Retirement: It’s not Just About the Money

May 1, 2018

Many factors go into retirement decisions. This article examines some of those factors. Being financially prepared is one aspect. Having your estate planning in order is another. But, being socially and psychologically ready for retirement are yet other aspects which people often don’t consider. Be ready for your next phase of life, this article will help you get there.

Retirement: It’s not Just About the Money

Compliments of Law Offices of Phillip T. Wylkan, Certified Elder Law Attorneys

By:  Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.


Many factors go into retirement decisions.

Often, people are stressed over whether they’ll have enough money or other resources to retire. That’s certainly one factor in retirement. And, given the savings statistics, this might be a factor contributing to retirement stress. According to a survey done in 2013, the mean amount of retirement savings for a family between 56 and 61 years of age was only $17,000. Here’s a link to an article based on the survey. But, many financial professionals would recommend far more in retirement savings. Here’s a link to an article in USA Today about how to calculate how much you’ll need to retire.

Let’s say you’ve followed the advice of financial experts and you are financially ready to retire. That’s just a first step. There are other pieces of the puzzle for you to relax in your retirement.

You need to have your estate planning up-to-date so that you can rest easy when you’re traveling or when you’re at home playing with your grandchildren.

You need to decide what you’ll do in retirement.

  • How will you spend your days?
    • Do you have hobbies?
    • Do you have activities which you enjoy?
  • How will you get social interaction?
    • Some retirees do this through religious groups
    • Some retirees go back to school
    • Some retirees join activity-based clubs, like golf, tennis, or swimming
  • How will you feel productive?
    • Some people work part-time
    • Some people travel the world doing volunteer work
    • Some people care for children or grandchildren, etc.

Financial issues are only one factor in choosing the timing of your retirement. Just because you have enough money in the bank or a fat pension does not mean that you’re ready to retire. You need to be psychologically and emotionally ready for the changes in retirement. It’s common for those in a workaday environment to think about what it would be like to be able to slow down. But, many people who have the opportunity to retire find that it is not what they expected. Some are unhappy and return to work for the interaction it provides.
Retirement, like anything else, requires a plan to get to your goal. It requires a goal and a plan for the financial aspects and it requires a goal and plan for the social and psychological aspects. Here’s an article from Psychology Today which discusses various aspects of the psychology of retirement. And here’s another article from Psychology Today which discusses different ways to look at retirement. What is retirement to you?  Is it a goal? A mindset? A process? A lifestyle? The article digs into each different way to look at retirement.

Regardless of your timing and your way of looking at retirement, you must have a plan. In that way, retirement is much like estate planning. If you want things to unfold the way you want, you need to have a plan and think it through. Retirement can be a special time in life, when you have more flexibility and freedom to do the things you want to do, if you plan for the financial, social, and psychological aspects of retirement. Wouldn’t you rather that than the unhappiness some people who haven’t planned experience?

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