Life is full of transitions—retirement is one of them. Graduating from college, choosing a career path, buying a house, marriage, divorce, the death of loved ones all mark our growth, successes, and learning experiences. The opportunities we face and the decisions we’ve made lead us where we are at this moment.
Perhaps you’re marveling at your good fortune. Or maybe you’re less than satisfied with the way things have turned out. Either way, the prospect of retirement brings a strange, new dimension to life and can leave you wondering: now what?
Even if you’ve made plans for your golden years, the reality of retirement may cause you to question your original beliefs. What if babysitting your grandchildren turns out to be too stressful? Although spending two months in Italy has always been your dream, what will you do the other ten months? How can you ensure that your life is rich and fulfilling?
According to the life expectancy calculator on the Social Security website, “A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6. And those are just averages. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past 95.”
Important questions to ask yourself
The future depends on many variables. Spending a little time to ask yourself some important questions can help you create a vision that will take you through the next two or three decades.
- How is your physical and emotional health? Are you in good shape? Do you need to deal with some health issues that impact your ability to exercise and have fun?
- Do you have enough money to meet your retirement dreams, or will you need to work part time? If you need to work, what type of work would you like to do?
- Have you taken the time to get your affairs in order? Do you have a will and trust and clarity about your last wishes?
- Is there a support system you can count on? Is spending time with friends and family something you do often? Would your life be enriched by having a pet?
- How will you fill your days? Are there classes you’d like to take? A hobby you would like to pursue? An organization where you can volunteer? What will you do for fun?
- What are your feelings about getting older? Are you satisfied with how you look and what you wear, or is it time for a makeover?
Answering these questions will help you determine where to focus your time and energy and at least get you started on making the most of the rest of your life.