“Where there is no vision,
there is no hope.”
(George Washington Carver)
Creating a vision for your retirement might seem a little too touchy feely for some or a complete waste of time. However, studies prove: creating a compelling vision of the retirement you desire is actually one of the most powerful strategies you can implement. A vision is like a compass which helps guide you to take the most appropriate actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward the retirement you’ve imagined.
“It’s been found that mental practices can enhance motivation, increase confidence and self-efficacy, improve motor performance, prime your brain for success, and increase states of flow – all relevant to achieving your best life!”
-Psychology Today, Dec. 2009
The Best Way to Create a Vision for Your Retirement
Visioning exercises are like lighthouses which guide us across un-chartered seas toward our desired future. Lighthouses aren’t the destination, but we navigate toward them to reach our ultimate destination. When you envision your retirement, you don’t need to create an exact vision, but a general idea of where you’d like to end up. If you spend your life trying to reach an exact vision, you may end up missing out on other opportunities that come along with life’s turns. The point is, visions simply help us to make sure we are going in the right direction. Please use the resources below to help you create your own vision of retirement.
Why You Need a Vision?
There’s no denying that with a strong commitment to a vision, you are more likely to achieve what you are envisioning. Being happy and successful in life and retirement doesn’t just have to be a dream. The fact of the matter is that if you don’t create that vision or life plan, the actions of people around you or the circumstances of life will chart the course of your life. Take control, envision your life and retirement, and then take steps to get you to that vision. Here’s to putting the pieces together.
How to Create Your Vision?
Sometimes we don’t know what we want…we may have a blank page or we may have a very rough sketch or outline of our story and how we anticipate it unfolding. That’s okay as a starting point, but you should try to put additional details around your unique vision. This isn’t something that happens overnight. Spend some quality time soul searching and thinking about your needs and prioritize them in your mind. This is not only a heart-centered exercise, but a logical one as well so that you can have a life and retirement that’s filled with passion and practicality. Get creative with your ideas and don’t be afraid to think outside the box you currently live in. Retirement is for dreamers AND doers. Retirees today are much more active and healthier than previous generations, and we are living much longer. You have plenty of time to live the best part of your life. Don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities.
What Do You Want?
Ah…the simple question that is sometimes hardest to answer. In this step allow yourself to dream…big. Sometime opening up the “anything is possible” box is scary, but allow yourself to go there, if only in your thoughts. It’s really important to give yourself reminders that living a fulfilling life just doesn’t happen by accident. It requires dreaming, visioning, planning and taking action. We like to call this Retirement by Design, and that’s really the essence of Her Retirement and all the exercises on this site.
You’ll want to create as vivid a picture as possible. If you find this hard, focus on how your retirement will feel and some major things you would like to do in retirement. Rather than think too far in the future, feel free to start with your vision for the next few years. Don’t leave any stone un-turned as you consider all facets of your life: personal, professional, family, spiritual, relationships, nutrition, entertainment, lifestyle, health. These questions can help get you started.
Start at the end. Sometimes it’s helpful to make a plan and a vision around the last step and work backwards from there.
Next think about your first step and the steps that follow. Consider how you’ll bridge the gap between where your life is now and where you want to be in retirement. Try not to get overwhelmed by the amount of activity required to reach that end vision. Rather, focus on each step as a separate, reachable goal.
Don’t forget to check in on your vision as your life plays out. Maybe you do this once a year to see what you want to change. Life changes so your vision may change too. That’s okay. For now, what matters is going through a visioning process, asking yourself some serious questions, doing some soul searching, some exercises (below), and then putting it all in writing in a journal and/or a vision board to formalize your commitment to your vision. Here’s some questions to address in this step.
Visioning Tools & Exercises
More Than Money Exercises
Here we offer 4 exercise to help you envision your life beyond the financial aspects. If you have a husband or life partner, these are valuable exercises to do together.
Click here to access our More Than Money exercises.
Other helpful resources to help you envision your retirement:
How a few couples are living their retirement
Make sure you include relationship in your vision. This Ted Talk explains why
Fit to Retire
Helping you answer the question, How Do I Envision My Retirement, Fit to Retire takes you through a series of “life” questions and gives you detailed suggestions for living your best retirement life.
Plan your retirement with a customized pre-retirement checklistthat will set you up for a successful transition.
Use your personalized 100-day playbook to help you get ready for the first three months of your retirement adventure.
Reach out to a RetireMentor to get discounted access to this great tool
How to Create a Vision Board
Vision boards are a wonderful, creative and helpful activity. Also known as dream boards, these simple devices are one of the most valuable visualization tools available to you. The inspirational collages serve as your image of the future – a tangible example, idea or representation of where you are going. They should represent your dreams, your goals, and your ideal life. Here’s a few resources to check out: