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Replace Your Bucket List with a Challenge List?

| January 25, 2022

Each January many people reflect on the past year and set new goals for the next 12 months and beyond. When it comes to retirement, a “bucket list” is a common reference to checking off a list of activities in which you want to participate before you “kick the bucket.” 

Replacing a “bucket list” with a “challenge list” may just seem like semantics but shifting the mindset away from a retirement filled with travel, reading, or relaxing (not that any of those are bad!) to more purpose-filled challenges can make a big difference on our mental and emotional health during a significant period of change.

Consider the following:

  1. Stretching/challenging ourselves is not simply good for advancing a career; it’s actually an important part of good mental health. Learning a new language or skill can help keep the mind sharp now that problems and puzzles of a former job or career are no longer present.
  2. Seeing famous sites is fun, but travel and old architecture can start to become stale quickly. Learning some of a new language for example (see #1) before you travel can provide greater meaning when visiting a different country and culture. Having a new skill such as photography, or painting, broadens the purpose of some of these grand adventures.
  3. We are not meant for a life a leisure. After an initial “honeymoon” period of 6-12 months after retirement, many retirees can feel a bit lost and without purpose. A challenge list can include starting a new business, writing a book, or volunteering regularly at a favorite local charity; things that have always seemed intriguing but there wasn’t time to explore during working years.

Part of our job here is to not just to help you be financially prepared for retirement, but also to ask thought-provoking questions that will guide you toward retirement years that are full of great meaning and wonderful memories. Here are a few to ponder yourself or share with friends and family:

  • As you approach retirement from your current career, are your simply retiring from something, or are your retiring to something? What is that “something”?
  • Who do you know who seems happy and fulfilled in their retirement? Consider talking with them.
  • Who do you know who seems unhappy in their retirement? Why do you think this is?

If you are interested in reading further on the topic of mindset when approaching retirement, you might consider the following books:

Portfolio Life by David Corbett

Purposeful Retirement by Hyrum W. Smith

An Uncommon Guide to Retirement by Jeff Haanen