My Facebook pal, let’s call her Ann, has retired after 24 years in a civil service job. Now she is ready to take on her next career – real estate agent. She has taken the courses and got her license, and she is raring to go! And more power to her for following her dream. But it’s not my dream.
Ann loves being around people, loves being part of their lives. In short, she is not like me at all!
Planning for retirement is like planning for so many other things. Weddings, education, vacations — for all these life-changing events it’s a highly personal journey. And when you’re on a journey, the first place to start is with a map. (I know, the first place to start is the internet, but go with me here). A personal map, that shows you all the marshy bits and pitfalls that you might not be aware of.
So a couple of days after my most recent birthday, I signed up for and filled out a Retirement Success Profile. This is a series of questions that focuses on how you feel about retirement, and therefore, how prepared you are for retirement. There are 15 factors that are examined and each is rated for your expectations, your present behaviour, and the variance between the two. A large variance between what you expect in retirement and what you are doing now means that you will have to do some work in that area to transition to a happy retirement.
I’m not going to give you a complete rundown on my scores because it would be of no more help or interest to you than if I showed you my x-rays.
Chatting with the counselor who explains the results was very helpful and interesting. But I found it most enlightening that the test scores showed three areas I should work on — focus factors:
- Health Perception
- Leisure Interests
- Replacement of Work Function
The first was a surprise to me because I’m in pretty good health and don’t complain about it much. But I also realize that this is a bit of a wake up call because I’m now aware that I’ve been taking my good health for granted and I know I’ll have to exercise more and work at staying healthy. The counselor pointed out that when I retire I will not be taking transit every day and will not be exposed to the amount of germs and viruses I am now (that knock me out on a regular and seasonal basis). Also I will have enough time to go to the gym and take fitness classes, maybe get a personal trainer to help me get back into shape.
The flag on Leisure Interests intrigues me. And it ties in with the replacement of work function. Because I’m kind of an introvert (a loner), I rely on my work for a lot of my socialization. I also rely on my workday to schedule my time. Again, the counselor pointed out a couple of things I hadn’t thought of: I’ll have time to take courses in anything that really interests me (currently I am quite fascinated by geology. Yes, I meant to say geology.) Also there are meet-up groups for various activities. I love to read (not really a hobby as such, I regard reading as necessary as breathing) so could join a book club. Also cooking classes could expand my repertoire, and maybe lead to a group of like-minded people to hang out with.
Obviously a lot to think about. But I have time to make some plans. The next question to be answered: Can I afford to retire?