By: Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®

I don’t know about you, but I’m really close to cracking. I think my wife and I are going to try an outdoor dining spot relatively soon. It’s been over three months since we’ve gone out for date night and I’m pretty sure we’re at that point. How about you? Anyone beginning to loosen the reins?

The topic of this week’s blog sounds pretty provocative, doesn’t it? But Andrew I’m happily married (you may be thinking), I don’t want to “retirement date.”

I don’t care. Do it! Date often. Try all different types of dating, until you get it right. Trust me. If you do, you’ll be thanking me later.

But, what do I mean by “retirement dating?” You see, retirement is a really (REALLY) big deal. Once you retire, it’s hard to unretire. You also, generally, only get one shot at it. Thus, you want to get it right. This is why I suggest doing a “retirement trial run” a few years before you actually pull the proverbial plug.

Don’t walk into work one day, retire cold-turkey, and then spend the next few years figuring out what retirement means to you. Instead, if you want to maximize your retirement, I suggest testing the waters a little bit (or “dating”) prior to actually fully retiring. This way you’ll be prepared to hit the ground running. Now that you know what I mean by retirement dating, you’re hopefully canceling your Tinder profiles (look it up for a chuckle if you’re a boomer and not sure what it is).

Let’s now talk about the couple of areas worth dating before the real deal.

1. Where to live: I see this all the time as I’m talking to people approaching retirement. The question often comes up as they’re no longer shackled to an area due to employment. Truly, once you retire you can move and live anywhere in the world. Why not start doing the research now? Make it fun, as it truly should be. Start vacationing in areas where you may want to live. Maybe spend two weeks during the winter being a snow-bird down South. Rent a home versus a hotel and start living like a local rather than a tourist. I’ve found, as you and your significant other start to date these areas, the right place to land will become very clear. If you start doing it today, you’ll get it right and waste no time once your retirement has come.

2. What to spend: You know how many times I hear, “we spend $8,000 per month and that’s what we can live on.” However, while working they find it impossible to live on that. Rather, they’re spending $10,000 or $11,000 per month. These people swear once retirement comes, they’ll be able to cut back. I think you all know what I’m going to say here, don’t you? Start retirement dating it. If you find you really can’t (because to get down to $8,000 means no more fun), then you’ll need to recalibrate. A lot of what we do relies on our ability to understand what it costs to be us in retirement. Might as well do the dry run while working, as it allows us to self-correct when we still have income. This way we have more options and can get this retirement thing right.

3. Extracurricular activities: (I’d first like to say, I’m proud of myself for spelling extracurricular right on the first time. It’s rare I can spell a six-syllable word correctly, without spellcheck, on the first go.) Any way, what do I mean here? A lot of times, we think we want to own RV’s or boats in retirement. Before you go commit to a big purchase like that, retirement date it for a few years. You can easily rent an RV or join a boat club to test these waters. You might find the occasional usage better suits your retirement needs than going out and dropping beaucoup bucks on these things. Perhaps you get seasick or realize you prefer flights and hotels. Maybe you simply don’t use this stuff as much as you would have thought. Regardless, go retirement date it and see what really makes sense for you and your situation.

4. Lifestyle: This one, regardless of age, is a critical thing. I’ve written some past blogs about the “do it now” concept, too. Regardless if you are 32 or 62, don’t put off those things you think will make you truly happy until you’re retired. Instead, date them. Figure out what really brings you joy. Is it sitting at home with your family or perhaps traveling and seeing the world? Do you get enjoyment out of volunteering for a local charity, or teaching others a skill you’re really good at? If you think of life as a game you’re trying to win and the objective is to live the most fulfilled life ever, how would you attack it? What would your winning strategy be? To me, that’s the benefit of dating retirement lifestyles. This way when you have all that free time, you can take the years of understanding what makes you happy and be afforded the luxury to maximize every moment.

Date like you haven’t dated before!!!

The truth is, many of you haven’t had the time or focus to think about retirement dating. As a person who has retired hundreds of times (vicariously through others), let me tell you the impact of this concept can’t be understated. With experience comes knowledge. You only get one shot at this retirement thing. Don’t you want to make it count? Certainly, heed my advice and go enjoy retirement dating. I just can’t wait to enjoy real dating with my wife soon at an actual restaurant!

In his role as Financial Planner, Andrew forges lifelong relationships with clients. He coaches them through all stages of life and guides them to better achieve their life goals. Andrew loves helping others by spreading his knowledge on finance, investments, and the pursuit of happiness/fulfillment. He writes nationally recognized, weekly blog posts on these topics and is a regular contributor to Kiplinger. Andrew has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News & World Report, USA Today, CNBC, along with many other publications.

For more information or to book a consult with Andrew or the other firm partners, Kyle Hill and David Levy, click the link below.

Andrew Rosen, CFP®, CEP®
Kyle Hill, CFP®
David Levy, CFP®

Financial planning and Investment advisory services offered through Diversified, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Securities Service Network, LLC, Member FINRASIPC. Some associates of Diversified, LLC are registered representatives of Securities Service Network, LLC, a registered broker/dealer, 9729 Cogdill Road, Knoxville, TN 37932. (800) 264-5499.