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How to Create a Retirement Vision Statement

No matter who you are, retirement planning is a must. Whether you’re just around the corner from retirement or you have a few more decades, it is never too soon to start preparing for your golden years. how to create a retirement vision statement 3

However, while most individuals focus on the financial side of things, what will you actually do in retirement? How will you spend your days? What kinds of hobbies or interests will you pursue? If you’re like most pre-retirees, you might have some thoughts on the topic, but nothing set in stone. 

To help you adjust to the new normal that comes with retirement, we’re going to outline the process of creating a “retirement vision statement.” This statement will help you figure out the value that comes from retiring. 

Once you stop working, it can be hard to adjust to a more flexible and freeform lifestyle. A vision statement can make the transition easier. Here is how you can create your own. 

What is a Retirement Vision Statement?

Technically speaking, there is no formal method for creating a retirement vision statement. However, the idea is that you will create a general outline of how you plan to spend your golden years. 

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Your vision statement can be broad and abstract, or it can be refined and highly detailed. There are no right or wrong answers, so there is a lot of room for flexibility and creativity. 

So, if there is no “official” way to create a vision statement, why do you need one? Here are a few of the benefits you can expect from developing a vision for your retirement. 

  • Fulfillment - While it might be nice to lay around the house all day and not go into work, most individuals miss the structure and comfort of a consistent schedule. Without any goals for your retirement, it’s too easy to fall into a general sense of malaise. 
  • Legacy - As you near the end of your life, it is only natural to consider what you will leave behind. Retirement is the perfect time to work on building a legacy. It is up to you to determine how you want to be remembered. 
  • Longevity - If you are familiar with the Japanese term of Ikigai, you know that it means to “live with purpose.” Multiple studies have shown that elderly individuals who have a reason to get up in the morning will live longer than those who don’t. Having a vision statement helps you stay active and healthy well into your twilight years. 

Overall, we recommend viewing the vision statement as an investment in yourself. While you don’t have to change the world or accomplish great feats during retirement, your days should ideally be spent on something more than just relaxing and letting time pass. 

Think of it this way; when you look back on your retirement, do you want to be satisfied with how you spent your time? Without a vision statement, these years might pass you by before you’re ready. 

How to Create a Retirement Vision Statement

Now that you understand the value of a vision statement, let’s go over how to create one. Since there are no rules to this process, feel free to add or remove any elements as you see fit. You are the one who has to follow through on your statement, so make sure that it is something you want to accomplish. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Step One: Assess Your Priorities

As you start preparing for retirement, you will need to figure out which elements are the most important to you. Ideally, you’ll already have some ideas that you’ve been working toward, such as traveling the world, moving to a smaller home or working on a hobby.  

While the details will differ between individuals, here is a quick overview of some common priorities that many people focus on during retirement. 

Health

It’s no secret that getting older means that your body starts to break down. It becomes harder to do the activities you once did, your energy levels begin to decrease, and you might develop chronic pain or soreness. 

If you want to enjoy as much of your retirement as possible, you have to stay healthy. A significant component of your vision statement should be how to maintain your body as you get older. The two primary elements of a healthy lifestyle include diet and exercise, so how will incorporate them into your routine? 

Perhaps you can join a walking group to stay active and social. Another option might be to cut out sugar and lower your carb intake. Maybe you take up an outdoor sport like hiking or cycling. 

Whatever the case may be, be sure that it fits within your lifestyle. Also, keep in mind that any substantial changes will have to be incremental if you want them to stick. 

For example, if your diet is unhealthy right now, don’t expect to start eating vegetables once you stop working. If anything, it will be harder to maintain healthy habits when you have more free time. 

Another health component to pay attention to is disease. As you get older, you’ll have a heightened risk for various ailments, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. Be sure to schedule visits with your doctor to spot any potential problems before they get too big. 

Finances

While you should be saving money for retirement, you also need to figure out how you will spend those funds once you stop working. Another valuable component of your retirement vision statement should be a budget. Since you don’t know how long your money will have to last, you need to be careful not to spend it too quickly. 

When looking at your financial situation, consider these elements: 

  • Social Security - How much will you be making from social security? Fortunately, you can determine the amount before you retire, which will help you plan better. 
  • Individual Retirement Accounts - Traditional IRAs come with required minimum distributions, while Roth accounts don’t. Thanks to the Tax Act of 2019, RMDs don’t kick in until after you turn 72, so plan accordingly. 
  • Stocks and Investments - You want to keep money in an investment account for as long as possible. If you can, try and use dividends or earnings as income while keeping the principal invested. 

Other points to consider when planning for your financial future can include high-yield investments like real estate or getting a part-time job. In many cases, a job can provide structure and social interaction. 

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Even if you don’t need the money, there can be other reasons to keep working during retirement. The primary benefit is that you have more flexibility regarding your employment opportunities. 

Charity

Once you start having more free time, you may decide to use some of those hours for charity work. Volunteering at a nonprofit can provide significant benefits while giving back to the community. Many retirees find joy and fulfillment through charity, regardless of the type of work they are doing. 

If a charity does sound appealing, we recommend focusing on organizations that speak to your passions. For example, if you love nature, a nonprofit that allows you to spend time outdoors will be perfect. Perhaps you can participate in park cleanups or wildlife preservation. 

Another element to consider is combining a hobby with charity work. For example, if you like to paint, perhaps you could donate your paintings to a nonprofit. Then, the organization can try selling them at an art show or use the artwork as decor for its offices. Either way, it’s a win-win situation. 

Hobbies

Speaking of hobbies, what activities will bring you the most joy during retirement? Chances are that you have a hobby already, and retiring will only enable you to focus on it more. If you don’t have a hobby yet, now is the perfect time to develop one. 

Start by listing out your passions and determine which activities align with them. For example, if you’re passionate about cars, maybe your hobby could be restoring older vehicles.

Not only can a hobby be rewarding, but it can also ensure that you’re productive during retirement. While rest and relaxation are vital, they will start to feel stagnant and unrewarding over time. Doing something productive can help you feel more accomplished during your golden years. 

Experiences

For some retirees, this time is meant for traveling. While it was next to impossible to see the world while you were employed, retirement ensures that you have more than enough free time to explore the world. 

Even if traveling isn’t your goal, now is an excellent time to seek out unique and fulfilling experiences. Perhaps you might try skydiving. Maybe you’ll learn to scuba dive. If there are any exciting activities on your bucket list, retirement might be the best time to cross them off. 

Best of all, experiences only get better with age. If you spend most of your money on physical items (i.e., a new car or TV), it can only last so long. However, a fun experience will stick in your mind for the rest of your life. 

Step Two: Assess Your Means

During the first step, you can feel free to get as creative as possible. During this phase, however, you may need to temper your expectations. While you may have a ton of exotic places on your travel list, you might not have the funds to make it to all of them. 


Although this step might not be as fun or exciting as the first, it is just as necessary. Overall, it’s better to have realistic goals that you can achieve, rather than reaching for those that might be impossible. When assessing your means, be sure to consider the following categories:

  • Financial Strength - What will your average income be like during retirement? How much of that money will be disposable? Also, how easy will it be to replenish any of these funds?
  • Physical Strength - Ideally, with a healthy lifestyle, you could stay active well into your 70s and 80s. However, physical ailments and diseases can potentially derail your plans, so you have to plan accordingly. 
  • Mental Strength - As you get older, it’s not just your body that will start to decline. Mental acuity can degrade as well, so you might be limited in some of your options. Also, keep in mind that your mental stamina can worsen over time. So, even if you are as sharp as ever, you might not have the energy to follow through. 

Step Three: Break Down Your Objectives

Once you know what you want to do and you know that you have the means to do it, the next part is to figure out how. For example, if you do want to travel the world, what will your itinerary be for each trip? 

Which continents will you visit first, and why? What kind of travel arrangements will you have to make? Will you need to adjust your plans based on physical limitations (i.e., a cane)?

When breaking down your retirement vision statement, it helps to look at it from both a short and long-term perspective. We recommend starting big and moving smaller. For example, plot out the next five or 10 years of your retirement, focusing on the big goals. 

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From there, look at what you can achieve in the next year or so. Then, you can break down the year by month and even by day. Once you do all of that, you can make sure that you’re on track to achieve your objectives and live your perfect retirement. 

Contact NextGen Wealth Today

No matter how far away from retirement you are, now is the time to start planning. At NextGen Wealth, we can help you make the right moves to ensure that you can fulfill your vision statement as much as possible. Don’t leave your retirement up to chance - let us help make your dreams a reality. 

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About the Author

Aurtho Clint Haynes, CFPThis article was written by Clint Haynes, CFP®. Clint is a Certified Financial Planner® and Founder of NextGen Wealth. You can learn more about Clint by reading his full bio here.

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