Retirement: Beyond Money

Personal Money Planning |



By Gary Silverman, CFP®

I’m tired.

I’m hearing that and other statements like it more often today than I can remember in a long while. Certainly, COVID has something to do with it; and , school issues, work issues, life issues. Then there is the election season, which according to both parties is the most important one ever. Tension upon tension adds up, and people start breaking. Which is probably why I’m hearing another statement more than I can remember in a long while…

Maybe it’s time to retire.

So maybe it’s time to talk about what it takes to retire. No, I’m not going to harp on investments and such (yet) because retirement is about a lot more than money.

Many of you have spent some considerable time with your spouse/partner. For some it was quality time, for others, not so much. All of a sudden, the person you saw (maybe) before you left for work and then a few hours between coming home and dream time was there 24/7. It took a bit of getting used to.

When you retire the same thing happens—it’s just a bit more permanent. This sudden togetherness might be the silver lining of the COVID experience. You got a glimpse into what it is like to not have a day of activities already planned for you (work, in other words). Some relished in it, others did not.

Psychologists, counselors, and this financial planner will tell you: You need to do more than just retire from work. You need to retire to something. And just like a new job, where you are excited about the possibilities, sometimes you find out that things are just not as great as they seemed. Same with whatever you are thinking of retiring to.

Yes, some can fish, golf, or otherwise dive into a hobby. But will that really fill a void of 40-plus hours a week? And if you have a spouse or partner, what do they think about your plans? This needs to be y’all’s plans.

And talking about the other folks in your life, many of my working friends have a significant amount of their social interactions through work. Assuming you don’t live in a commune, a lot of those will fall off once you stop punching the clock. Expanding your social network is also a vital part of retirement planning.

Even in a family full of love and caring, deciding that you’ll get that interaction from your kids or spouse is a bit presumptuous. The kids have their own lives they’re trying to hold together, and to many spouses the prospect of needing to “entertain” the other is not how they viewed retirement. That’s not to say it’s bad to spend more time with the family…just that they might not be able to fill up all of the created void.

Next week, we’ll look at the boring money-related items to check off heading into retirement. After all, they are important too.


Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.