Create a Retirement Road Map with a Mission Statement as Your Guide
A lot of retirement planning advice is geared toward people who are employed full time, or toward life when full-time employment comes to an end. Of course, planning for the basics like food, shelter, and health care is important, but it shouldn’t just be about focusing on the numbers.
In fact, focusing on the numbers is often what makes people shy away from retirement planning, especially those who aren’t mathematically inclined. Professional financial planners will put numbers second, and encourage their clients to start with a mission statement.
Should You Choose to Accept It…
The question you need to ask yourself, before you even start crunching numbers, is “What am I going to do when I retire?” When you can answer that question, write it down to start off your retirement mission statement.
The mission statement should act as a roadmap for the next phase of your life, when you dial down or stop working altogether. It should spell out your goals, whatever they may be. This essential first step will set the tone and direction for your retirement, and by committing it to paper (or computer screen), you start to make it real.
Plotting the Journey
Your mission statement doesn’t have to be long. Retirement professionals will tell you to keep it short— perhaps a page, with just an outline of what your plans are for retirement. That way, as your priorities shift or your goals change, you’ll have the flexibility to adjust it.
The mission statement should really be about your nonfinancial goals. When you’re sketching it out, ask yourself: Do I plan to work? If so, how much? Do I want to travel? Do charity work? Sell my home or keep living in it? Do I want to relocate?
Once you spell out these goals, then you’ll be in a better position to start looking at some numbers. You’ll have a better handle on what it will take to achieve your goals financially, which is a great head start and will set you on a path to retiring on your terms.