Retirement planning isn’t just about your financial affairs. Other factors that are harder to quantify impact your overall happiness and are just as important as money when you think about your life after work.
Social interaction boosts our emotional and physical well being! Making your home in a walkable community where you have opportunities to socialize may be more appealing than a spread-out suburb with less regular interaction. What about proximity to family and friends – will you be able to see them regularly? If your children and grandchildren live far away, should you move nearer to them? And you might think about the impact retirement has on your home life. Your significant other may spend more of each day with you than he or she has in years; that may be welcome, or it may take an adjustment.
Unfortunately, our mobility almost always decreases as time goes on. If this happens to you, will you still want a home with stairs to climb? Maybe a home that is on one floor would be more practical. As you get older, do you want to keep up with the work of a whole house, or would a townhome or retirement living make more sense? Will you still want to drive? You may find yourself very isolated if you’re living in a car-dependent community.
If you aren’t driving anymore, is your residence close to the amenities you want – stores, senior services, mass transit?
Who will help you get around when you need assistance? Friends and family can’t always be available. If you think live-in care might be necessary down the road, will your home accommodate a caregiver?
Some people only realize after they retire that they don’t know how to fill their free time. What will you do when your life, identity and social circle don’t revolve around work anymore? For some, this is the time to dive into hobbies and turn pastimes into passions. For others, volunteering or even returning to work part time may be what’s most fulfilling.
Having a retirement plan is about a lot more than money. It’s about make smart decisions for your happiness.