I believe that the actual art and science of planning for retirement is intuitively understood but rarely practiced outside the financial arena. To me this is the holy grail of retirement. Assuming you want your retirement to be a fresh start and have lofty aspirations of the many things you can do and accomplish with your new-found freedom, planning will be the avenue of what to do, when, to maximize what you get done as a retiree.

Starting with a strong vision of your desired state is something we used to teach new project managers, i.e. start by describing what success looks like. This applies to a project but the same applies to life planning – possibly think of having a personal mission statement. Mr. Money Mustache (Peter Adeney) has a recent blog where he writes about this as a life lesson.

Translating from your passions and what you want your legacy to be, you then need to pull together a complete list. You could start with a blank piece of paper and brainstorm this but I find it useful to use a set of categories (life buckets or life arenas) and some questions of things to ponder when you’re pulling together your list.

One of the Retirement Options assessment tools looks at a number of factors under each life arena and this is also useful information especially in how your thinking and responses compare to everyone else that has taken the assessment.

After you have a strong vision on what you want to accomplish and why, and a laundry list of your activities, I think there’s significant value in then going through a structured planning exercise. A plan can have multiple time horizons – a year, 5 years, a month… I would focus on a year at first, then get it down to monthly and weekly views so that you can watch tasks and see progress.

A plan is the starting point for what’s possible. No plan is perfect because it is based on assumptions and estimates. How much time is required and what is the financial commitment? Stuff happens and things will change along the way – no plan or amount of planning is impervious to this. That’s not a reason to not plan but is a reason to revisit your plan as needed as well as focus on shorter time horizons.

I plan to develop and document an approach with recommended tools for do-it-yourself “life” planning that incorporates techniques businesses use for strategic planning, program and project management, and newest agile approaches to planning. I believe all are relevant and useful for life planning. Email me for more information pertaining to the diagram below.

I’d love for you to be part of this journey. Please get in touch with me and I’ll keep you updated on progress.

How I can help:

  • Provide an online assessment of your readiness for retirement across a researched set of life arenas
  • Provide recommendations on areas that research indicates need more of your consideration
  • Include you as a trial client in helping develop a DIY planning process.