Designing Your “No Rules Retirement”

Our concept of retirement is undergoing a metamorphosis. Demographic, societal, and workplace trends have all converged to offer a stage of life—at mid-life and beyond—that is much more fluid and flexible than we previously thought possible.  

When planning for retirement, we are discovering that the “old rules” have been thrown out and that “no rules” apply.  

Instead of “not working,” retirement has come to mean emancipation, the freedom to choose the activities and pursuits we find the most satisfying and rewarding. In other words, our retirement experience has become a matter of personal definition.

Because of increasing longevity and more active lifestyles, many individuals are viewing this time in life as an opportunity to explore their potential.  

Clarify Your Values & Priorities

Most importantly, creating a No Rules Retirement™ is all about identifying, pursuing, and living in sync with your personal values and priorities. In fact, the greater your understanding of what is important to you, the easier it will be to “paint a picture” in your mind of what you want your life to be like in this stage of life. In addition, the clearer and sharper your vision becomes, the more naturally you will gravitate toward that image. 

In addition, as you purposefully and progressively “make room” in your life for what is meaningful to you, the degree of happiness and fulfillment that you experience will grow and multiply. Therefore, an important mantra for everyone, regardless of age, should be “if it is to be, it is up to me!” To ensure your success, make it a priority to invest in all areas of your life. Always remember that the choices you make on a daily basis are cumulative and will determine the quality of life you experience 10, 20, and 30 years in the future.

Visualize Your Future

A good approach to preparing for your own No Rules Retirement is to first picture yourself at different ages and stages in each area of life. Take time to visualize what you would like to have, do, see, feel, and experience in all of these areas. Draw a picture in your mind of the life you want to have and then continue to build on that image.  

As you visualize the lifestyle and quality of life that you would like to have at midlife and beyond, remember that the secret to realizing your dreams is to maintain a “future focus.” This perspective will not only help you to maintain a positive outlook, but will also require you to acknowledge the influence of choices made today on your life in the future.  

There is a lot of truth to the old saying that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” As you plan for your future, it is important to envision and articulate the various elements you want to include in your life composition. Whatever you identify and claim for yourself will become the internal compass of your life by consciously and subconsciously guiding all of the big and little decisions you make.

Invest in Yourself

In other words, a truly successful and fulfilling No Rules Retirement experience requires planning and preparation in all areas of life. Remember, health, happiness, and productivity are not blessings bestowed on a lucky few. Instead, they are the result of long-term life choices brought to fruition by the decisions made on a daily basis.  

As you think about your future and the kind of life you want to have, it is essential that you acknowledge the personal accountability aspects of both your current and future well-being. Always keep in mind that the essence of “the rich life” is the freedom to live in such a way as to support your values and priorities. And, in a nutshell, isn’t that truly what designing a No Rules Retirement is all about?

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, Inc.

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