Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing. ~ W. Buffett

About 2 months ago, I put out a request for anyone who wished to complete a survey around Lifestyle Planning and wow, what fun that has been. Thank you to all of you who responded! Today I’ll give you a quick overview of the results before we dive deeper into what concerns, fears and plans many of you brought up; in the months ahead I’ll give you more specifics. A very general and quick observation that jumped out at me right away was who responded. While not all who took the time said they had been working on lifestyle issues those who did take the time to fill in annoyingly little boxes generally had very thoughtful, detailed answers.

Housing; where to live, who to live with for those who are already widowed or who find themselves without a life partner was the number one issue. There were some concerns mentioned how to navigate the taking care of parents, “where will my children be”, “what kind of weather do I wish to tolerate as I age” as well as how much of a home does one wish to maintain as the years progress. Some people mentioned wishing to have a second home in New York City specifically; another person, who is financially capable of a second home opted instead to travel more rather than be tied down to one location.

Not too surprisingly, health was a huge concern of nearly everyone. “How long will I stay healthy”, “what can I do now to make sure I stay healthy” were comments from more than one respondent. For those who felt they were already living a healthy lifestyle, the concern was about how much more could be done. For those who wanted to do more, it was focused on how to get more time in the day or what to give up in order to fold in more time to exercise. Eating fresh, home prepared food for many was a concern; not that they didn’t know how to do this but how to transition away from so many meals out.

A majority of those who took out the time to complete the survey stated they felt they had the financial piece in order. This is interesting because it leaves it unclear as to who took out the time – those who were already getting their head’s around this issue or just generally folks who were well prepared? That will be fun to figure out in the coming months! One person in particular stated that they were very mindful of the financial side of retirement but felt caught short by the lifestyle issues, asking the question, “how do I replace 40 hours a week at work?” One couple had the opposite issue with a great deal of activities for their time and not entirely clear of their financial resources to accomplish those goals.

I followed some of these surveys up with interviews and some of those were just fascinating! One person was truly upset with herself for having given no thought to either the financial piece or the lifestyle piece only to then report that life had dealt some significant challenges; so much so that her life was literally in jeopardy. I’d say in a case like that its OK to be getting around to retirement issues now that the crisis has passed and the healing is happening. One person reported they were 6 years into retirement and horrified at how much time had been spent in physical therapy because of 6 joint replacements! Thank goodness for the surgeons who can do that and the technology but now is the time to start using those new joints to enjoy all that life has to offer.

While nearly all of us know we should be planning for retirement, especially on the financial end of things, it is very clear that what kind of life and where to live that life are still very much up in the air for many. A repeating response I got throughout the survey was, “I had never thought of that.” As I said, in the weeks and months ahead we’ll begin to look at these issues more clearly to get a better handle of what’s what and more importantly, action steps which can be taken now to get ready for later. If you’re already at The Next Chapter I’ll have some pieces for you too! Thanks again everyone!

Best for your week ~