Retirement readiness is not just about having enough money saved up.
Retirement is so much more than just a financial decision.
It’s a lifestyle change that comes with a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. Not to mention a whole slew of emotional phases.
Retirement readiness is a holistic concept that includes your physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as your social and financial well-being.
Which why it’s important to create a retirement checklist that goes beyond the basics of not outliving your money.
To help you get emotionally ready for retirement, we’ve put together a simple (and comprehensive) retirement checklist based on our 5 Rings of Retirement.
And, in case you’re new here, the 5 Rings of Retirement include:
- Growth — lifelong learning, new experiences, meaningful work, brain plasticity, and embracing challenges
- Community — relationships, friendships, social life, and engagement in your community
- Health — diet, exercise, longevity, energy level, cognitive health, and physical, mental, and emotional health
- Giving Back — sense of purpose, sharing your unique gift, legacy, volunteering, gifting, and contributions
- Finances — financial security, not outliving your money, budgeting, legacy and estate planning
A healthy, active, and engaged retirement life balances across these five core categories.
So without further ado, let’s get into our retirement checklist.
One retirement checklist item that is often overlooked is making sure you have a plan for continued personal growth.
Just because you’re no longer in the workforce doesn’t mean you should stop learning and growing as a person. In fact, retirement is the perfect time to invest in your personal development.
According to a study on identity among retirees, many are using retirement to pursue lifelong interests that they didn’t have time for while they were working. And they found two categories of identity work among retirees:
- Self-expression — taking up old interests, creating a lasting legacy, creating new projects, life goals, and memories
- Affiliation — projects that involve interaction with others, including volunteering, connecting with friends and family, joining social clubs or groups, and mentoring
Whatever retirement looks like for you, make sure you have a plan for continued personal growth. It will keep you feeling vibrant, engaged, and fulfilled. While the possibilities are truly endless, here are a few retirement checklist ideas to get you started.
Retirement Checklist Items for Growth
- Learn more about ____
- Explore the topic of ____
- Stay stimulated by ____
- Challenge myself by ____
Some examples might look like this. I will:
- Read one book per month on a subject that interests me
- Learn a new language
- Enroll in an online course or program
- Join or start a mastermind group
- Attend workshops, conferences, and other events related to my interests
- Invest in a retirement coach
The key is to find retirement activities that excite and inspire you. If you’re not sure where to start, consider taking our Retirement Purpose quiz. It’ll help you identify your retirement passions so you can start planning for a retirement that is full of growth and purpose.
Include as many retirement checklist items related to growth as possible, and you’ll be well on your way to a retirement that is rich, full, and satisfying.
Another important item on your retirement checklist is making sure you have an active social life.
Yes, this goes for both extroverts and introverts, too.
Humans are social creatures, and retirement can sometimes be a lonely time if you don’t have a solid support network.
Which is why it’s so important to make sure your retirement checklist includes plans for staying connected with your loved ones and also finding new ways to connect with others.
Retirement Checklist Items for Community
- Keep in touch with ____
- Meet new people by ____
- Reconnect with people from ____
- Connect with myself at a deeper level by ____
Examples could include the following. I will:
- Make regular plans to connect with friends and family, in person or virtually
- Join a retirement community or 55+ active adult community
- Start or join a Meetup group focused on one of my hobbies or interests
- Get involved with my local community through volunteering, local politics, or spiritual organizations
- Reconnect with old friends
Again, the key is to find retirement activities that bring you joy, encourage your growth, and make you feel connected as your authentic self.
If you’re feeling isolated or lonely in retirement, reach out and make plans to connect with others. This extra effort will make a world of difference in your retirement satisfaction.
Maintaining your physical and mental health, of course, should be a top priority in retirement, as it’ll have a direct impact on the quantity and quality of your retirement years.
The jury’s still out on the impact retirement has on health since it’s a complex topic influenced by so many factors.
Some of these factors you can’t control, like your genes or your family history. But there are many retirement health factors that you can control, like your diet, physical activity, and lifestyle.
Here’s a retirement checklist for staying healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
Retirement Checklist Items for Health
- Keep my body healthy and fit by ____
- Keep my spirit happy by ____
- Keep my mind shard by ____
- Have a plan for health insurance which is ____
Consider some of these examples. I will:
- Keep my body healthy by getting regular exercise, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep
- Keep my mind healthy by staying intellectually engaged, learning new things, and spending time with loved ones
- Keep my spirit happy by doing things I enjoy, staying positive, and finding ways to give back to the community
- Have a plan for health insurance and retirement medical needs so that I can afford the care I need
Your health is one of the most critical retirement checklist items, so make sure you put some thought into how you will maintain your health and well-being in retirement.
#4 Giving Back
As you approach retirement, it’s natural to start thinking about how you can give back, help others, and continue to contribute in a relevant way.
After all, you’ve been blessed with a lifetime of experiences and skills that can be of tremendous value to others. But where do you start?
Giving back can take on many different forms, and the common thread is that it’s about making a difference in the lives of others – whether it’s one person or thousands. Not to mention that doing good for others also does you good.
Retirement Checklist Items for Giving Back
- Explore and share my unique gifts in the area of ____
- Cultivate and share my creativity by ____
- Expand and share my skills in the area of ____
- Help others and make a difference by ____
As for some examples, check these out. I will:
- Volunteer my time to causes I care about
- Explore my gifts, creativity, and skills that I can share with others by teaching or mentoring
- Use my retirement to make a difference in the lives of others by working with charities or non-profits
- Start a business or social enterprise that makes a positive impact on my community
No matter how you choose to give back, these are retirement checklist items that will bring a tremendous sense of purpose and life satisfaction.
The last category on our retirement checklist is finance. Retirement can be a time of great financial stress, or it can be a time of financial freedom. It all depends on how well you plan and prepare for retirement.
Here are a few retirement checklist ideas for getting your finances in order – and, of course, to support your goals in the other four Rings of Retirement.
Retirement Checklist Items for Finance
- Make sure I don’t outlive my money and clear my financial plan by ____
- Create and stick to a monthly budget of ____
- Complete and update my estate plan by ____
- Withdraw from retirement accounts and Social Security in monthly amounts ____
Some examples might be – I will:
- Meet with a financial advisor who will run scenarios and clear my financial plan
- Save enough money to cover my retirement expenses
- Create an elaborate monthly retirement budget that I will stick to
- Pay off all my debts before retirement
- Complete my estate plan by creating or updating my will, living trust, and financial power of attorney
While preparing your finances for retirement is critical to a happy and stress-free retirement, remember the money is there to fuel your other goals, passions, and retirement purpose.
Be sure to add these retirement checklist items to your list and cross them off before you retire.
Create Your Own Retirement Checklist
When it comes to retirement planning, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all checklist. Which is why the items on our retirement checklist are just a starting point.
Focus on finding clarity on your retirement vision and priorities. Then, use that retirement vision to guide you in creating your own retirement checklist.
Here’s to turning your retirement years into your best years, full of purpose and passion.