June 28, 2018 — LakeSinclair (LS) posted this challenging comment on the Topretirements Forum last week: “I’m eight days away from retirement after being a college administrator for 40 years. Any thoughts on a particularly profound way to spend my first day?”
What a great question, thanks LS. It is worthy of a lot of thought. Part of the answer has to do with how far you have come in your pre-retirement planning. If you did a good job of that, then Day 1 can be even more celebratory. You know where you are going to retire, how you are going to stay busy, and you are confident you are on a path to a financially secure retirement. If your planning is not so far along, or maybe not even started yet, then perhaps Day 1 involves some work in addition to the celebration of a long working career.
Our response – a middle course
Our initial response to LS’s question was aimed at someone assumed to be in the middle of that continuum – he has done some planning but still hasn’t reached a clear path through retirement preparation:
Congrats on completing your 40 year career, and upon starting a brand new chapter of life. One suggestion is to sleep in, read the paper over coffee, and take a walk with your partner if you have one. Then spend the rest of the morning going over your plan for how you are going to turn retirement into the next exciting chapter of your life. Enjoy lunch and a short nap, then do something you have always wanted to do. Maybe it is just experiencing a place in your area that you never thought you had the time to visit. Savor the moment!
Obviously this is just one take on how you might spend Day 1. You might have different ideas. If you feel your retirement preparation is really up to snuff, Day 1 might involve doing something very special, maybe a bucket list item like sky diving, taking a race driving course, cooking class, etc. We still like the idea of spending a little bit of time reviewing your retirement plan, though.
Retirement – An ongoing process
Retirement is not just a one and done process. Even with the best of planning things don’t always work out the way we thought they would. A financial issue you hadn’t seen might come up. You, your partner, or a family member might experience a serious health issue. You might retire to the Sunbelt or another area and realize you don’t like it. Or you might find out you are living too close, or too far away, from family. That’s why we encourage you to build regular planning sessions into your retirement, so you can adjust, regroup, and seize this opportunity for a do-over on life. Please see “Further Reading” for more suggestions on retirement planning.
Comments? What do you plan to do on Day 1 of retirement? Or if you are already retired, please share what you did: what worked and what you do differently? We look forward to all your thoughts in the Comments section below.