We have started into our busy fall presentation schedule, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet people who are entering or planning for their Victory Lap. We hear their stories and learn of their challenges. I thought I would share some observations or common themes we hear at most of our events.
Our audiences fall into 3 general categories; those getting ready to transition in VLR, who are anxious about the change, those who are successfully transitioning into VLR and those who are in VL but having challenges. Ideally we would have loved to talk to the group in the first and third group earlier so we could ease their anxiety and better prepare them for this life transition.
At a recent presentation we met a lady who was living life to its fullest in VLR. She was skydiving, surfing, travelling, doing yoga, eating right, what a wonderful life. However as we chatted we learned the lady was very comfortable with her lifestyle plan but was looking for more direction on her financial plan. While we have backgrounds in financial planning this is not our bailiwick, and we recommended that she see one of our friends in the financial services industry. If you are in your VLR this is no time for DIY financial planning especially if you have little or no experience in planning.
Not having a financial plan is unfortunately very common. Latest stats show only 51% of Canadians have a financial plan, and even fewer have a lifestyle plan. Neither of these stats are surprising to us but it does give us the opportunity to reinforce our message- A financial plan and lifestyle plan must work together. If you do not have a financial plan find a financial advisor who can get your financial house in order and give you good habits to go into retirement
Also develop a lifestyle plan, how do you want to spend the estimated 2400 hours of extra time you get each year in retirement, and if your retirement is as long as your working career that could be 72000 hours. A word of caution a lifestyle plan is not a bucket list, it is a plan to get the most out of your post work life in a financially responsible manner. Sure you can travel, get out of your comfort zone and lead an exciting post career life but make sure your lifestyle plan aligns with your financial capabilities, none of us want to be boomerang parents becoming a burden to our children when the money runs out. If you work in retirement, something we recommend by the way, if you need more details read the book! One obvious thing work can provide is money. If you have financial independence then work can give you “play money”, to help feed your lifestyle plan. Also a bucket list item may feed your sense of adventure, but may not be feeding your soul. Feeding your soul may include things like volunteering, giving to charities, improving your spiritually, getting healthy or most importantly spending time with family. Take a holistic view of your life as you plan and make sure all your values are satisfied.
We are often asked to provide details on how to make a lifestyle plan, we are working on a guide to help you with that, look for more details in 2019. Before you do any planning do these two things, first see your doctor and get a physical, VLR is far better if you are healthy. Second review your financial plan, understand what is in the realm of the possible.
Now you are ready to dive into your lifestyle plan so a couple of thoughts – Understand what is important to you, what are your values, figure out what is most important to you and apportion your time accordingly. What make you uncomfortable, is this something you want to challenge yourself on in retirement, learning to dance, a new language, trying a new sport, trying a new job, make a list. How are you going to maintain or strengthen relationships with friends and family. You may think no need to plan for this but believe us it is not as easy to maintain relationships especially if your friends are from work. Once you leave work the routine or flow you have with work friends will be thrown out of kilter, especially if your friends continue to work. Understand that time is required to maintain relationships, but it will be time well spent.
Find a reason to get out of bed every morning, or a “purpose”. Unlike work where everyday you got up for work to earn your pay cheque, finding purpose in VLR will probably require a variety of things that get you excited each day. Exercise, hopefully with a variety of activities, train for an event or competition, paint, write, volunteer, work, hopefully you can develop a long list to get you excited about getting your feet on the floor each morning.
There is a lot more to a lifestyle plan but hopefully this will get you started.
We will continue to provide tips and tactics in our blogs to help you on your way to a wonderful VLR.