Life After Work

Planning for life after work means thinking about four major lifestyle areas: good health, personal relationships, activities and accommodation. In the sections that follow, each one is described in more detail. We’ve included a worksheet or questionnaire in each section to help you evaluate your current lifestyle and plan for your future in retirement. Use the Lifestyle Action Plan to summarize and prioritize your plan.

1. Good Health

Health is your mental and physical well-being. It’s obvious that if you don’t pay attention to your health, you may not be around to worry about the other lifestyle areas. If you want to enjoy reasonable health as you move into retirement, you may want to change your lifestyle now to avoid having to adapt your lifestyle later due to health problems.

2. Personal Relationships

Are your relationships with your spouse/partner, family and friends able to provide you with psychological support in retirement? The relationships you have with your spouse or partner, your family and your friends will undergo changes when you retire. How you deal with those changes will be important for you to enjoy a happy retirement.

3. Stay Active

It’s important to replace your present job with meaningful activities whether paid or unpaid. If you’re still five or ten years away from retirement, the job that you’re occupying right now is very important and is very instrumental to your retirement plans. When you retire, depending on your individual circumstances and personal desires, you’ll have many optional activities to consider.

4. Accommodation

Your choices for accommodation may be plentiful, but will likely be influenced by other considerations. This area deals with all the accommodation implications of retirement: where you live now, where you will live in retirement and all the issues in between.

The Interdependence of Lifestyle Elements

The four lifestyle areas listed above are interdependent. In other words, one area cannot be altered without affecting the others. For example:

  • The state of your health will certainly have an effect on where you live and may be a deciding factor in the location and type of housing you will need. It could affect the kind of relationships you’ll have with other people and the kinds of activities you’ll be able to pursue.
  • Health can influence your present job or any post-retirement employment activities you may have planned; it can also affect the financial side of your plan for retirement.
  • Your personal relationships will be dependent, to some extent, on the state of your health. Your health affects where you live and the kinds of activities you do, which are dependent on the personal relationships that you have.

Essentials and Options

Keep in mind that in planning for retirement, there are essential things that you must do and there are optional things that you can do. For example, it is essential that at some stage you make a decision about where you want to live when you retire. If you intend to stay where you’re presently living, then that's okay, but it is a decision that you must make.

Optional things that you can do are considered secondary issues. For example, you can decide whether you want to devote your time to improving your golfing skills or whether you should spend your time in a yoga studio in your rocking chair or at a community centre as a volunteer. Your retirement world is not going to fall apart if you don’t make a decision on an optional issue.