We continue this 9-part series on Pensions from recent surveys and interviews. First in the series is Matching Pension to LIFESTYLE ... Second is LIVING SIGNIFICANTLY. Third is on LEISURE. Now we focus on TIME which is a major problem if people don't know what to do or why to get up each day, have too few interests, or their leisure starts feeling like work. Explore this with us today and I'm hoping we can spark some useful conversations on this topic between you and your friends. PLUS we will suggest the alignment between your pension decisions and optimizing how you get to enjoy time more richly in early, mid-, and later retirement years.
Your response to Survey Question #4:
Time for me could be a problem in retirement if . . .
I’m guessing when you woke up today you soon had a clear idea how you’d be spending your time. If it’s a workday your time was already organized. Business and career is like this because it avoids a number of questions that can haunt some people in retirement: “what will I do?” Some answer it by going back to work. Some turn their leisure into work: 8:15 on the green, 18 holes before noon, 4 days a week …until they realize what used to be leisure has become their new work. When someone said, “A bad day golfing, or fishing, or boating, is better than a good day at work” they hadn’t tried golfing, fishing, boating 25 or 40 hours per week. A peculiar thing about leisure is that it succeeds only as a re-creational diversion from other primary routines.
In our surveys many are projecting difficulty with time for their retirement years. 42% fear they have “too few interests to enjoy life throughout the year.” .. 36% say “leisure activities (may) start feeling like a ‘job.” Such responses indicate a significant worry that retirement will be downhill, losing the vitality and creative stimulation people have enjoyed in their earlier years.
Along with this comes the difficulty of replacing social contact which may largely have aligned with work-based friends. 25% fear having “no one to speak with – not much to talk about.” .. It leads to the fourth response where 17% of responses (24% in business) expressed the fear that retirement will spell “boredom/ depression: ‘life is over’”. One survey respondent said, “I have to work to survive” and another elaborated in an interview that despite being in his 70s, “I’ll retire when they take me out in a box.” … because work fulfils his needs around purpose, time, and social relationships.
See a problem here? Our career experience has been vastly different than what our parents and grandparents experienced. Similarly the challenge to find fulfillment in our retirement may also be different than those who have gone before us. What did mom and dad do? …how do your retirement dreams fit or differ with theirs? And as you witnessed your grandparents retirement: will you do the same or will the next two to three decades be vastly different from what they embraced in their sunset years
What does this mean for your pension choices?
Some of your colleagues and friends offer positive views of how they will spend their time in retirement. TM says, “I cannot imagine being bored or there being too much time for me to follow my interests!” PD shares, “don’t anticipate any of those problems – I’m looking to actively engage in the community.” BP adds, “can fill the time with many interests and sport; time is not a problem.” DW shares, “doing reno’s and travel.” For these statements to be true there is an intrinsic and direct link to deciding the type of pension that will best sustain your life, income, and activities you want to enjoy
Another positive spin is the person moving into “New-Retirement” consulting or other part-time endeavours. (SEE GEORGE’S STORY, p.38 A Lifetime Of Wealth.) Some want a half- or minimal-pension while working, to draw more when they fully retire. Some want no pension at all until age or needs force the matter, to then gain an enormous boost to their monthly income for the rest of their lives.
You also know people with high anxieties in this area. TW shares, “if savings aren’t enough; if I don’t have enough money to do the things that interest me.” DG adds, “if I become ill (eg dementia) or have an accident, preventing what I want to do.” Truly, if savings fail, if income falls short, if personal or family illness raises costs and limits activity, then time can be torture.
John for instance left off golf to take full-time care of his wife; financial worry prevented him from hiring help when he might have done so. No more travels, no more golf, and lost access to friends left John a shadow of his former self. Their only times out were to doctors, or for John to buy groceries. They adjusted – took this in stride – but money was the deciding factor that prevented hiring extra help and care, thus limiting the enjoyment and stimulation they both might have had if increasing income had been available to them.
So consider your pension choices. You’re balancing two key areas here and you don’t want either one of them to fail you. On one side is Income. The other side is Lifestyle. Too little income and you cannot enjoy time as you choose. Too much risk (in pension plan or in a personalized approach) then again you’d always have lingering anxieties for the future.
NOW let’s script your own personal movie ... how you can best enjoy Time in retirement. ...like Rick and Lynn (Q.3 about Leisure). You mention Family, Travel, Sports, Arts / Crafts, and a variety of other interests near and far. How will you optimize your time, expand your experience, truly treasure your pleasure?
Let’s capture what massively excites you, stimulates your dreams, brightens the lights and sharpens the colours so we can turn this into a “MOVIE” you’ll be living and enjoying over the next 10, 20, 30+ years. And unless you’re independently wealthy let’s also design and certify the role of “money” in your life so we can assure the financial abundance to support the lifestyle you want and the time you’ll enjoy along the way.
Time for professional support? Is someone needing assistance, confidence, to gain the future of their dreams? Phone or email me ...reach me today at...Brian Weatherdon, MA CFP CLU CPCA CRC, MDRT. 905-637-3500 x 223 627 Guelph Line, Burlington, Ontario. L7R 3M7. 1-877-937-3500 FREE x 223 Certified Financial Planner. Certified Retirement Coach. brian@SovereignWealth.ca