8 Non-Money retirement questions to ask yourself

April 08, 2019

At that age where retirement is right around the corner? You’re probably up to your ears in advice about saving money for the day it finally comes. That’s important, yes, but it’s not the only thing that might need sorting.

Retiring is a big change for a lot people, and we’re not just talking about your wallet. You’ll also need to build a new routine, sort out feelings and plan for what comes next. There’s more to it than most people think!

Before you retire, you might want to ask yourself these eight questions.

1. Do I even want to retire?

Might sound crazy, but some people actually like working. If that’s you, there are ways to keep a job for as long as it’s still fun.

  • Just keep working! This could be in the job you have now or a new one. You’re free to keep going for as long as you want.
  • Go from work to retirement slowly instead of in a second. Switch to part-time or casual hours over a few months (or even years) until you’re really ready to quit.
  • Volunteer somewhere you love. It’s a good way to give back and still feel like you’re doing a job.

2. What’s my #1 goal?

Ok, you actually are ready to retire. What does that mean to you? It’s always nice to have a goal, even when it’s a fun one!

  • Travel more. No more clearing holidays with the boss—yay!
  • Spend more time with family & friends. More laughs, fun and memories with your favourite people!
  • Get back to my hobbies. Fishing, salsa dancing, knitting, lawn bowls, collecting action figures, painting your pets… whatever you’re into. (We won’t judge.) 

3. What does my partner think?

Ready to retire or not, you might want to run your ideas past the mister or missus. If they’re not onboard, that could be a problem!

  • Are they retired, too? You might need to hit pause on some goals until they’ve also stopped working.
  • Having different goals is OK. Even if you’re keen to spend more time together, you don’t have to spend all your time together. It’s fine if you don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on everything, so long as you can both come to a happy compromise.
  • Don’t be a space invader. If your partner’s already retired, they might feel like you’re always underfoot or throwing a spanner into their routine. It might not be true, but you could still need to hash out some sore feelings.

4. What do the kids think?

It also might be nice to run everything past the kids. Your retirement plans might mean changes for them, too.

  • You’ve got nothing but free time—they don’t. Planning family holidays or even just a weekend dinner might still be tough. You’ll probably need to be the flexible one.
  • Different goals are still OK. Just like your spouse, you and the kiddos might not be on the same page about travel, time with the grandkids or lots of other things. Talk it out and make a plan that works for everyone.
  • Really, don’t be a space invader. Want to spend more time with the kids and grandkids? That’s great! Just try not to overstay your welcome. Make sure they get enough family time without you, too.

5. How will I make new friends?

We get older and our social circle starts to shrink. It’s natural, but you can still make new friends as you go!

  • Join a club. Heaps of people are making friends through clubs. Check out your local community centre or look online for book clubs, tramping orgs and everything in between.
  • Relive your student days without worrying so much about homework and exams. It’s not unusual to see older students in uni classes these days!
  • Show off your sporty side (after checking with your GP, of course)! You can also coach a kids’ team or ref weekend matches.

6. How’s my health?

Retiring won’t be much fun if you’re too sick to enjoy it. Think about your health now and take your questions to the GP.

  • Ask your doctors for a short-term and a long-term plan. These could help you stay healthy, slow down some big risks or even leave you better off.
  • Eat right and exercise as much as you can. Yeah, yeah… we all know that. But your GP can give some advice on what this looks like as you get older.
  • Keep booking your regular checkups to track how you’re going—that also means hitting the dentist’s chair twice a year! And remember that mental health is important, too.

7. What’s the plan if I get seriously sick?

Getting older stinks sometimes. Just about everyone will eventually have some health problems, and you might want to figure out what will happen if things really go south.

  • Think about an advance directive—a doc that outlines who can make decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself, plus how you’d like the doctors to care for you if certain things happen.
  • Decide who’s get “power of attorney”. That’s the person who might end up making your decisions. Make sure it’s someone you trust and who understands your wishes.
  • Decide where you’ll live, if you can’t live on your own someday. If it’s with your kids, it’s probably best to figure this out now before you show up with suitcases!

8. Are my “estate” ducks in a row?

It sounds fancy, but an estate is just all the stuff you leave behind when you die. House, car, matchbook collection, knitting needles, fishing gear, roller skates… it all gets bundled up into your estate (along with your money and debts, too).

  • Decide if you need a Will. Someone’s gonna get your stuff when you die. A Will helps make sure everything goes to the people you want.
  • Share your funeral wishes with your family. They’ll be arranging everything after you’re gone. If you’ve got any requests, they should probably know.
  • Give any insurance policies a once over. If you’ve had life insurance for a while, check that it’s still valid and keep the details someplace safe. No insurance? Think about getting funeral insurance to help cover the cost of the funeral.

This list probably doesn’t cover everything that needs sorting before you retire (let us know on Facebook what we’ve forgot!), but it should help figure out a lot of it. It’s hopefully smooth sailing from here!

Psst… over here! Get Funeral Cover from Dollar Insurance and we’ll throw in a free legal e-Will Kit! 


Disclaimer: The information in this article is for general use only. It doesn’t take into account your personal financial situation. If you’re unsure if this information meets your needs, you may want to seek professional financial advice.

The product information in this article was correct at the time it was published. Some details may have changed since then. For up-to-date product information, please visit the Dollar Insurance website.


About the author: Dollar Insurance is all about making insurance as painless as possible, so everyday Kiwis can make life cover and funeral cover a part of their plan.