Ok, so back before Christmas, we discussed the first three elements of our Aerial View of Retirement.  Today we will finished with the last three, Where, Why, and How.  Here we go.


The fourth area that we need to explore is “Where”.  Where do you want to live when you retire?  Perhaps you have many close relationships with friends and family locally, so, if you decide to move, you’ll want to live in the same town or very nearby.  Maybe your children and grandchildren live far away and you want to live your retirement years near them to spend as much time with them as possible.  And, now that you’re not tied to work anymore, you want to move to where they are.

“Where” can also be a question of lifestyle.  You may choose a location because it has the amenities and/or lifestyle options you desire.  If you want to live in a certain climate, or near recreation such as a golf course or a fishing lake, now is the time to think about building that into your retirement design.  Nearly all of us live the main portion of our lives where we “end up” due to factors other than preference.  But remember that this is retirement design.  You may not have designed your life or career in earlier stages of, but you can design things now, especially if you’re acting early enough.


The fifth area of retirement design is “Why”.  Why are you making these lists and these decisions?  This is the heart of “Have To” vs. “Choose To”.  There is far less joy and flexibility in “Have To” decisions.  Also, these are large and often permanent decisions.  That means that we need to feel like we have made them for a good reason.  Heated conversations that include statements like, “Give me one good reason why I should move to a retirement community!” or “There’s no good reason why I shouldn’t stay right here at home.” can be avoided if we settle the “Why” now.

You should list all of the “Why” questions you can think of and then the answers on this list should begin with the word, because.  For example:

Why should I consider moving to a retirement community?

Because I want to spend my retirement years enjoying my time and doing the things I want to do instead of mowing grass and shoveling snow.

Why should I discuss my retirement with my children now while I’m still working?

Because they are the ones who will eventually make decisions on my behalf and I want them to know my wishes while I can express them clearly.

Why should I move to a local retirement community rather then move in with my children?

Because I want to remain connected with my friends, my church, and my community.

As you can see, reasoning these issues out here will make it easy to communicate your wishes down the line.  This doesn’t mean that there won’t be disagreements and tough discussions, but having clear reasons up front can be the key to transforming an emotional argument into an intelligent discussion.


The sixth and final area that we will examine here is “How”.  This is where we boil all of the previous areas down into a tactical plan of action.  In the this section you need to return to every decision you’ve made so far and ask, “How will I/we accomplish this?”  This may take some time, so let yourself off the hook up front.  You may not even know the answers to many of your “How” questions.  That’s OK, just list them anyway.  Then knock them out over time.  Some will be easy.  Others will not.  Chances are that you probably don’t have a ready answer to a question like, “How will we afford to live in a retirement community?” without talking to your financial advisor and/or your insurance agent.

Developing “How” answers now will help others know how to help you later.  For instance, let’s say that you decide that the answer to, “How will I get rid of possessions I don’t want?” is to first offer them to family, then friends, then try to sell them and finally donate what is left.  This helps your children carry out your wishes if you cannot for some reason and saves them the anguish of thinking that you would be disappointed in how things turned out.  It can also help you get through the experience of paring down by reminding you of the priorities you set for yourself when you weren’t under pressure.

People who truly love you just want to help you.  Your kids just want to make you proud.  Your friends just want to make you happy, and the more you communicate your desires, the more they will feel like they honored you by helping you achieve your desired goals.  You see, this retirement design is for more than just you.  It’s for all those involved.  It eliminates adversarial situations and puts everyone on the same team working toward the same thing.  And, most of all, it clearly defines the win so that you and all of your team can know that you made it happen.

In the coming articles we will be breaking down these areas in more depth and providing downloadable resources to accompany them.  These resources are FREE and they are designed to help you design your retirement on your terms step by step.  If you have questions at anytime in this process and just want to talk with someone, Contact Us at Hillandale Communities.  We will gladly speak with you and honestly tell you anything you want to know in a friendly, no-pressure setting.  Heck, we’ll even buy you lunch!