Exotic travel and adventure, more time with the grandchildren, writing that novel you know you’re capable of, long lunches with friends, volunteering at your local hospice, or simply lazing in the garden on sunny afternoons without a care in the world.

However you intend to spend your retirement, you’ll need a plan. Without one, you’ll be less likely to turn your aspirations and dreams into reality.

When most people talk about ‘planning for their dream retirement’, it’s generally in the context of how much money they’ll need to save in order to afford it.

Whether that’s through pension savings and other types of investment, profits from the sale of a business, or rental income from a property portfolio. After all, your retirement could last decades, so you’ll need a pension pot big enough to keep turning all those dreams into reality throughout. What’s more, you might want to set aside money for long term care and perhaps leave a proportion of your wealth to your family.

But having enough money to pay for new interests and goals that make the most of your free time and give you a renewed purpose in life isn’t the only consideration when it comes to retirement planning.

Retirement is the start of a new adventure:

Paul Cezanne was 56 when he held his first art exhibition

Think health, as well as wealth

Ill health could significantly impact the quality of your retirement, making it important to continue to look after yourself as you get older.

One of the benefits of stopping work is that you’ll have more time to improve, or maintain, your physical fitness. According to the British Heart Foundation, we should all aim to do at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, so add a hobby like walking, running, cycling or climbing to your post-work schedule.

Supplement your exercise with regular health checks. Eat sensibly, avoid excess, and increase the odds in your favour for a long and healthy retirement where new worlds and social groups open up to you.

Maintain a sense of purpose

Once the novelty of not having to go to work every day wears off, you could find yourself unfulfilled and lacking direction. Having brought up a family, managed a busy work schedule, enjoyed a frenetic social life, juggled commitments to colleagues, family and friends, suddenly finding yourself with little to do can be discombobulating, leaving you on uncertain ground.

As well as affecting your emotional wellbeing, numerous studies have shown that giving yourself a goal or purpose in life is likely to lessen the effects of ageing and reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and other disabilities in later life. As a result, having a purpose will allow you to stay healthier for longer.

Patricia Boyle is a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre in Chicago. She conducted research that found that people with “high purpose” scores were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s than those with low scores.

Retirement is a time to reach new heights:

Dame Judi Dench was 64 when she won her first Oscar

The importance of friends, family and social contact

Nurture relationships of all kinds – family, friends as well as old work colleagues. When you retire, life’s more fun and fulfilling with other people around, especially when you have more time on your hands to enjoy your social life.

A long-term study by the National Institute for Health (NHR) found that one in three people aged 50 years and over in the UK reported feeling lonely. Sadly, loneliness is linked to one in five cases of depression, making it essential to maintain a robust social network throughout your retirement.

Stay on top of your finances

Keep an eye on what’s going on with your finances – just because you’re retired, your money still needs to be carefully managed. Regulations and tax laws change, and the value of your investments and any income, will go down as well as up. Monitor and maintain your finances and meet regularly with your independent financial planner to keep your retirement plans on track.

Retirement is a time to achieve your life’s dream:

Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she wrote Little House on the Prairie

Plan your long term care needs in advance

Age UK estimates that just over half of people turning 65 today will need long-term care at some point. With those odds, it is prudent to consider the costs of long term care and how you could build this into your financial plan to avoid what could be a considerable financial burden later in life.

Create peace of mind with estate planning

Ensuring your financial and legal affairs are in order is something every financial planner will advise as part of your long-term financial plan. Discuss your plans with the rest of your family – make sure they are happy and feel comfortable about any decisions likely to impact them.

Apart from anything else, tying everything up before the inevitable will avoid any last-minute panics with paperwork and solicitors if you were to fall ill unexpectedly.

For more on estate planning go to Estate planning mistakes to avoid.

Retirement is a time to focus on yourself:

Gladys Burrill was 92 when she started running marathons

What will you achieve?

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Our professional, independent financial planners are helping thousands of people across the UK to create a financial life landscape that stretches not just through their working life but well into a happy and fulfilling retirement and beyond. We know an individual’s journey is unique and very personal; that’s why we start by understanding your dreams and aspirations. Then, together, we formulate a plan to give you the best chance of making them happen.

There have been significant changes to pension savings in the Spring Budget 2023 that may impact your retirement planning. To find out more, see: How does the 2023 Budget affect your pension and retirement planning?

Get in touch

To speak to one of our team, arrange an appointment or find out more, call 0800 915 0000, or use our contact form here.