Retirement Planning Tool

More than financial planning

This excellent retirement planning tool goes beyond retirement financial planning. It’s a checklist that covers the familiar big issues, as well as other important details, which are sometimes overlooked.  You could use it with your partner, your colleagues, or a retirement coach. I also suggest you browse the rest of this website, where you will find articles on many of the topics. 

When I first met my retirement coach I had a list of topics, which I wanted to discuss. My coach heard my list, and then observed "You haven’t mentioned how retirement will affect the relationship between you and your wife." And that became the theme of my first coaching conversation. If I had the attached checklist, I would have realized sooner the impact of retirement for couples. 

What matters most?

People affected

  • Retiree

  • Spouse

  • Children

  • Family

  • Neighbors

  • Local Community

  • Work Colleagues

  • Retired Colleagues

  • The “Business” retired from

  • Friends

What retiree loses

  • Income

  • Status

  • Contact with Colleagues

  • Job Satisfaction

  • Fixed Routine

  • Sense of Purpose

Retirement phases

  • Preparation

  • Euphoria

  • Sadness

  • Sense of Loss

  • Sense of Unreality

  • Loneliness

  • Inertia

  • Frenzy of activity

  • Humdrum boredom

  • Domestic readjustment

  • Search for new sense of fulfilment

  • Loss of dignity/identity

  • Contentment with low level routine

  • Ultimately Senior Assisted Living, or living alone


  • Change Job

  • Part-time work

  • Develop existing hobbies

  • New Retirement Hobbies

  • Take up new social activities

  • Make choices

  • Reduced stress

  • More time with spouse and family

  • Senior Travel deals

  • Retire abroad

Retiree needs

  • Companionship at home

  • Companionship outside home

  • Activity

  • New sense of purpose

  • Health and wellbeing

  • Exercise for seniors

  • Investing for retirement

  • Knowledge of entitlements
  • Retirement planning tool

Retirement for couples

  • Prepare for by discussing with spouse in advance of retirement

  • Degree of extra companionship must have tolerance for respective personalities

  • There will be opportunity to help with some of the routine chores

  • There will be opportunity to learn art of cooking, if desired

  • However any encroachment into domestic tasks should be by agreement and should never give rise to critical comparisons or carping

  • There will be more time to avail of holiday breaks together

  • Similarly it will be possible to engage in social activities together

  • The same applies to exercise together, be it walking, jogging, swimming or gym activities

  • However, underlying all this, it is important that each should continue to have the space to follow their chosen pursuits outside the domestic scene
  • Retirement planning tool for couples

Companionship outside the home

  • It would be beneficial to maintain some contact with former colleagues

  • Retirement will give time for involvement in local or other activities and a payback for this will be the establishment of new companionships

  • Join an Active Retirement Community

  • The degree to which you would wish to be involved would depend on your distinctive personality but perhaps those of an outgoing nature should seek out and help those of a shy or retiring nature

  • This should become clearer in dealing with the next topic under the heading of “activity”


  • The possibilities are vast, depending on your health, energy, inclination and enthusiasm

  • Retirement jobs, part-time work – perhaps filling in some gaps in your former employment

  • Full time work in another discipline to fulfil a long-felt wish and perhaps with a specific time span in mind

  • Further study on some topic of interest with a definite goal or qualification in mind

  • Involvement in local activities such as “Meals on wheels”, “St, Vincent de Paul” “Tidy towns”, “Parish activities” etc.

  • Retirement hobbies, e.g. painting

  • Get involved in your local Active Retirement Association for such activities as “Bridge”, Walking, Bowling, Gardening etc. etc.

New sense of purpose

  • You should bear in mind that even though retired, you are capable of being a very useful person

  • At your age you have a vast store of knowledge and experience which is a very worthwhile asset

  • Your newly found sense of purpose will depend on your point of view and will be related to the activities undertaken but it should always be positive

  • It may be the achievement of some goal, such as completion of a course of study, develop some competence as a painter, emergence as a diligent and competent participant in fulfilling some social needs or whatever.

Health and wellbeing

  • Health, as they say, is wealth. Everything else is secondary

  • Good food and balanced diet is essential – don’t neglect meals especially if living alone

  • Don’t smoke – if you do, develop a “sense of purpose” to quit

  • Alcohol in moderation

  • Get a good night’s sleep – usually 8 hours but may do with less as you get older

  • Early to bed and early to rise is a good maxim – don’t stay in bed half the day

  • Exercise for seniors, with fresh air every day. Walking - say half an hour or so - is very beneficial

  • Get a full check-up from your G.P once a year, even if you feel great!

  • For a sense of wellbeing try to take part in some of the activities outlined above

  • Live within your means

Knowledge of entitlements

  • Be involved with a retirement association of your previous employment (if one exists) to keep abreast of post retirement entitlements

  • Officers of the department of Social Welfare will have full information on statutory entitlements

Acknowledgement:  Retirement Planning Tool

I’m grateful to Vincent Ryan and his team of seven retirees from Dalkey Co Dublin, who carried out research for the purpose of understanding the issues involved in retirement, and from which this retirement planning tool evolved.

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