Four Tips to Finding New Purpose in Retirement

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you figure out why. – Richard Leider

One in three new retirees struggle with finding purpose after leaving their job, according to a recent Edward Jones study. Without a plan for life after retirement, many retirees may find themselves feeling restless, craving something more but not knowing where to start or what that something might be.

“Purpose is a mindset – a choice to live a life that matters,” says Richard J. Leider, co-author of ‘Who Do You Want to Be When You Grow Old?,’ and founder of the firm Inventure – The Purpose Company, that works with people who are pre-retired and retired to help them build a life driven by purpose in post-retirement. “We spend 60 percent of our lives working. Maybe it’s time to heed your calling.”

Here are some tips on how to recognize and unlock your purpose in retirement.

  • Find your why. It may sound simple but identifying your main reason for getting up each and every morning is an important first step in creating a life that you enjoy living. Having a purpose – or a why – can help with longevity, health and provide a sense of fulfillment.
  • Try The Napkin Test. The napkin test is a quick and simple self-awareness exercise to help you map out what you are looking for, or should be looking for, in your next chapter. To start, you make a list of your gifts, passions and values. Once you have the three columns, you see how they connect and can align to your calling. “If you approach every day with an intention to use your gifts on things you feel passionate or purposeful about in an environment that aligns with your core values, you’ve got a calling,” Leider says.
  • Cultivate a sounding board. Identify a group of trusted friends and family you can turn to for advice and perspective. “You need at least one person you see all the time, someone who’s a great listener and who allows you to make your decision,” Leidner says. These trusted confidantes can provide counsel and help you define your purpose.
  •  Set yourself up for success. Once you’ve discovered your passion and determined what you want to spend your retirement doing, you will want to ensure you have enough income to achieve your goals. Annuities are a great financial option for individuals looking to cover basic living expenses with protected lifetime income. They can also help secure a path toward a comfortable retirement – no matter your career, the size of your paycheck or the volatility of the stock market. Research shows retirees with annuities are happier and live more of a full life than those without. It’s always also a good idea to team up with a financial professional who understands the nuances of your choices and can work closely with you to help you achieve your financial goals.

As Leider says, “our time is the most precious investment for our life. We need to stop and reflect on our lives and what matters to us most.” Don’t let another minute go to waste. Identify what brings your life purpose and go after it.

For more advice on retirement planning, watch our Your Money Map conversation with Jean Chatzky and Richard Leider on the Alliance for Lifetime Income Facebook page. You can also learn more about Richard’s work or purchase one of his books by visiting his website.

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