Prioritizing Goals in Retirement

Planning your retirement lifestyle can be a challenge, especially when you have big goals and ideas about what you’d like to accomplish in your next chapter. One way to ensure you stay on track toward a lifestyle you love without blowing your budget is to spend time prioritizing your goals prior to retiring. 

In an ideal world, you’d be able to check every big-ticket item off of your bucket list, but that’s not always feasible given your financial situation. By preemptively planning which goals you want to pursue, you can ensure that your spending and your actions are in line with your values - creating the foundation for a happy, fulfilling retirement.

List All Goals

Your first step should be to list all of your goals. Take time to dream big and don’t filter yourself. This should be an exciting exercise where you think through all the available possibilities you’re interested in pursuing. These may be lifestyle focused, like buying a vacation property. They may be more purpose-driven, like wanting to volunteer for your favorite charitable organization in your home town. Spend quiet time either by yourself or with your spouse or partner to “brain dump” a list of all your ideas, big and small. 

Clarify Your Values

Next, you can start to look at your core list of values. Your values may range from your faith, to family, to leaving a legacy, to health, to specific charitable causes you’re passionate about. Sometimes it can help to look at a general values list to pick 5-10 that really resonate with you. Once you have a short list of values, you can evaluate your goals to start prioritizing. 

Prioritizing: Align Your Goals, Values, and Budget

Step One: Start With Your Values

Compare your list of values to your unfiltered goals-list. If it’s helpful, write them down to compare them each side by side. What goals fit your values? There are usually a handful of goals that sound exciting, but aren’t in line with what matters to you the most. For example, a vacation home somewhere with a beach may sound amazing. However, if your primary goals are family, community, and connection, a second home away from those things may not make sense as part of your retirement plan. 

You may also find that some bucket list goals are a close, but not perfect, fit. These can be more challenging to navigate. It can be helpful to think through all possible outcomes of pursuing (and achieving) a specific goal - not just the ones you *want* to happen. For example, let’s say one of your goals is to purchase a boat. 

You may justify that purchasing the boat will increase connection with family and community spent out on the water, enjoying each other’s company. But will family actually spend time with you on the boat? If they aren’t retired, will they be available? Will the expense of the boat eat into other goals that could facilitate more time with family, like funding an annual family reunion trip? Evaluating your goals with a critical eye can be uncomfortable, but will help you clarify your priorities. 

Finally, you may find that some of your goals are directly in line with your values and bring you a lot of joy and excitement just thinking about them. These are the ones that should be your priority! Let’s look at a few lifestyle goals that line up with the values listed above:

  1. Family → Incorporating an annual family reunion into your budget where everyone comes together to spend a long weekend connecting and making memories at a nearby cabin or rental property. 
  2. Community → Budgeting both the time and funds to donate money and volunteer work to local organizations that support your community growth. 
  3. Connection → Budgeting for one-on-one hobbies with your spouse or partner to connect and enjoy time together. These could be cooking classes, golfing, gardening, or anything else that you two want to do together. 

Step Two: Move To Your Budget

Finally, you can look to align your new, values-driven goals with your budget. You may find that your goals all fit neatly within your retirement plan. However, if they don’t, you can focus on adjusting them to fit within your financial means. For example, maybe funding an annual family reunion isn’t feasible. You can still accomplish focused family time and make memories in a more affordable way. Think about:

  1. Setting a small monthly budget to spend focused time with individual grandchildren or family members doing something meaningful but small - going to a museum, getting ice cream, or taking them to a movie. 
  2. Organizing a holiday dinner or party for your family at your home, instead of a larger reunion somewhere expensive. 
  3. Downsizing to live somewhere more affordable that’s also closer to your family.

Speak with an Advisor

A fee only financial advisor can help you to create a values-driven strategy for your retirement that allows you to live comfortably while still finding fulfillment. Want to learn more? Get in touch with us today by clicking here. 

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs, and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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