Retirement planning is about more than just your finances.

As we welcome another year of COVID-19 living, many individuals are that much closer to - or have already hit - retirement. Some may have been asked to “volunteer” for retirement earlier than expected or some may have chosen to walk away from a very different looking career than they had known for years prior. The adjustment in retirement timing, as well as the impact on financial portfolios, gives rise to the idea that retirement planning is about more than money. Those nearing the close of their careers are reevaluating what that ‘nest egg’ of savings should be used for – a yearly tropical vacation? A second home in a warmer winter climate? Altogether retirees have begun to ask, ‘what will my retirement look like in a COVID world?’ In a time where investments may be declining, there are other aspects of one’s retirement plan that must be considered. That is lifestyle planning.

The Globe and Mail interviewed Mr. Robert Owens, CEO, wealth management at Owens MacFadyen Group in Saint John, N.B. where he said, “most people, in our experience, are pessimistic about their way of living for at least the next two years.” Retirees question the impact on their life savings and whether the financial goals they so meticulously saved for will be attainable or even available to them. Owens notes that although most retirees will be able to weather the financial trials that COVID has offered, anyone that planned travel as their retirement escape has been greatly impacted.

There is no guarantee that those with travel plans will be able to obtain the necessary travel insurance required for such a trip. Even after obtaining travel insurance, few if any, insurance companies are willing to include COVID-19 related claims within their policies. This could mean “several hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills” for those that end up in the ICU of a hospital outside of Canada, states Owens. This will have a great impact on the decision of future travelers and snowbirds.

Susan Latremoille, founder of SuccessDNA highlights the need to focus on the non-financial aspects of retirement planning. Latremoille says, “there are some similarities between COVID-19 and retirement in terms of [the impact on a person’s] life.” COVID-19 left many people uneasy about their day-to-day when the scheduled routine of going into the office was lost. This, Latremoille says, is very similar to those that have newly entered retirement. “After the honeymoon period of retirement is over, people can feel an enormous sense of loss of control and purpose as well as anxiety and isolation.” So how can lifestyle planning have an impact on this, especially in today’s economic climate?

With travel being a limited option, one suggestion is to take the money set aside for retirement travel and putting it into home renovations that make “stay at home” efforts more comfortable and inviting. That could mean adding a home gym, hot tub, or theatre room. Maybe it means investing in a vacation property that is relatively close to home. We’re a little biased but take a look at the Pinnacle Lifestyles Resorts Page if you’re looking for some options!

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