I write often about financial strategies that help deliver successful retirements. The biggest concern for retirement is still whether the tidy nest egg will outlast the family.

Let’s set aside the money matters for now and turn all attention to planning key ‘lifestyle’ activities. Those suitable for your retirement happiness and well being.

Heaps of priorities could be on your mind. That is, life pursuits for both your short and long term visions. Some retirees prefer to emphasize travel plans. Others look forward to filling in the golf course score sheet. Spending more quality time with the family makes sense for many. Perhaps, trying your hand at a new or different vocation is in the cards.

Simply getting added rest is also a valid pursuit. Hopefully, there are very few obstacles that hold you back at devising a fitting retirement lifestyle. Two top missions are to maintain good health and personal satisfaction. Not always easy tasks.

A path chosen by some families is to develop a series of five to 10-year road maps within the money comfort, such as activities for ages “60 to 64”, “65 to 69” and so on.

I suggest sketching out your lifestyle ‘bucket list’ and revisiting it periodically. Begin two to five years before your projected retirement. There is no one list of activities that fits all cases. It will likely become your work in progress. Grouping particular lifestyle factors is about focusing on individual combinations and considerations.

For example, trying to diminish your present work life gradually, say over one to three years, is a practical approach. A series of short sabbaticals is another method to sample whether the proposed lifestyle is sensible for you and the family.

I’m aware of lifestyle issues being described as three stages, each decreasing in activity level over time. One colourful depiction paints the picture like this:

  • Go-go years.
  • Slow-go years.
  • No-go years.

Ascertain which stages you and the family now occupy. Changes in personal health can have dramatic implications on the duration of each stage. The onset of specific ailments, say dementia or mobility issues, can alter activity levels and costs to treat the resulting conditions. Sometimes the expenses can last for years, even decades. Hence, attend to the important activities on your bucket list as early as possible. Also anticipate your changes and ramifications to become more frequent.

Retirement road maps are personalized and unique processes. Where there is a spouse, both ought to be involved in the planning. No doubt there will be compromises, perhaps, even different needs and projected retirement dates to address. Chances are that one spouse is more adapt in dealing with money issues while the other with lifestyle components.

A path chosen by some families is to develop five or 10-year road maps within the money comfort. Such as activities for ages “60 to 64”, “65 to 69” and so on. Of course, pursuing retirement won’t make you happy if you’re not already happy before taking on the big step.

I highlight some important lifestyle questions for those mulling retirement, or now retired:

  • Why are you contemplating retirement now?
  • What is exciting about your retirement lifestyle prospects?
  • What will you truly miss about your work life?
  • What accomplishments do you envision during retirement?
  • How will your retirement affect your spouse and family?
  • How will you replace or continue fulfillment from work?

Many retirees are not fully conversant with how to occupy their new spare time. Ensure that you truly enjoy the things on your bucket list. There is a lot of time to fill.

Some thoughtful actions to pursue during retirement may include:

  • Develop a vision for your life journey. Know your interests, likes, dislikes and limitations.
  • Emphasize pursuit of your dreams. Prioritize life values you cherish and strive toward.
  • Ensure your life activities matter. Appreciate a handful of close friends.
  • Treat nutrition and fitness as staples. Evolve some hobbies and activities with your spouse.
  • Become a mentor. Give some of your time back to community.
  • Take a course. Teach a course.
  • Write a commentary on a topic of interest. Read plenty of new material.
  • Do something unexpected for a needy person. Help out a charitable cause.

Downsizing or renovating your home can be an integral part of the lifestyle projects. Stay in it as long as you can, although it may need refurbishing for medical conditions. Maintain a reliable network of contacts with friends, family and colleagues. Keep apprised on access and availability to health facilities that may be required. Find time to bolster your mental health and intellectual stimulation.

There is no shortage of relevant ideas to help shape your lifestyle road map. Establish a positive outlook and attitude about retirement and aging. Treat and accept your physical and mental changes as part of the process. Strive for satisfying relationships and personal tasks

Be realistic about estimating costs of your lifestyle activities, especially health and travel. No doubt, lifestyle road maps will need periodic tweaks or updates. Lifestyle bucket lists can turn out as important, if not more so, than the companion financial considerations.

A 60-year old can easily live another 20 to 30 years, perhaps more. Planning your lifestyle in retirement can be a long journey full of excitement, along with some bumps and curve balls. One key is to survive them as best as you can.

About Adrian Mastracci, Discretionary Portfolio Manager, B.E.E., MBA  My expertise in the investment and financial advisory profession began in 1972. I graduated with the Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from General Motors Institute in 1971. I then attended the University of British Columbia, graduating with the MBA in 1972. I have attained the “Discretionary Portfolio Manager” professional designation. I am committed to offering clients the highest standard of personal service by providing prompt, courteous and professional attention. My advice is objective, unbiased and without conflicts of interest. I’m part of a team that delivers comprehensive services and best value in managing client wealth.