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Planning Retirement Online

The Essentials of Retirement

There are a number of things that we want and, indeed, need to do in retirement if we are to make the most of it. There are four means and one end, with the end being to ENJOY IT! You're allowed to do what you want to (providing it's legal, of course!) and, after all, whose business is it if you read or play on the computer until 4am and then sleep until noon?

The four means that will help us to achieve that end, of enjoying retirement, are as follows:

Why Plan for Retirement? links

Make the Most of our Money. Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy choices - the more money we have the more choice we have. So if we manage our money effectively in retirement and make the most of it in terms of our mandatory spending (that money we have to spend whether we like it or not - heating and lighting, food, council tax etc), we will have more money to spend on those things that we choose to do. We need to consider, therefore, how to make the most of our money. for some ideas about how to do this, you might like to take a look at the Guide to Maximising our Money on the Laterlife web site and also the Guide to Concessions and Discounts.

Keep Fit Physically. Going to work involves using energy - getting up, rushing around in the morning, getting to work and having stress while we're there means that, even with a sedentary job, we use energy. We need to ensure that, in retirement, we use at least that amount of energy in order to keep our current levels of fitness. We also need to do something that will prevent our body from getting less supple and more stiff. If we're not fit physically we won't be able to take all those opportunities that are there for us. So we must consider how we are going to keep fit in retirement, when we haven't got work to help that process. You might like to take a look at the Guide to Staying Fit and Healthy on the Laterlife web site for some ideas.

Keep Fit Mentally. Just as with our body, so with our brain - If you don't use it, you lose it'. So we need to think about what we can do to keep our brain working once we retire and there's no work to help keep it ticking over. There are basically two ways; do some form of education - courses at the local college, the OU and so on - or take up some hobbies or pastimes that require some brain activity: crosswords, sudoko, bridge etc. We need to think about and plan how to keep our brain active and efficient so that we can enjoy our retirement to the full. You might like to take a look at the Mind Games page in the Guide to Hobbies and Interests on the Laterlife web site for some help.

Maintain or Increase our Social Contact. Work provides us with social contact which, in turn helps us to keep mentally active and, to a certain extent, physically fit, too. Once we leave work, we need to maintain our levels of social contact so that we don't become insular and lonely. We don't necessarily need to make new deep relationships but we do need to keep in contact with people in retirement. It's the same as work in that some of the new people we meet in retirement may well become close friends whereas others will remain acquaintances. That doesn't really matter; what does matter is the social inter-action. What's more, the vast majority of us enjoy having friends and acquaintances whom we meet, chat to and maybe form friendships with. So we need to think about how we can meet new people. If you give it some thought you'll become aware of how easy it is to meet people whatever we like to do. For example, there is nothing more solitary than reading. However, by joining a reading group, or book club, we can turn even reading into activity through which we can increase our social contact. Reading the Guide to Hobbies and Interests on the Laterlife web site will give you some ideas.

If we can make the most of our money, keep fit both physically and mentally, and maintain or increase our social contact we will give ourselves the best chance of enjoying retirement. The basis of our retirement planning, therefore, needs to be about how we can do these things and, at the same time, enjoy them, thereby enabling us to obtain maximum enjoyment from the rest of our retirement.

Most of the things that we are likely to do once we leave our employment will help us with one or more of the four means (with the possible exception of making the most of our money) to the end of enjoying retirement. Doing some other form of work, be it paid or voluntary, will help us keep fit mentally and maintain or increase our social contact. It may also help us to keep fit physically. Doing some sort of continuing education will clearly keep the brain cells ticking over, whilst almost any hobby or pastime will provide us with one or more of our four means. It's not difficult, therefore, to do these things and if we get it right we'll actively enjoy doing them. Planning will help us to get it right.

Why not read our introduction to Why Plan for Retirement? and then take a look at our innovative e-learning online planning retirement workshop by visiting  If you purchase a licence you will find all the knowledge and experience distilled from our real world workshops, covering every aspect of retirement lifestyle and finances, with the ability to visit and revisit the workshop as often as you like to build and refine your own plan for retirement.

You might also like to look at our 'real world' Planning Retirement workshops and then ask your employer to pay for you to attend one. You will be able to spend the day thinking, planning and discussing your retirement and gleaning ideas from others about how to best enjoy the rest of your life. It's well worth spending one day to make the most of the next 10,000!

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'How ready are you to retire' self-assessor.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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