Do people visualize what retirement will be like?

July 7, 2022

We understand what saving for retirement means. But do people ever take the time to look ahead and imagine what retirement will actually look like?

Save with SPP took a look around the Interweb to see what people are saying about the unknown destination that is the end of work.  Writing in the Retire Happy blog, Wayne Rothe observes that while we are working, “we’ve earned good incomes and we’re used to spending lavishly. We wanted something, we bought it. We’ve lived in lovely houses, driven nice cars, taken great vacations and spoiled our children.”  They haven’t – or have not yet – thought about life after the workforce, he adds. “As a financial planner and a baby boomer, I know the sorry state of retirement expectations and retirement preparedness for many of my generation. I read lots on this topic and boomers have high retirement expectations but are on track to fall far short of their goals.”

OK, goals – but what are those goals?

The Canadian Budget Binder blog notes that when asked what “do you want your retirement lifestyle to look like,” the answer was not top of mind.

“We both blankly stared at each other and said, `I don’t know,’” reports the blog. “We didn’t know but what we did know was that we had to keep socking away money to max out our retirement savings for future reasons.”

“Depending on who you ask their retirement lifestyle might be painted as, resort-type community living (retirement villages), lavish holidays, mini-trips, restaurants, activities and organizations outside of the home,” the blog notes. “Others might be happy living a simple life in an apartment or their home hopefully mortgage free although for many reaching retirement years that’s not even happening.”

The blog sees being debt-free as a key to being able to leave the workforce.

Other ideas, according to the New Retirement blog are to “do the things that keep you happy,” be they little projects around the house or learning something new.

“You can make a difference to your own loved ones or volunteer and change lives in the community,” the blog continues. Other ideas outlined in the blog include travel, becoming an entrepreneur, being able to get away in the winter, gardening, writing, downsizing and being a consultant.

What we found – or more precisely, didn’t find – was an article that lists what the average person wants their retirement to look like. Thinking about this, that’s probably because those of us still working – a very structured thing, where you show up at a set time and do a task for so many hours a week, all for pay – can’t yet see what an open week, month, or year on a calendar might look like.

So the takeaway is that retirement, unlike work, is 100 per cent dependent on you and your own personal want list. No one is going to set out a retirement lifestyle for you, you have to establish your own. So developing a set of retirement goals – things you want to do when work is a memory – is, in a way, as important as the age-old idea of putting away some money to help you do it.

A nice way to save for retirement is through the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. This unique, end-to-end retirement program is open to any Canadian who has registered retirement savings plan room. And if you don’t have a pension plan at work, SPP can help fill that gap.  SPP will invest your savings at a very low cost, and when it is time to tick off boxes on your retirement to-do list, will convert those savings into income, including the possibility of a lifetime monthly annuity. Check out SPP today.

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Written by Martin Biefer

Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.

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