Retirement is more than just saving enough for the future

Retirement has many emotions attached to it, including fear, uncertainty and preoccupation. Many young people feel that retirement is a lifetime away and, therefore, all planning and preparation can be postponed, but you are never too young to start saving for retirement.

Retirement has many emotions attached to it, including fear, uncertainty and preoccupation. Many young people feel that retirement is a lifetime away and, therefore, all planning and preparation can be postponed, but you are never too young to start saving for retirement.

When one retires, it is usually a difficult time and it requires a considerable amount of adjustment.

Retirement does not need to be gloomy. With proper preparation and planning, retirement could be a wonderful new beginning.

But how can one prepare for one's retirement?

Many people make the mistake of believing that planning for retirement means only saving enough for the future. I believe that to see retirement planning only on the basis of financial arrangements is like trying to prepare soup using only boiling water -a necessary component, but by far not the only ingredient.

Planning for retirement should include preparing for all the psychological aspects of such an important transitional time in one's life. A successful transition should include the many different psychological aspects that need to be taken into consideration.

When we look at retirement as a process, we need to consider our own needs to cope with the changes that face us. We need to make sense of this new reality and learn to adjust. Allowing for this transitional period is key. Until a person makes a successful transition into retirement, that individual risks feelings of disappointment, fear and even worthlessness due to the lack of integration and assimilation into his new lifestyle.

Proper financial planning for retirement is also essential for easing into one's retirement effectively. Adequate and timely financial planning will allow you to adjust to your retirement with a positive outlook and a whole new world of possibilities to enjoy life instead of struggling to make ends meet.

Some important steps that go into planning for your finances are:

l Define goals and expectations: What you want to do when you retire and how much money you will need.

l Create a financial strategy for: how you are going to ensure that you have enough money to meet your goals.

l Work closely with your financial adviser to find the most effective and efficient investment tools and advice

Remember that while your goals and expectations need to be realistic, retirement can also be a new beginning - a new stage in your life where your enjoyment and fulfillment take centre stage and you set out to explore new possibilities.

With the right approach, right tools and right attitude, retirement could very well be the best time of your life.

l Hirsch is a director of Pioneer Financial Planning. Visit www.pioneer.co.za

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