As you plan your life in retirement, think about what you will do with your time.

While you may have a long to-do list of projects around the house, will that be enough to fulfill you?

As I help clients estimate how much money they will need in retirement, I ask how they will spend their time.

Some anticipate playing golf.

Others plan on traveling.

And some plan on being active grandparents.

When I ask if those things will be enough to keep them fulfilled (in other words, will they miss work), I often receive one of two reactions:

1- a perplexed look from someone who never thought about the amount of time they spend at work and the relationships they have built around work; or

2- an immediate “no” from those tired of the grind and toxic relationships at work.

As our conversation continues, people who define themselves through their work tend to miss work the most.

It’s part of their identity.

Typically, it’s the person at a senior level or business owner.

(Usually, the latter person is so consumed with due diligence to sell their business that they don’t have time to think about what they’ll do after it’s sold.)

If you’re considering retiring and know most of your time and relationships revolve around work, start planning your work-life after retirement.

In other words, what will be your occupation after you retire from your current work?

Here are some suggestions to consider and ways to make it happen.

Will you mentor the next generation?

Becoming active in a professional organization now will help you make the connections to accomplish this goal when you retire.

Will you begin a consulting practice?

If you’re perceived as an expert in your industry, then consulting may be a way to spend your work-life after retirement.

Begin speaking with others who have gone in this direction to determine your service offerings and fees.

Will you return to school?

Maybe there’s an industry you’re interested in that is different than how you’ve spent your career, but you need additional training—for example, organic farming or photography.

Start exploring programs at various colleges to plan for enrollment requirements.

Will you begin a business (or another business)?

Maybe your adult child has a great business concept but needs help taking it to the next level.

Or perhaps you have a business concept you’ve been toying with over the years.

In either scenario, evaluate how much personal financial risk you can or are willing to take with a new business.

Will you become philanthropic?

List nonprofit organizations you are passionate about and start finding ways to become active on their committees and, eventually, on the Board of Directors.

If you’re still not on board with defining your work-life after retirement and think you will be fine with your list of things to do around the house, then re-evaluate after a year in retirement.

It’s your retirement years. There is no right way or wrong way to retire.

You can do whatever you want as long as your mental and physical health allows you.

Stay PEF (positive, enthusiastic, and focused) and enjoy the journey of retirement.

(Update to original post from December 20, 2017)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”