In this article I hope to explain how a comprehensive retirement plan can help retirees once the glitter has worn off and retirement has become a reality, complete with all is beauty and ugliness, dimples and warts, trials and rewards.

Too many people start out without a plan and, when times get tough (as it most certainly will), many of these people simply surrender, leaving their dreams, efforts and money strewn on the floor, or in the hands of false friends whose only wish was to separate them from their money, and damn the dreams.

When you have a retirement plan that truly reflects your dreams and details how you planned to bring them into being you have a map on which you can:

  • Ensure your dreams and purpose reflect your initial criteria in the retirement world;
  • Measure your dreams against actuality and identify where you have misjudged your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
  • Adjust your plan to ensure you face each new situation before the situation rips it from your control and forces you to follow, rather than lead, your retirement through the dark times and back into the light; and
  • Choose the best way forward to continued growth and success.

There will be times when you doubt yourself, your retirement plan, your co-workers, and your future. In those dark times it is always easier if you have an emotional anchor on which you can rely for guidance and support. This anchor should be your retirement plan.

Your retirement plan also acts tool to measure your progress and, where necessary, guide you back to the high road.

I recommend that you keep your retirement plan handy at all times. At least quarterly (or more regularly when times are tough) you should compare the projections you made in the original plan with the real situation. By doing this you will be able to:

  • Anticipate problems and challenges and prepare to address and avoid/resolve them; and
  • Adjust your projections to compensate for the changes to reality that have occurred.

Right now, as the end of lockdown approaches, we find that:

  • Our investments have lost a significant part of their value;
  • Our movement has been made more difficult and expensive to undertake; and
  • Our family interaction has been restricted and our freedom undermined.

Fortunately it is possible to meet these challenges. By being aware of the situation the necessary adjustments have been made and our plan adapted accordingly. Without this early warning and with some astute and courageous management potential disaster can be avoided and new opportunities successfully identified and developed.

For this reason I strongly recommend that:

  • a formal, written retirement plan should be part of your management tool kit
  • It should always be available and used to measure progress in your retirement; and
  • It should be regularly revisited and amended to suit changing situations.

Have fun, do good and contribute to your society as best you can. Always remember that you reap from what you have sown.