One recent study reports that 27% of Canadians regret retiring while 23% try to re-enter the labour market after retirement because they miss the work and the mental stimulation that come along with it. This would suggest that retirees want a retirement that is fulfilling.

One way to overcome the risk of being unfulfilled in retirement is to plan what your activities will be in your retirement years. Most importantly, fulfill your deeper purpose in life by engaging in activities that matter most to you.  Start by creating a bucket list for all of those adventures you didn't have time for when you were working.

Achieving your bucket list

In retirement, you have the freedom to identify and prioritize what is most important to you. Take advantage of this by considering what you love doing and start making a list. 

Get inspired by asking your spouse, partner or friends about their bucket lists; you may even discover adventures you can go on together.

Here are some things to think about:

  • What do you want to learn?
    Perhaps you want to finally learn how to play guitar or speak Mandarin. Maybe advancing your painting skills, improving your baking abilities, achieving that black belt in Taekwondo or Jiu Jitsu top your list. Search the Internet and check out community papers or billboards to find out what is available in your area and sign yourself up for those classes.
  • What do you want to see and experience?
    Whether it’s going on a cruise, driving through the Napa Valley or walking Spain's Camino de Santiago, there are so many places to visit that it can be hard to narrow the list. When you consider a destination or an adventure, it’s best to evaluate if you like the food and weather and have the athletic prowess required to enjoy yourself. If you don't like hot weather, visiting a place during the height of summer may not be the best plan.
  • What do you wish you could do if you were fearless?
    Sometimes anxiety can prevent us from putting thrill-seeking experiences on our bucket list, even though we may be envious of our friends who take the leap. Consider identifying small obstacles that you could overcome and slowly work towards reaching that goal. For example, if you've always wanted to skydive, going up in a small plane a few times may calm your nerves and give you the confidence to take the next step.

Where to start

Once you’ve identified your list, prioritize your goals and focus on your top 1 or 2 items. As you spend time planning how best to achieve your goal, you should also consult with your advisor to make sure that your bucket list plans align with your financial plans.

If you struggle with the level of commitment demanded of achieving your bucket list item alone, consider inviting others to join you. By getting a group of friends together, you benefit from their excitement and can divvy up the work required to plan for the adventure.

Another way to get motivated is joining an existing group where you can meet new people and share in a common passion.

At the end of the day, one factor plays a role in every successful retirement: good planning. By creating a bucket list that encompasses your areas of interest, you’ll never regret transitioning into retirement years.