The Pre-Retirement Bucket List

Crossing items off a bucket list is one of the things pre-retirees look forward to most. However, there are some things to check off during your working years that could make retirement even more enjoyable.

If you have dreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or touring Napa’s wine valley, you might consider giving something on your bucket list a try before you retire. One way to avoid a letdown in retirement is to use the years preceding it to find out if your perceived dreams are all they’re cracked up to be.

For example, if you’re thinking of relocating when you retire, use some of your vacation time to visit your retirement destination in different seasons. Will you still want to live in your dream beach community in the winter, when it’s a bit too windy and cold for those long beach walks? Some people find they miss experiencing all four seasons — the beauty of autumn leaves changing color; snow on the lawn. Maybe year-round warm weather is as nice as it sounds, but it’s worth spending time contemplating every detail before you pack up and move.

By the same token, consider whether you can relocate before you retire. For instance, perhaps ask for a transfer if your company has an office near your retirement dream spot. Or, pitch the idea of working remotely from home. Retiring and moving at the same time can be quite disorienting; try it out before you quit.

Also, develop a strong social network outside of work. Many times colleagues are our closest friends, but we don’t all retire at the same time. Whatever hobbies you want to pursue in retirement, start them now and develop a network of friends who share those same interests. Consider it “trying out” new friends to find a good fit.

From a financial perspective, you may want to consider paying for any pending large-ticket expenses before you retire, such as replacing windows or the roof, buying a new car or a new water heater. Also, try living on your projected retirement income before you retire. This is easier if the kids have moved out of the house and you’re all paid up with college and the mortgage. See what life would be like on the amount you have allotted for yourself.

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