What kind of retirement do you want?

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Most Canadians have a financial plan for their retirement, but very few have a retirement lifestyle plan. So while they will have the money they need, they are often at a loss about what to do with their time and energy.

To ensure a happy and successful retirement, you need to develop a retirement lifestyle plan. Retirement expert Suzanne Armstrong says the secret is to build your plan around your strengths, interests and passions. Her organization, Life’s Next Steps, is dedicated to helping people define and create the retirement they want.

The 3 most common retirement plans
When you ask soon-to-be retirees what they’re going to do, the three answers at the very top of the list are: 1. Play golf. 2. Spend more time with the grandkids. 3. Travel.

While those are all fun activities, they don’t make a plan. Consider that you probably spend 2,000 to 3,000 hours a years at work. You can’t possibly fill all that time with golf, grandkids or travel alone.

Many businesspeople also face a traumatic loss of identity at retirement. Their networks, power and sense of control are gone overnight. Without a plan to create new networks and activities, it’s easy to slip into lethargy and depression.

Complete our retirement survey now. Your opinion matters.

How to create your retirement lifestyle plan

Life’s Next Steps has developed an extremely effective way to uncover your real strengths, interests and passions, build a retirement lifestyle plan around them and then put that plan into action. It’s a three-stage program that participants say generates dramatically positive results. You can do it on your own or with your spouse.

Stage 1: Understand yourself
Life’s Next Steps provides you with a number of personal assessment tools that help you focus on the things you excel at, the dreams and goals you have, and the contribution you want to make over the rest of your life. You use these online tools at home to start to understand what you want to do and define your plan.

Stage 2: Build your plan
Up to 20 participants then come together at a two-day workshop with highly trained Life’s Next Steps facilitators. Presentations, exercises, real-life examples, plus group and one-on-one discussions are all employed to help you clearly define your dreams and goals and turn them into a solid plan of action.

Stage 3: Execute your plan
With the ongoing support of Life’s Next Steps experts and peer coaches from your workshop, you execute your plan according to the timetable you’ve developed. You always have someone you can talk to as you move into a happy and successful retirement.

Some real-life examples

Through the workshop, one participant came to realize that his greatest strength was mentoring. His plan included meeting with four community organizations that provide guidance to troubled teens and joining one of them as a volunteer.

Another participant saw that she wasn’t really ready for retirement and wanted to go back to work on a part-time basis. Her plan included renewing her business contacts and opening a consulting service.

A couple came to understand how they could combine their love of travel with their professional knowledge by volunteering with international charitable organizations for six months each year. That left them the other six months for their other passion — golf.

Find out more about your future.

Retirement is better when you have a plan. Visit the Life’s Next Steps, website to see if this unique service is right for you, or call 1-877-957-8377 (1-877-95STEPS). Canadian workshops are being held this fall and winter.

Complete our retirement survey now. Your opinion matters.