That is exactly what I googled!  Unfortunately, almost everything that came up was focused on money.  Yes, there is no doubt, you cannot retire without the green stuff, but planning for retirement should also include some reflection on what you want to do when you’re retired.  What will your retirement look like?  What is retirement anyway?

Retirement certainly doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone.  When my mother (divorced) retired at 63 she was so ready just to sit back, relax and not be bound by anybody or anything.  I still don’t know exactly what she does everyday but she’s home a lot and she likes it.  My aunt (widowed) retired in her mid 50’s  from a government job and decided to study to be a wine sommelier.  She passed her certification with flying colours and now has contracts with the LCBO and various Wine Merchants.  She also volunteers with the Ottawa Little Theatre and has won awards for her costume design.  My mother-in law (also widowed) is an active quilter and crafter and also sings in a choir.  Of course, they all have a budget to adhere to and pensions to rely on, but all in all they are pretty happy.

One of the best ways to imagine your retirement is to eliminate the financial and health barriers and ask yourself … if I didn’t have to go to work anymore, what would I do?  What kind of life would I want?  What kind of things would I like to devote more time to and what are the things I have never done but always wanted to?  How do I want to spend the rest of my days?  This type of reflection can really help when you are trying to figure out how much money you need to retire and how you might actually start to set up your life to achieve your goals.  My best friend is taking scuba diving courses so she can get her teaching certification and earn some cash while living on some tropical island when she’s retired.

My dream life is living close to a beach in a warm climate, walking and swimming everyday. I would have few possessions but have the things I really want .. like my kindle, a laptop to write and stay in touch with the world, a partner to share my time with, good food, wine, coffee and visits with my kids, some paint, a guitar .. yep, that’s about it!  I don’t need to own a house…or even a car, a bicycle would do.

Ok…now I just need to figure out when – where – how?  I already know the why!  What do you really want to do when you retire?

Here’s another take on retirement … Maybe you just think you want to retire, when what you really need is a career change!  Happy dreaming ….