Ok, in all fairness I will say this in advance. I’ve never read What Colour is Your Parachute? so I can’t make any comparisons to it or say how similar or not this book is the original. Yet I can say is, What Colour is Your Parachute for Retirement, should be mandatory reading for anyone planning their retirement. Yes the book is that good.
Now first off the book isn’t so much on the money side of retirement. It does touch on that, but from a US point of view. So that section isn’t too useful to any Canadian. Yet everything else in the book is really about lifestyle planning or how exactly do you want to live in retirement? And that is the essential part that you should read in this book since most people don’t put any where near enough time in planning their lifestyle.
In this book it says retirement is really based on three things: your prosperity, your happiness and your health to having a good retirement. From there it breaks things down further to examine each part of your life that will contribute to having those three things in the following seven categories:
- Relationships – Basically while working you usually automatically find friends where you work, but once you stop you have to in make an effort to find new ones.
- Psychological Strengths – Forget balancing yourself at this age, play to your strengths. What are you good at and that you like to do?
- Biological Practices – A little work on your diet and exercise program can go a long way to living a better retirement.
- Medical Uses – Again a bit more US based in discussing insurance, but does bring up a valid point. Do you like traditional medical care or do you also want to use some alternative treatments? Do you have a condition that requires you to live near specific services?
- Financial Pillars – The money side of the equation (notice it’s only one small part of the plan).
- Geophysical – What do you do and where do you want to do it? Do you want to plan two phases to your retirement: an active phase in a fun location and then passive phase later on closer to family?
- Ways to Live – The broad brush strokes of your life that you want. Are you a artistic type, hermit, entrepreneur, social butterfly… you get the idea.
So by addressing all of these issues now and planning for them you can really create your ideal retirement. What is really useful in the book is that it has lots of questions and exercises for you to work on to help you determine what parts make up your ideal retirement. It forces you to consider what do you want from your retirement and what do you need?
I even found the exercises useful to flush out my planning a bit more. Yes I might change my mind a bit as I get older, but at least I’m thinking about how exactly I want to live now since how much money you need really does flow from that. It’s not the other way around, so yes start saving for your retirement, but also start thinking: what have I always wanted to do? Don’t just daydream, you also have to plan out things a bit. Afterall when you are filling up decades of time it’s good to have a plan.
So how about you, what do you want to do in retirement? I’ve determined I have a mountain of reading to work on and I want to keep writing and perhaps do more in the publishing side. I also want to travel a bit, but mostly I’m a home body type of person.