Balancing your life with your retirement vision

By Mariette

I don’t have a million dollars, nor will I anytime in the near future. That’s okay, it isn’t one of my goals. Yes, I want to have some money saved for retirement so that at the very least I only have to work part-time in the last part of my life, but I’m not obsessed about it the way many people seem to be. Partly that’s because I never felt that having a lot of money equaled happiness, this belief was reinforced by some of the rich people around me growing up, who seemed to be some of the most miserable people I knew. Certainly we need our basic necessities met in order to be happy: clothing, food, shelter, but beyond that happiness has far more to do with your state of mind and how you approach your life than how much money you have in the bank.

I bring this up because I think it’s really easy to get lost in stressing out about if you have “enough” money saved for retirement. Particularly since most people don’t have any kind of retirement vision, in which case, how do you know how much money you need and if it’s worth sacrificing so much now in order to have it.

For example, many Baby Boomers are now discovering that they want to work part-time when they are in their retirement years, even if they can afford not to. They are looking at the years ahead and they can’t imagine not working – they enjoy it and like how it keeps their minds active, keeps them engaged in the world and gives their lives meaning. Certainly this won’t be true for everyone, but if you enjoy your career, you may very well find yourself in this position. Or you may want to take advantage of retirement to start a new career.

Even if you don’t really want to work part-time, you may find, like I am, that it wouldn’t be so bad, because it just isn’t worth it to stress myself out either slaving away at a job I hate just because it has a high salary, or scrimping and saving to the point that I have no money left over to travel or enjoy myself, just so I can not work during retirement. Especially since I may not be healthy enough or have enough energy to do all of the things that I want to do in my life by that point. Therefore you need to look at what you want out of your life, not just retirement, but the whole thing. Once you’ve done that, your view of your retirement and where you need to make sacrifices in your life may be different than you thought it was. And it’s important to find this out sooner rather than later.

I suspect in fact that once you reach retirement if you don’t have some kind of vision for in place, some idea of what you want out of it, it would be easy to drift aimlessly, bored and not happy at all, wishing that you had done more, traveled more, enjoyed life more when you were young and more mobile, rather than pinching all of your pennies.

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