Average life expectancy in the US has increased by 1 ½ years in the first decade of the 21st Century (2000-2010), with fully 2% of the population living to 100 years old or longer (US Census Bureau 2008). With average life expectancy nearing 80 years and climbing, planning for retirement has become more critical than ever, as you may live a third of your life after working.

Living longer means you need serious retirement planning

With life expectancy heading to and through age 100, the vision of sitting on a beach for 35 years is not exactly inspiring. The notion of being “on permanent vacation,” or living out retirement travelling the country in an RV as we often see in in the media, holds little appeal for folks who may spend 1/3rd of their life post-career. Something more fulfilling is needed.

“In fact, according to one study done by the University of Michigan, as many as 60% of early retirees said they were actually happier with their lives before they retired. The researchers concluded what psychologists have been telling us for years – people need a purpose.” ~ “What is Pretirement?” from the website Retirement 20/20

Plenty of research has shown this to be true. When we are unhappy with our work or career, we end up focusing on what we are “retiring from” rather than what we are “retiring to.” With the dramatic rise in life expectancy, it is very important to create a vision for the “retiring to” scenario. Further research shows that the “degree of thinking about retirement” is the most powerful predictor of taking retirement planning action steps. Our Financial Life Planning process helps clients identify and envision the life they would love to create for themselves – and then take the action steps aligned with that vision.

“Rather than trying to save so that we can live entirely off of those assets, try to save so we have room to do work that is personally meaningful and an expression of our priorities. It’s also saving so you can take the time to make the necessary transition. So if you’ve always wanted to be a teacher and you have enough savings to get a teaching certificate when you’re 57, or if you wanted to work with the environment, do a year-long internship at the wilderness society.” ~ Marc Freedman of encore.org

Set goals for longer living, not just for retiring

Here are just a few things that people do to help them fill their retirement with meaningful experiences:

  • Start a new business and be your own boss
  • Take a shot at your “Dream Career,” the one you set aside when you were young, to “make money.”
  • Volunteer with young people who need a mentor
  • Volunteer with other retirees who need a friend
  • Work part-time, for additional income and improved socialization

A certified personal financial planner can help you better understand your retirement needs and help you set goals for your retirement.

Tamarind Financial Planning is here for you, with individual financial planning strategies and personal investment management techniques to help you meet and exceed your retirement planning goals.