Are you looking forward to retirement? Actively planning retirement? Just vaguely contemplating retirement? Or worried about the possibility that retirement will be forced upon you? Whichever category you come into, the results of a study of retirees may interest you.
A hundred men and a hundred women were interviewed at length about their decisions and expectations leading up to retirement and their experiences after the big day. Their combined feedback led to the publication of a list of “retirement success criteria” which will be the subject of much interest.
This interest will not be lessened by the fact that the economic downturn since 2008 led to many people being forced into early and relatively unplanned retirement. I say relatively, but how many people really do plan their retirement? Experts have been saying for years that most people anyway put more time and effort into planning a holiday than planning for retirement.
I am reminded of a conversation I had a while ago with a retirement coach. He said: “the people who are happiest in retirement are not those with the money. They’re the ones with a plan.”
So … what should that plan contain? The research project I mentioned at the top of this piece came to the conclusion that these are the necessary elements of a happy and successful retirement:
- Being able to retire when one chooses
- Being able to retire at age 55 or earlier
- Being financially independent
- Having purposeful activities that fill at least 5 hours a week
- Having someone to rely on for emotional support through the inevitable changes
- Proactive health maintenance
- Having done adequate planning, both financial and lifestyle
- Having received pre-retirement advice or education
So … to what extent do we agree with this list? Some of the criteria are no-brainers with which we’d all agree, but some are more questionable, so I plan to consult some of the UK’s leading retirement coaches.
Watch this space!