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I don’t have a green thumb. In fact, it seems my greatest lawn and garden skill is growing things in places they’re not supposed to be. You want or need me to patch your lawn, forget it. But if you need grass between bricks on your patio, in a crack in your sidewalk, or in the yard, it looks like I can achieve it somehow.

All kidding aside, when it comes to creating a lush lawn or bountiful garden, one of the most important components is fertilizer. It is a crucial ingredient because trees, flowers, vegetables and shrubs cannot produce everything they need to thrive on their own. They need outside forces, such as sun, water, and healthy soil to grow and flourish.

In the same way, we often plant ourselves in retirement without any fertilizer. Many assume that life will be fertile after they stop working simply because they have reached a certain age or have enough money. But the underlying soil, in terms of relationships, health, identity and purpose, may not be healthy enough to thrive in retirement.

Prepare for all aspects of retirement

Therefore, the dissemination of a truly comprehensive retirement plan must include concrete plans and strategies for these non-financial aspects. In other words, adding fertilizer to the sunshine and watering of a retirement portfolio by creating a concrete, written plan for mental, social, physical and spiritual well-being is essential to truly thriving in the future. retirement.

Like any other season in life, problems often arise and slowly take root before we realize how deep the problem really is. That’s why it’s important to regularly assess the ground around you and not be afraid to dig deeper and find the root of the problem. When we understand the cause of something, we are better equipped to find a solution.

As a former social worker and personal trainer turned financial advisor and speaker, I see and understand both sides of the equation. In other words, I see the need and value of helping people plan and prepare for both the financial and psychological aspects of retirement.

Also see: Not sure when to apply for Social Security? Consider These 4 Things Before You Do

8 Uncommon Retirement Topics to Consider

One of the ways I do this with clients is through a checklist of 50+ things that can slip in and start to overtake a person or couple’s retirement. Here’s a sample of the rarer things on the list to help illustrate the value of going beyond the dollars and cents of traditional retirement planning.

1. How do I introduce myself? Because when I say “I’m retired”, the conversations stop.
2. Why am I afraid to tell my friends that I am not enjoying my retirement?
3. Why am I mourning the loss of my career? I hated my job.
4. Why do I feel alone, despite the presence of people?
5. Why does my volunteer work seem thankless to me?
6. I don’t want to live through my spouse’s retirement. What should I do?
7. How can I stop resenting my spouse when he’s retired and I’m still working?
8. How can I convince my retired friends that I want to do more than sit around eating and drinking?

This is not the kind of information found in advertisements, brochures or retirement planning seminars. But these are real things happening that people want and need help with.

To see: How to retire well — even if you’re not rich

The other harsh reality is that finance professionals aren’t trained to handle this stuff. They have little or no training and worse, no tools or resources.

So what ends up happening? People suffer in silence for years and don’t realize they need a plan and support to replace their work identity, fill their time, stay relevant and connected, and stay mentally and physically active. Otherwise, weeds like alcoholism, isolation, depression, and divorce can creep in and take over.

A holistic approach to retirement

If people want to thrive and prosper in retirement, they need a much more holistic approach to retirement that includes fertilizer for all key areas of a retirement, not just the financials.

This is one of the reasons I created the Certified Professional Retirement Coach and Retirement Coaches Association designation. Both serve as the foundation for a growing industry aimed at helping people make better transitions.

Also see: Why not do nothing in retirement, and at other times too

For too long people have learned that retirement is primarily a financial event and that the other more personal elements will simply fall into place over time. But that’s just not true, in fact it’s the non-financial items that need the most attention and attention.

If you’re about to piggyback on retirement, here are a few things to make sure you thrive rather than wilt.

  • Take the time to write down what a perfect day and week might look like for you. Many people find it easy to figure out that perfect day, but it can be a little harder to extrapolate it into a week. This exercise helps you start to see how much time you really have to fill and the things you have in place to get there.
  • Create a list of things you will gain or benefit from when you retire, as well as a list of things you might lose. Many people are excited about gains such as more time and freedom, but don’t realize they are losing aspects of routine, purpose, social interaction, and physical activity. By knowing what you will gain and lose, you can plan to create replacements so you are not alone in your garden.
  • Take a look at your social network. It’s not uncommon for your friends and co-workers to be an important part of your overall social life. While people may have the best intentions of keeping the network engaged, some of the common bond that brought you together and kept you together may fade with retirement, so it’s important to seek additional outlets as well.

Robert Laura is a bestselling author, nationally syndicated columnist, and founder of the Retirement Coaches Association and He is a seasoned speaker and trainer as well as a pioneer of “The New Era Of Retirement” which focuses on the non-financial aspects of life after work. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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