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How to Test-Run Your Retirement

By Jeffrey Meenes, CFP® (Published Date June 6, 2024)

Retirement often brings images of relaxation, freedom, and new opportunities. For those nearing this phase of life, it can be the perfect time to test-run what their retirement might look like. It's an opportunity to dip your toes into the waters of post-career life, ensuring you're ready to embrace this new chapter when the time comes.

Testing out retirement allows you to experience a taste of freedom without work constraints. Here's how to plan your trial retirement:

Define Your Goals

Before you embark on your trial retirement, take some time to define what you hope to achieve. Do you want to travel more? Spend time with family? Pursue hobbies or interests you don’t have time for when working full-time. A clear vision of what you want from retirement will guide your activities during your break.

Create a Budget

Retirement often comes with a fixed income from savings, pensions, or investments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people aged 65 and older spent about $52,141 in 2021.1 But everyone’s expenses differ. Use this trial period to create a budget based on your expected retirement income. Track your expenses to see if your budget aligns with your lifestyle goals. This exercise can highlight areas where you might need to adjust spending or find ways to save.

Test Your Routine

One of the most significant adjustments in retirement is the change in routine. Experiment with different schedules. Sleep in if you want to, but establish a daily routine that includes activities you enjoy. This could be gardening, reading, volunteering, or exploring new hobbies. Testing different routines will help you find a balance that suits your preferences.

Travel and Explore

If travel is on your retirement agenda, use this time to test the waters. Plan a road trip, visit family or friends in different locations, or explore your city as if you were a tourist. Pay attention to how you feel during these trips. Does constant travel bring you joy, or do you prefer the comfort of home? This insight will shape your future travel plans in retirement.

Engage with Your Community

Retirement can sometimes feel isolating, especially if your social interactions are primarily tied to work. Use this trial period to engage with your community in new ways. Attend local events, join clubs or groups that align with your interests, or volunteer for a cause you care about. Building a social network outside of work is crucial for a fulfilling retirement.

Assess Your Health and Wellness

Your health is perhaps the most important aspect of a happy retirement. Focus on your well-being. Establish an exercise routine that works for you, try out different healthy recipes, and schedule any necessary check-ups or appointments. Pay attention to how you feel physically and mentally during this trial period.

Reflect and Adjust

Take time to reflect on your experiences. What aspects of retirement living did you enjoy the most? What challenges did you face? Be open to adjusting your plans based on these reflections. Retirement is a journey, and your trial period is just the beginning.

Financial Review

At the end of your trial retirement, review your finances. Did your budget hold up? Were there unexpected expenses? This review will give you a clearer picture of your financial readiness for retirement. If adjustments are needed, now is the time to make them.

Testing out your retirement is valuable in preparing for this significant life transition. It allows you to experience retirement's freedom and flexibility while highlighting areas needing fine-tuning. Embrace the opportunity to test-run your retirement and pave the way for a fulfilling and enjoyable next chapter in your life.

  1. https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-planning/average-spending/ 

This content is developed from sources believed to provide accurate information from Meenes Wealth Partners. It may not be used to avoid any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.