Planning for Your Golden Years: What Do I Need to Think About?

Written by Fraser Stewart
Reading time 6 minutes
Planning for Your Golden Years: What Do I Need to Think About? image

You look forward to it for years! So why are you not planning your retirement to ensure you get the most out of it? Why are you not making sure you have enough money to do the things you want to do?

Retirement takes careful planning to ensure you have enough money to not only live but enjoy your golden years. Think about what you want to do and what costs may arise, and let’s make a plan!

What Does Your Retirement Fund Look Like?

First, let’s evaluate where we are now. Take a look at your retirement fund and see how much we have aside now. Will this be enough to live off for twenty or thirty years? Will it cover medical expenses as you age and any holidays you might want to take?

Look at all your retirement accounts and work out exactly how much they are. If you plan to sell your house and downsize, work out how much you would have left over for your retirement after doing so.

What Will Your Costs Be?

Now it is time to work out how much you will need to retire. We need to be able to compare this to our current retirement fund so we can create an action plan for our retirement contributions. Look at some of the following categories:

Living Costs

Work out how much you spend per year. This includes living expenses and also leisure; you don’t want to live so frugally during retirement that you don’t get to enjoy it at all. Work out what you spend on average every year and times that by 30. This will allow you to carry on your current lifestyle throughout your retirement.

Medical Expenses

While it is not possible to predict exactly how your health will be, you should make a list of your current medical conditions and any costs that they may cause in the future.

Think about the following things:

Your health will deteriorate as you age, so you may also need to factor in the cost of moving to a home that is easier to maintain with limited mobility. This may be a bungalow or a small flat nearby family. It is best to try and make this move sooner rather than later. It will be easier while you are still active enough to make it.

Assisted Living Expenses

You need to make a plan for what you want to do when you need extra assistance. Talk to your family and create a realistic plan. Even if family members are open to housing you, you should still budget for an assisted living facility. This will ensure that if circumstances change or you need more help than they thought, you have the money to go to a care home of your choosing.

Fun Money

While the practical things are important, you also need to have fun during your retirement! Budget some money in for hobbies, extra coffee dates with friends (you’ll have a lot more time on your hands), and outings. You should also budget for a few holidays, whether international or local. You should try and plan out some large holidays, so you can add them to your budget. Think about what has been on your bucket list for a while and look at making it happen. But you can also just put aside a chunk of money for spontaneous trips.

Think About Your Happiness

As human beings, we need happiness and fulfilment. Retirement can be difficult for a lot of people because they go from having the structure of a full-time job to having too much time on their hands. You need to create a structure for your day around activities you enjoy.

While you may want to spend more time with loved ones, they may still have responsibilities that mean they are not available to you as much as you would like. Find social activities and hobbies where you can meet other people and make new friends. If you can meet retirees, then you will have people who are in the same stage of their lives as you. You can commiserate with them, pick up tips, or explore new hobbies with them. It is important to have people in your life who are retired and have the same freedoms as you.

Here are some things to think about to stay happy and fulfilled during your retirement.

Hobbies and Interests

Make a list of things that you have always wanted to try or hobbies that you have never fully gotten the chance to explore. These may be relaxing hobbies or could be adventure hobbies. There is no limit to what you can do. You should consider the following types of hobbies and try to have one from each category:

You may have one or two hobbies that tick a number of these boxes, that is okay too.

Friends and Family

You should definitely spend the time with friends and family but also be practical about it. Do not allow yourself to become the unpaid babysitter for everyone. You spent your whole life working and perhaps raising your kids; it is your time to enjoy yourself. Set healthy boundaries and ensure your family know that any childcare assistance you provide is a favour and not to be abused. Help your friends and family out if you want to, but don’t forget to enjoy your golden years while you are still fit and healthy enough to do all the things you want to.

Stay connected to your family and friends through technology. It is the easiest way to keep in contact with people both near and far and stave off any loneliness. You should also try and have regular in-person contact with friends and family. If the rest of your family are still working, organise dinners out, or pot lucks to ensure you get a chance to regularly catch up. Do not put all your eggs into the basket of family, though. Be understanding that they may be busy with work and family responsibilities, just like you would have been twenty or so years ago. Try and spread your social interactions around evenly between family and old and new friends. Friends and family who are also retired will have a lot more time for regular long phone calls and coffee catch ups.


Find fulfilment through volunteering your time for a charity you are passionate about. Part-time volunteer work is fantastic at any time but can really help with the transition from full-time work into retirement. It will help you keep some structure, give you social interaction, and if you find a charity that you believe in can be extremely fulfilling. Whether you continue this throughout your whole retirement or just for a few months or a year is completely up to you.

Look After Your Health

While you should enjoy your golden years to the fullest, you also need to look after your health. A nutritious diet and regular exercise will vastly improve your health and help to reduce the chance of disease and injury. However, you do not need to punish yourself with the rigorous exercise routines of your youth (unless you want to); just do what is fun for you. Take social dancing classes a few times a week, try yoga, go swimming, or just take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t need to be rigorous, it just needs to get your body moving and your blood circulating. Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise to ensure it is safe.

The same goes for your eating habits. You don’t need to forgo cake and other treats. Eat your cake; you deserve it! Just try and eat well-balanced meals with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein, and consider a multi-vitamin. If your doctor recommends certain diets or eating habits because of a health condition, then, of course, follow that. Taking care of your health will help you to stay fit and active for much longer.

Share Your History

Nothing brings more joy than allowing people to see the many sides of your personality. Share stories of your life with family and friends, tell them about your favourite memories, things you regret, and the life lessons you picked up along the way.

Reach out to people that you may have lost touch with through the years, and ensure nothing is left unresolved. Consider writing diaries or letters to show the people in your life how grateful you are for them and how much you love them. These will bring great comfort to your loved ones after your death. While you are still young and death may be a while away, having these things in order will bring you great peace. Many estate planning services advise people to prepare their loved ones to live without them. But that’s perhaps a little morbid, especially when you are just entering your golden years and have so much living ahead of you. Instead, we say prepare records and tokens of your love that your loved ones can cherish in their times of need. Whether this is a letter filled with loving advice or just a diary filled with happy memories, they can feel your love forever.

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