Planning for your retirement is not just about money

It’s never too early to plan for your retirement. You don’t have to be preoccupied with old age, but recognize that you will be old someday – and it’s a lot better than the alternative. You may never want to physically retire, but you don’t know whether you will be physically able to continue what you are currently doing. So make sure you will be financially secure so you won’t have to rely on a salary. Have interests other than your current occupation, and have a good idea of how you will want to spend the bulk of your time.

In Canada, 1 in 3 people retire without any savings. Any financial advisor can tell you how much you have to save and invest in order to be financially independent at retirement age or earlier. It’s then a simply matter to tax yourself like the government does, and invest this fixed percentage into a good retirement plan. The younger you are when you start, the less that amount has to be.

The second requirement is that you have interests you can fall back on, whether that be stamp collecting, painting, writing or whatever. An old Globe and Mail report on aging referred to a Duke University study that observed that more than half of any physical decline observed in a group of people over 65 was due to boredom, inactivity and the awareness that infirmity is expected.

The article goes on to say: “The whole notion that we should do less as we grow older should be thrown right out the window. Everything improves with use and declines with disuse. That includes the brain, which just might be the key to the aging process and to health in general.”

As far as other interests are concerned, you have to experiment a little. New York psychoanalyst Theodore Rubin, M.D., is quoted in Your Emotions and Your Health as saying that “involvement precedes interest. We must risk a minimum degree of involvement in any activity or enterprise before interest can be generated.”

Dr. Rubin claims that waiting for interest to strike us could result in a lifetime of boredom. We must take the initiative to get involved in something so that our interest has a chance of being ignited. Continuing education is an excellent way to ignite interest. To quote Dr. Rubin: “It’s just about never too late to go back to books, take courses or attend lectures, to develop a latent interest. Boredom simply cannot exist when we are actively engaged in the process of continuing growth through recognition and development of real resources in ourselves.”

Look upon it not as retiring from something as much as you are retiring to something. Don’t just plan for your financial need during retirement; look at your whole life – your physical health, business involvements, recreational activities and relationships. The most important of these is your health. Invest time, and even money, in your health now, and it will pay dividends in the future.

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