Retirement planning advice seems to fall into one of two areas, financial advice and dream determination. Though both of these are important to having a great retirement, nobody talks about how you will satisfy your emotional needs once you retire. I understand from first hand experience the importance of this, having had a rough time transitioning into my retirement until I realized what was missing in my life. In planning for your retirement, be sure that you not only think of your dreams, but also how your emotional needs will be met.
Let's first talk about dreams. We all understand what they are. They are things you desire in your life. Some dreams deal with what we want now and others revolve around how we envision our future. Though you may have clear dreams right now, examining your past dreams should make you realize that they can, and often do, change. You may be dreaming of a retirement home on the beach right now, but you can change your mind at some point in the future and dream of owning a condo on a ski slope instead. What we want will change over time as we change so, when you talk about and plan for your retirement dreams, keep in mind that those desires may change.
Emotional needs, on the other hand, are those things that you must have or else discomfort will result. Contrary to dreams, needs must be met throughout your life and you cannot substitute one for another. They do not change. They are based on your value system and what is important to you,
Our most basic human needs are physiological in nature. Food, water, and sleep fall into this category. For the purpose of this article, I am not referring to these. The emotional needs I am speaking of here are less obvious but just as important to your happiness in life. Social connections, a sense of order, status,
a sense of achievement, and feeling of self worth are examples of things we must have but are more emotional in nature rather than basic biological survival requirements.
Can you see why needs cannot be changed or substituted for? You cannot decide to stop eating and substitute it with sleep. By the same token, if being of service to others is part of your value system you must continually find ways to satisfy that emotional need. It is part of who you are. If you need a sense of order, you cannot exchange that for a sense of achievement instead.
I challenge you to take a few minutes to generate a list of at least 10 emotional needs that you have and then think of how you will satisfy them in retirement. Which of these needs are satisfied primarily through your career? How will those needs be met once your career ends?
These are important considerations when formulating your retirement life plan. Be sure to think about your emotional needs, in addition to planning for your dreams, if you want to be among the group of people who claim “Retirement is the most satisfying phase of my life. "
Tony Lacertosa, M. A. is a retired educator and certified life coach who specializes in retirement lifestyle planning. Using his step by step approach, individuals and couples can develop a specific plan for their ideal retirement. They can then use this plan to help them make informed decisions regarding how to save for and then withdraw from their retirement investments. He also works with financial advisers whose clients can benefit from his life planning services. For more information and to download a free report on planning for a happy retirement, go to his website http://unretirementcoach.com For a more detailed guide to retirement life planning, you can order his ebook from that site as well.