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Use a Bucket List to plan your retirement

Planning for retirement is big business these days.   Having enough retirement money is, undoubtedly, important.  What's more important is what you are going to do with your time during your 20 retirement years.

After all, if you retire in reasonably good health at 65, the chances are excellent that you will live to be 85.  That's 20 years of living ahead of you--7300 days for you to fill with excitement and meaningful activities--or numbing boredom.

Time and the Bucket List

This is where your own personal Bucket List comes in to help you plan your retirement years. 

Ideally, years  before you retire, you should draw up a list of about 20 to 30 things (or more) you have always wanted to do, but never had the time.  Even if you are already retired, doing this can be very helpful. 

A tip: don't worry about how you can afford to do the things on your personal Bucket List. The first factor you need to consider is time--how much time you will spend doing the items on your list.

Perhaps you start your written list with extreme experiences like skydiving, hiking the Appalachian Trail, scuba diving in Bora Bora or taking race car driving lessons in Las Vegas.   You may find, however, that you want to add:

   Learn a new language 
   Start a small business 
   Take music lessons  
   Take p
ainting or sculpture classes
   Write your memoir
   Read a book a week and write an online review of it on Goodreads
   Write a blog
   Run for public office 
Run a marathon
   Walk 7 miles a week
   Take up mountain climbing
   Enter a fishing derby
   Enter a competitive Scrabble contest
   Photograph the sunset every day and post it online on Pinterest
   Live in another country  
   Live on a houseboat for a year or two
   Visit all 50 states
   Visit all the National Parks
   Work in a National Park for a season or two
   Travel to Europe--or Asia or Africa
   Take a classic road trip across America
elp build a Habitat for Humanity home
   Do short term volunteer work in the U.S. or abroad  
   Join the Peace Corps (there is no age limit and the new application process is much shorter than before.)

Once you've made  up your Bucket List, regard it as your list of goals.  With specific goals, you are likely to live longer and, at the very least, likely to take better care of your health so you will be in good shape to do all you want to do. 

Then prioritize your list, keeping in mind how long each activity will take.  If skydiving is on your list, you can do it one Saturday afternoon--and talk about it for years to come.  Learning a new language will obviously take longer, but can be done at the same time as other things.  Starting a new bricks-and-mortar business is a major time commitment.  Launching an online business may take less time and be more fun.

Before you finish your Bucket List Retirement Plan, decide where you are going to live.  Are you moving to the Sunbelt?  Staying where you are?  Downsizing to a smaller home?  Moving outside the U.S.?  Your housing choice can have a significant impact on your ability to pay for the experiences on your Bucket List.

His and Her retirement plans 

For couples, drawing up separate Bucket Lists can be highly revealing.  In fact, we suggest that each of you make your own individual list of retirement activities and priorities.  Then sit down and compare.  You may be shocked to discover that you and your spouse have greatly differing ideas about retirement.  Better that you get these differences out on the table before retirement actually arrives, so you can discuss and negotiate what you both will do during those 20 years of retirement living.

Once you have fine-tuned your Bucket List, you need to include your Bucket List goals as you make your retirement financial plan.  After all, you won't know how much money you need for your retirement if you don't have a fairly clear idea of what your 20 year retirement life will be like. 

NOTE:  All names on this site have been changed to protect individual privacy.  The stories are real, the names are not. 


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