What direction are you going?

Are you retiring from something, or retiring to something?

The conversations I have before retirement tell me a lot about how fulfilling a retirement is going to be. Over the years, I have come to learn that, at one extreme, some people retire because they hate working, whilst, at the other extreme, there are things that people want to do, and work is preventing them from doing it.

One of my clients retired because he felt that he only had so many years of good health, and there are a lot of shipwrecks which he hadn’t been able to dive down to see in the Mediterranean (each to their own, and if you’re reading, you know who you are!) and I have spoken to many who simply felt that the intensity of work, the relentless introduction of new systems and the lack of respect for their experience had reached a tipping point.

Most of us are somewhere between the two extremes.

What my experience has told me is that those who are retiring to something are the ones who have the fulfilling retirements. It’s important to know what it is that you want to do, and to spend time working this out (together with your partner, if you have one).

Ironically, those, who know what they are retiring to, seem to put up with what they are retiring from a little better. I suppose it is easy to put up with the downside of working when you know what you are working for, and that you’ll reap the rewards when you do stop.

It’s essential to start to plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement at the same time, or before, you start to plan for the financial aspects. The key to a satisfying life after work is a good plan.

Philip Wise | philip@sussexretirement.co.uk

Managing Director and Chartered Financial Planner

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