If Tom Brady's recent retirement reversal after a mere 40 days can teach us anything, it is this: the decision to retire is much more than simply a financial decision. Instead, your decision to call it quits from your life's work must include broad considerations that run the gamut from emotional readiness to how you will actually spend your newly acquired free time.
While Tom Brady's unretirement is big news because, well it's Tom Brady, it is not at all uncommon. Many individuals who failed to fully consider what their post-work life will look, may end up retreating back to work.
To help you consider what your retirement may look like, below is a list of some initial considerations. The list draws its inspiration from the five Ws and one H of journalism. This list is by no means exhaustive and is meant to help you start thinking about what your retirement may look like.
Who - Who are you going to your spend time with? The people who you will surround yourself with in retirement is perhaps the most important consideration. If you are married, are there activities and pursuits that you expect to take part in together? Beyond your family, do you have any non-work friends that share your interests? Ideally these friends are also retired.
Where - Are you planning to retire someplace other than where you live right now? If so, have you considered the implications of that change on your family, friends, and daily routines? This decision is often a bone of contention between spouses and it is a difficult one to resolve if you haven't planned ahead.
What - What will you actually do in retirement and how will you spend your time all day? Will you travel extensively? Engage in volunteer work? Do you have a large number of hobbies and pursuits outside of work that you currently enjoy? If so, then you are one step ahead of the game. If not, then you should give this area some significant thought. It may be helpful to start with a blank calendar and sketch out how you may allocate all of those empty blocks of time.
Why - Knowing why you want to retire may come easy to you especially if you do not enjoy your work. For those who do enjoy their work, this is a more difficult question. Either way, you need to resolve this question fully because the time to answer it is certainly not after retirement begins.
When - Deciding when you fully retire or when you may start to ramp down at work (if you are fortunate enough to have this as an option) is a critical decision. It may depend on first resolving some of the other Ws on this list.
How - You need to have a very clear picture of exactly how you will pay for retirement. I spend a lot of time on this topic with my clients. If you plan to travel, exactly how much will that cost? What would you be willing to cut back on should the need arise? One of the best parts of retirement can be how little some of the most rewarding activities cost. This includes activities such as: exercise, reading, gardening, being outside, spending time with family and friends, volunteering, and many more.
If you want your retirement to last a bit longer than Tom Brady's did, consider what it will actually look, feel and be like before you make that leap. And before someone pays $500,000 for your "last" touchdown ball.
Breakwater Financial, LLC is a registered investment advisor. The content of this blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and is not to be considered investment, legal or tax advice. If you have any questions regarding this blog post, please contact us.