Getting the most out of your retirement

When you’re used to going to work every day, it can be daunting figuring out how to fill your day when work commitments stop. And it can be surprisingly easy to feel that you have lost your sense of purpose.

That’s why, before you head into retirement, it’s important to focus on what you want to do with your time. It’s also important to recognise the challenges that you can face when you have more time. It may sound great, but the natural inclination is often to be worried about spending money, when there’s no earned income coming in. So how do you get your retirement right?

Work, rest and play

You may remember the film The Wolf of Wall Street. The sales techniques illustrated in the film reminded me of some of the sales techniques that I learnt when I first started as a financial adviser. Well, we called them ‘sales concepts’ at the time.

One of my favourites was to use the strapline of the Mars Bar advert ‘work, rest and play’. I’d  draw a box with three sections, one for each of these words. I’d then ask the client how many hours they spent working, resting and playing each week and get them to insert the numbers. 

The whole point of this was to highlight the number of hours they spent working and then ask them how they would fund their retirement. But it’s also a good way to showcase just how much time we’ll have when we stop working. How do you fill in the time that was once dedicated to work?

Creating your retirement handbook

I was at an industry event and saw one of peers deliver an insightful presentation on how he coaches his clients who are approaching retirement age. Many of you will be familiar with pie charts that focus on asset allocation, like this:

But how often do we focus on an asset allocation style chart that focusses on family, friends, fitness, holidays etc like this:

I would call this your Purpose Pie Chart and I’m pretty sure that many haven’t ever done something like this. It focuses on the things that feed the soul – the things that you enjoy and the things that make you happy – and it will provide you with a guide for your retirement.

If you’re feeling unsure about having more time and how to fill it, it will help to have a plan like this. So produce your own Purpose Pie Chart (or a version thereof) and use your interests and hobbies to provide you with a clear path, a routine and that all important sense of purpose.

Something old, something new

And don’t forget to dedicate time to trying new things. It’s easy not to do something, it’s not easy to step outside of your comfort zone.

So why not learn something new; go and see new things. The point of doing new and different things is that you will find your conversations will become more productive, you will feel more relatable, you will feel more involved. And by taking the leap, you might just find the springboard to a new interest, an interesting person, or maybe it’ll be you who will become the point of interest.