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Why Plan for Retirement? The Laterlife Guide

We're retiring earlier, relatively, and fitter than any generation before us has been able to do. Actuarially, women who live until 60 can expect to be here for another 27 years and men who are still here at 60 can look forward to another 24 years. Either way, it's a long time to be miserable, so we want to enjoy our retirement and lead an active lifestyle.

That's easy to say and, indeed, it's easy to drift into retirement. But how much better it is to make conscious choices, do some planning and so make the most of this next phase in our lives. Retirement is a time of opportunity and choice - make the right choices and we can be fulfilled in retirement and really enjoy it.

It really is worth doing a bit of retirement planning to make sure we get the most out of our retirement. Think about all the time that most of us spend planning our annual holiday. We get the brochures, talk to travel agents and other people, trawl through the internet and compare different options. Why do we do this? We do so to make sure that we make the right choice and so enjoy the holiday. Our holiday will probably last about two weeks - 14 or 15 days. Retirement could last 10,000 days, so it's worth spending some time planning it so that we make the right choices and so enjoy it to the full.

Retirement is a time of opportunity and choice. There is the opportunity to do all those things that we've always wanted to do but never had the time because of the demands of work. We also make choices and we can choose to take whichever opportunities that we like. For probably the first time in our lives there will be no-one demanding our time - we can choose how to spend it.

In order to make the best choices we need to think about them and plan them - just as we plan our annual holiday. If we don't, there is a greater chance that we will make bad choices by default. Retirement is to be enjoyed and whilst there is, of course, the opportunity to be spontaneous - indeed, that's one of the great benefits of retirement - we will enjoy it more if we make the right choices.

We might feel that it doesn't matter and that, if we make the wrong choice, we can stop doing whatever it is and do something else. That is, of course, true. However, in the meantime we might well have invested time, energy, emotional resources and, not least, money before we realise that we have made a mistake. It's far better to make the right choices in the first place.

Planning retirement, therefore, will help us to make the correct choices and, therefore,  enjoy it more. The goal of retirement is to enjoy it and get fulfilment from it. We have worked all our lives and, hopefully enjoyed at least parts of that work if not all of it. Whether we have or not, it's been largely dictated by other people. In retirement, you're the boss and you can decide how best to enjoy it and be fulfilled by it.

We said earlier that retirement is a time of opportunity - we have the opportunity to do all those things that we've always wanted to do. But the first opportunity is that of being able to decide exactly how we are going to spend our time. Retirement planning is the best tool that we have in order to make the most of that opportunity.

So read the rest of this Guide to 'Planning Retirement by clicking on the link below or in the sub-navigation at the top left of the page. It will give you food for thought so that you can then make your own plan. You might also like to consider a Planning Retirement workshop. You will be able to spend the day thinking, planning and discussing your retirement and gleaning ideas from others about how to best enjoy the rest of your life. It's well worth spending one day to make the most of the next 10,000!

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