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Figuring Out What Retirement Means to You

Your retirement will be as unique as you are. Travel, family, hobbies…no one will combine these and other activities the same way you will. Here are some tips to help you discover what it means to you.

Ask Yourself Big Picture Questions

As you plan ahead for your retirement, don’t just think about the numbers—also think about what you want your retirement to look like. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I feel financially and emotionally ready to stop working?
  • Do I want to work on a part-time basis to stay more socially connected or to have more “fun money”?
  • How do I want to spend my time in retirement?
  • Do I want to move south for the winter or be in a home with less upkeep?
  • What’s most important to me, if I can't do it all?

For help answering questions like these and more, ask an RBC Financial Planner about Your Future by Design®.

Your Future by Design is a discovery process that you can walk through with an RBC Financial Planner. By asking the right questions, we can help you figure out what you want your retirement to look like. After we understand your goals, we look at what you own, what you owe, and where you stand—to design your unique plan.

You can also have some fun with our interactive tool now and start thinking about how you want to spend your time in retirement.

Practise Being Retired

Another great way to discover what you want out of retirement is to do some of the things you have planned. Think you want to live in California for part of the year? Take 2-3 weeks off work if you can and actually go stay in the area you are considering.

Also try living on the amount of money you think you'll need to see if your lifestyle plans and financial reality are in line. An RBC Financial Planner can help you estimate the budget you’ll need to enjoy the lifestyle you want and suggest adjustments to your retirement plan as needed.

Stay Flexible and Weigh Your Decisions

Retirement is an exciting time full of new experiences and new routines. However, since you've never been retired and don't know exactly what to expect, make sure you have the flexibility to adjust along the way:

  • You'll learn a lot in the first few months after you leave work and may begin to see yourself and your priorities differently. Keep in mind that it can take 1-2 years to settle into your new lifestyle.
  • Some decisions can’t be easily reversed, like selling your home and moving to a new area.
  • Changes to your health or a family member’s health can greatly affect your finances and lifestyle decisions.
  • The lifestyle that works for you at the beginning of retirement may be different than the lifestyle you want 20 years later.

Don’t Forget about Family

Part of planning for retirement means thinking about those closest to you. And if you're like many people, you may be providing for aging parents or grown kids after you’ve stopped working.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you plan:

  • Will I need to provide care for or support my parents financially?
  • Is it possible one of the kids will still be living at home?
  • Do I want to help the kids pay for a wedding, first home or post-secondary education?
  • Will I need to help support my grandkids?

If you can say “yes” to any of these, ask an RBC Financial Planner to help you create a plan that balances this support with your income needs in retirement.

For more information, see Balancing Retirement with Your Legacy.

What to Check Out Next

How Will I Fill My Time in Retirement?

Retirement Planning: Top Things to Consider

Knowing When to Retire

Let’s Start the Conversation

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