Pre-Retirement Planning Guide Younger Adults

Pre-Retirement Planning Guide Younger Adults Step 2: Clarify Goals

You’re never too young to start a bucket list. That’s because some things (such as bungee jumping) you probably want to knock out in your twenties. Women may want to have children before their forties – that sort of thing. A bucket list is comprised of all the things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” It should be a running list that you add to and check off throughout your lifetime.

If you haven’t started a bucket list yet, a good time to do this is during your pre-retirement planning. It might be better to complete some items, such as expensive travel or home renovations, while you’re still working. That way, you can pay for them with your current income rather than take on debt or withdraw excess funds during retirement.

Another reason to develop your bucket list with your pre-retirement plan is to give life after work a greater purpose. Many people don’t think past the joy of simply not having to get up every morning and go to work. For some, the appeal of retirement is to no longer have to deal with exhausting corporate politics. However, if these are the only reasons you’re looking forward to retirement, they will not likely be as fulfilling a couple of years into it.

In fact, many retirees find they miss both the structure of the workday as well as the responsibilities and intellectual stimulation of a job. If you don’t establish additional and specific goals for your retirement years, you may end up bored, watching television most of the day, short on social stimulation, and wondering where the years went.

Some common goals set by retirees include:

  • Volunteering
  • Home renovation/redecoration
  • Gardening
  • Reading/book club
  • Babysitting/spending time with grandchildren
  • Traveling
  • Writing a book/memoir
  • Learning another language
  • Painting/arts & crafts
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Carpentry
  • Regular socializing with friends/game night
  • Culture (theatre, symphony)
  • Regular exercise routine
  • Mentoring
  • Taking classes

Aim For Local

Not everyone wants to see springtime in Paris, so recognize that your bucket list is unique to you. If you’re running low on bucket list items, think locally and personally. For example, there might be places nearby you haven’t visited in years (or ever), such as a museum, art gallery, zoo, symphony, or opera. Even if you do attend regularly, consider taking your grandchildren with you during retirement to expose them to your passions and develop memories they will hold onto for life.

As you develop your bucket list, think about how activities could achieve additional goals, such as fitness and socialization. Some of the risks of growing older are increased health problems and potential isolation – particularly if you lose a partner or outlive your friends. Constantly expand your social network to include younger folks, particularly neighbors. Helping them out with occasional babysitting or taking care of pets while they are out of town help “pay it forward” for those elder years when you could use a bit of help yourself.

Achieving a successful retirement is all about good planning and preparation. You want to have money to enjoy your life, good health to keep staying active, and friends and loved ones to spend time with. These are the core elements that contribute to a long life, so start planning today by developing goals and seeing them through.


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