6 Reasons to Make a Retirement To-Do List

Listing what you want to accomplish in retirement can make saving easier.

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Many people work hard all their lives, while thinking, discussing, and dreaming about their retirement. But not many people actually know what they want to do after they leave behind their 9 to 5 job. Many individuals think they will figure it out later. Starting a retirement to-do list well before you tell your boss you are done can motive you to save for retirement. Here are some reasons listing your post-retirement goals can help make retirement planning easier.

[See 10 Costs That Could Increase in Retirement.]

Outline your retirement plans. The more pieces of the retirement puzzle you can figure out, the easier it is to plan for it. You might want to play golf, but it would be much more enjoyable to start learning now so you already possess the skills when you are older. Or you might want to start selling sculptures when you have more time to create them, but your business could definitely get a boost if you start talking about it among your professional network well before you retire.

Understand your needs and wants. Not many activities turn out exactly the way you envision them. But the more you think about various scenarios, the more accurately you can predict the circumstances and outcome. For example, you may find after thinking about it for a while that it's not golf you love, but the people you meet playing the game. If this is the case, you can adjust accordingly.

[See The Importance of Negotiating Your Salary.]

Test activities before retirement. People who don't have a retirement to-do list usually plow into an activity as soon as they think of it. Sometimes, it works out great. But it could turn into a disaster, wasting your money and your energy just because it's not what you thought it was. Starting the list early allows you to keep changing it as your interests evolve.

Remember what you found interesting. There have been many things I've had interest in when I was first exposed to it. But, unfortunately, I have since forgotten many of them. My wife gave me this idea when she started writing down the coupons that she has so she remembers to use them. There are also  online coupon sites that keep track of your coupons. But with a retirement to-do list, I’m on my own. If I don't keep a list, I will forget a bunch of the activities I want to try. And who knows? One of those activities could turn out to change my life.

A want list offers motivation. It’s tough to motivate yourself to shoot for a number in your retirement accounts. But if you can tie your retirement savings goal to an imaginable lifestyle, it's much easier to tell yourself to save when you want to buy or to stay home when you really want to blow your money on eating out.

[Bookmark the U.S. News Retirement site for more planning ideas and advice.]

Something to look forward to. Many people want to retire just because they hate their job. When they actually leave the work place, they realize that having somewhere to go to every day isn't all that bad. If you keep a list of activities you want to do post-retirement, you will actually know what to do and have a better reason to retire.

Just like saving for retirement, there’s no better time to start dreaming about what you want to do in retirement than now. Go ahead, put on your thinking cap and imagine.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.