When you first start planning your retirement, your most pressing concern is overwhelmingly determined by your financial situation. How much money do you need in order to be “ready” for retirement? What can you do to be sure that you’ll have enough to enjoy your golden years and achieve peace of mind?

Once you’ve acquired a certain level of wealth, however, finances are no longer a concern.  You may begin to wonder what exactly your retirement will look like. Once you are no longer tied down by work, what do you want to do with your time?

Everyone will have their own ideas of how they want their retirement to look. Deliberately going through these 3 stages of retirement planning can help you craft the perfect retirement for your specific needs.

Stage One: Find What Drives You

When you begin to assess the types of activities you enjoy when you’re not in the office, you may realize that what drives you may not be the typical “retirement” activities of your parents or grandparents’ generation. A great way to get started is to make a list of things you already enjoy and that you’re good at or would like to try in the future.

For some, retirement may be trying your hand at entrepreneurship, for others it could be traveling the world. Stage one is your time to discover your own driving force. It could be a new hobby, learning a new skill or giving back to your community.

The only requirement is to discover a force that drives you forward.

Stage Two: Cultivating Your Interests and Rewarding Experiences

Once you have an idea of what you’d like to do and have done some experimenting with activities you enjoy, you may begin to see a shift in your way of thinking. When you’ve gotten comfortable with the notion of complete control over your time, your goals may begin to shift.

The key to stage two is to align your interests and experiences with the driving force you discovered in stage one.

You may realize that spending quality time with your family, enjoying the arts, or seeing the world have become top priorities. There are numerous ways to cultivate your unique interests and fill your life with rewarding experiences.

Stage Three: Making it Your Own

Once you’ve reached stage three you’ll most likely want to spend as much time in leisure and relaxation as you can. This is when having your list of what you love and what you’d like to cultivate comes in handy.

Take some time learning more about yourself, those you love, and the world around you. No need to make your retirement something that is prefabricated or “expected” of you.

This is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Retirement is going to look different for each individual retiree. Spending some time determining how you want your retirement to look, and being flexible to change, is a great way to ensure your enjoyment of retirement.

Disclosures

This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding the Funds or any stock in particular, nor should it be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security, including futures contracts.

There are risks involved with investing, including loss of principal. Current and future portfolio holdings are subject to risks as well. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Narrowly focused investments and smaller companies typically exhibit higher volatility. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. High-yield bonds involve greater risks of default or downgrade and are more volatile than investment-grade securities, due to the speculative nature of their investments. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume.

Diversification may not protect against market risk. There is no assurance the objectives discussed will be met. Past performance does not guarantee future results Index returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual portfolio performance. Index returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. One cannot invest directly in an index.