“How do I plan for retirement?” is a question that’s on a lot of folks’ minds. That’s good, and if you’re one of those people ‒ congratulations! You’re already ahead of the curve…
(You’d be surprised how many people don’t ask that question at all, or if they do, they don’t think in terms of planning. Instead it’s more of a desperate “How in the world can I ever hope to retire?”)
But here’s the thing: retirement planning doesn’t start with planning at all.
It starts with retirement.
Let me explain…
Like a Student A Without a Vision
Say a young person comes to you and says, “I want to go to college. Which one should I pick?”
You naturally say, “Well, what do you want to do professionally? What are your goals in life? What are you trying to do?”
Suppose they answer, “Uh, I don’t know. I have no idea, actually. I just know I need to attend a good school. So where should I go?”
You’d be thinking, “This is a kid without a vision. I’ve got to help them think differently about this. They don’t seem to get that college is a means to an end, so if they don’t know what end they’re going after, there’s no way I can help them get there.”
And you’d be right. By starting with where they’re at and ignoring where they’re trying to get to, there’s no way they can chart a path to their destination. They have no destination!
They need to think backwards…
A Destination Changes Everything
Because, once you have a clear picture of where you’re going, of what you want, you then have a basis on which to build a plan. In other words, you begin to reverse engineer your future lifestyle ‒ you think backwards.
This is true for your formal education. And it’s definitely true for your retirement. You can’t plan for your retirement… until you can see and define with true clarity just what that retirement will actually look like. Once you have that vision crystal clear in your mind, then the planning begins.
(For some of the details and the mindset of the planning process itself, see my blog posts here
That’s why I’m not writing now about how to plan for your retirement. I’m writing about knowing what it is you’re planning for! It may seem backwards, but this backwards thinking is actually the only way to set yourself up for effective planning.
So, when you see yourself moving into retirement, ask yourself these kinds of questions:
What kind of work do I want to do? (Most people enjoy various kinds of work ‒ retirement doesn’t mean you’re not working, it just means you’re not working out of necessity to support yourself financially.)
How do you see yourself occupying your time on a day-to-day basis? Be honest about this…Do you have a bucket list? Which of those things are best done when you’re retired?Where do you want to live ‒ and how many homes do you want to enjoy?How much time do you want to invest in your family and friends?What is a hobby you’ve always wanted to take up? Are there any hobbies you used to enjoy but have neglected?
How much travel do you want to do? (And if you hate traveling, don’t worry. You shouldn’t travel just because “retired people are supposed to travel.” Maybe you just want to hang out at your farm every single day…)
And so on…
Think deeply about these questions. Use your imagination to try to create your ideal retirement lifestyle. It’s super-critical work.
This all may seem kind of basic. (And it is.) But it’s impossible to plan for retirement without getting clear on these issues… and once you do get clarity, it’s a whole lot easier to actually get concrete about the planning process.
Otherwise, you’re just making an effective plan… to get nowhere. Or anywhere ‒ which amounts to the same thing.
Backwards… Is Really Forwards
Listen, the main thing that separates people who enjoy their retirement from those who don’t, is simply this: the ones who know clearly what they want in their retirement years and who make a workable plan to get there are the ones who enjoy it; the others don’t.
It’s not about I.Q., where you went to school, or even necessarily about your net worth. It’s about whether you’ve done the deep inner work of visualizing and being honest with yourself about what retirement means for you. Even if you had a billion dollars… but didnt know what to do with yourself and what you’re after… you’d have a miserable retirement.
Most folks don’t “begin with the end in mind,” as the late Stephen R. Covey put it. That sounds like backwards thinking to them. The reality, though, is that they are the ones going about it backwards. Retiring mentally, in your imagination, is the place to begin. Only then will you be ready to go back to the present moment of your life ‒ and plan how to get where you know you want to be.
That’s why your retirement is all about thinking backwards.
Give us a call at (801) 990-5109 orschedule your free appointment here
to build a personalized Wealth Plan. We’ll help you understand how RP Capital can help you plan effectively for your ideal retirement… by thinking backwards.