned professional could provide their staff. Maybe there are opportunities to mentor younger employees. Such an approach—partially stepping away and decreasing but not eliminating the hours you spend at the office—could help you ease out of full-time employment.

Depending on how you spent your career and how eager you are for a new professional challenge, there might also be an opportunity to start your own business. Many professionals spend years learning the inside baseball of their industry and their specific company. You undoubtedly have some insights into how to do things more efficiently, profitably, etc., which could form the basis of a valuable second career as a consultant—either on your own or with an existing consulting company. A significant benefit to pursuing this type of occupation is you call more of your shots—you control how much time you spend working and which clients you take on. This also means you can better balance a sense of purpose with other occupations or interests you may want to pursue in retirement.

Many of us are drawn to particular causes because of personal experiences or a desire to give back. Serving on a board can be an excellent way to support your preferred cause while continuing to exercise the professional muscles you spent years developing and strengthening. For example, many retired executives or professionals find their accumulated experience and wisdom useful on boards, both for-profits, and non-profits.

On the other hand, maybe your career was never your life’s passion, and you’re ready for an entirely new chapter. In which case, assuming you’ve planned accordingly financially, the world is your oyster. You could take courses in which you’re interested at a local college. You could take up a new hobby and take classes to develop your skills and meet others who share your interest. Maybe your piano has sat neglected in your living room for too long, and it’s time to refresh your skills, take some lessons, and rekindle your love of music. Others prefer to scratch the athletic itch, join golf or tennis clubs, and stay active.

Many also choose to spend more time traveling during retirement—whether touring the US in an RV or flying to far-flung destinations. Provided you’ve saved enough to support your travel dreams, retirement can be a wonderful time to explore whatever part of the world takes your fancy.

Another significant lifestyle shift in retirement could be where you live. While some of these decisions are likely tied to financial considerations:

    • Is your home paid off?
    • Is it expensive to maintain?
    • Is it in a costly location, like a major city?

Some of it is undoubtedly emotional, too. Perhaps you and your spouse raised your family in your current home, and you’ve always envisioned grandchildren running around the backyard during summer visits. Or maybe the house feels too big now, and you’d prefer to move into a more manageable home.

If moving is in your plans, location is the next big question. And the considerations here are many:

    • What kind of climate would you prefer?
    • What cost of living?
    • Rural or urban?
    • Condo or townhome?

Maybe you’d prefer to be in a high-rise downtown in a major city, with public transportation to cultural events and nice restaurants. Or perhaps you’d prefer to buy the small farmhouse that needs some tender, loving care on a reasonable piece of land.

The key to many of these emotional and lifestyle shifts is considering them in advance and critically discussing them with your loved ones. Changes in your life will equally impact your spouse. Presumably, you will be spending more time together. How will that look? Would you like to do things together, or would you prefer to have your own interests to pursue, or somewhere in between? Aligning your visions of the future will help you both make the transition successfully and, ideally, joyfully. Retirement is a tremendous reward for a life dedicated to work and responsibility. Planning ahead and communicating with your family can ensure you fully capitalize on all the benefits it can offer.

Also important is communicating these preferences and dreams to your financial advisor so that you can live them out in a financially responsible way. The last thing you want is to retire, having dreamed of traveling the world without financial care, only to find out you can’t afford it. So, communicate with everyone who will be impacted by your retirement early and often—and make sure your financial advisor is among them. Then, get ready to enjoy the journey, wherever it takes you.

If you have more questions, please reach out to our team at breckenridgeteam@monetagroup.com.

© 2022 Moneta Group Investment Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, is not intended to be comprehensive or exclusive, and is based on materials deemed reliable, but the accuracy of which has not been verified. Examples contained herein are for illustrative purposes only based on generic assumptions. Given the dynamic nature of the subject matter and the environment in which this communication was written, the information and opinions contained herein are subject to change. This is not an offer to sell or buy securities, nor does it represent any specific recommendation. You should consult with an appropriately credentialed professional before making any financial, investment, tax or legal decision. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. All investments are subject to a risk of loss. Diversification and strategic asset allocation do not assure profit or protect against loss in declining markets. These materials do not take into consideration your personal circumstances, financial or otherwise.

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