Retirement checklist part 2: how to plan for retirement

October 13, 2023

What else is there to consider in your retirement planning besides your finances? So glad you asked. Here are five of the top ways you can and should plan for retirement.

Feeling unprepared for retirement? Use our checklist to wrap up everything you need to plan for retirement.

Last time, we offered our Retirement Checklist which included six key items to help ensure your retirement is financially sound and successful.

But your personal finances are only part – albeit a big part – of what you need to keep in mind when you’re thinking about how to plan for retirement. What else is there to consider in your retirement planning besides your finances? So glad you asked. Here are the last five items to check off your list:

#1: Plan for your new "job". When you’re thinking about how to plan for retirement, it’s easy to think about what you’re NOT going to do: no more commuting to work, no more incompetent boss, no more office politics. But that leaves you home all day watching TV. That might sound great for a day or two, but it’s a long-term recipe for disaster.  

Instead, plan for your retirement “job” – the one where you’re the boss and you can create the “responsibilities” list you want. Will you pursue hobbies? Travel? Volunteer activities? A second career?  

Here’s another aspect of your work life that you should apply to your retirement “job”: a schedule. You likely had a set schedule or routine: when to get up, eat breakfast, get to work, and so on through the day. Set up a similar schedule for retirement: plan on getting up, eating, exercising, and going to bed at the same time each weekday. And schedule your other “work tasks” too, such as volunteering, hobbies, socializing, and so on. 

#2: Make sure you have a social circle. This is an important, often overlooked piece of planning for retirement. As Bette Midler used to sing: “You gotta have friends.. Many people build a large part of their social life around work, so it’s likely many of your friends and confidants are coworkers. While some may remain so after you retire, many will assume you are out of sight, out of mind, and will not.  

Do you have a social circle to replace office friends who fall away after you retire? Fellow volunteers at a charity? Congregants at a house of worship? Neighbors? Fellow attendees at an adult education class? Other hobbyists? If you don’t have a non-work-based social circle in place, start building one now. You can start small, by joining a club, taking a class, or inviting neighbors in for coffee. 

#3: Prioritize your mental health. Retirement is a major life change that can impact your mental health. If your personal sense of identity has been based on your professional life, what will you base your identity on now? Family, friends, and volunteering can be a basis for your self-worth. Identify the people you can discuss this with: a healthcare professional, spouse, religious advisor, or others.

A natural fear of many senior citizens is losing even a portion of their mental capabilities. The unknown is usually scarier than the known, so plan a visit to your healthcare professional to discuss your concerns and take a test to measure your mental acuity. Likely it will allay your fears – and create a baseline against which you can compare future results. To keep your mind active, take classes, read a novel, learn a new language or skill, and engage with family or friends regularly. 

#4: Don't neglect your physical health. It’s likely that one positive aspect of the working life you’re now leaving behind is that it kept you moving – literally, if only to get you to and from your desk. If you don't already have an active exercise routine, state one now to compensate— and more— for the on-the-job activity you're losing. There are so many choices available to you today: yoga, Pilates, aerobics, weight training, jogging – even a brisk walk in the park.  

Set a goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (that’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week) or half that, 75 minutes per week, for vigorous activities or exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And there’s a side benefit to going to a gym or joining a sports club: it can also help you to meet and make friends.

#5: Talk to your family and friends. As you plan for retirement, are the people who know you best giving you their thoughts on how you might best thrive? Maybe – but only 9% of retirees frequently discuss retirement planning with their family and friends. Do your part to get that number up! Getting a wise, outside perspective on what retirement could look like will not only give you information but also help you feel more confident. And that’s truly invaluable.

And there you have it: five of the top ways you can and should plan for retirement. They have little or nothing to do with financial planning, but they’re just as crucial to the success of your retirement. 



Learn more about aging well in the age of longer life spans

Jackson's Is 100 the new 70? white paper examines the rapid growth in longevity anticipated and the scientific advances behind it. The paper explores the importance of keeping healthy by focusing on the foundational areas of sleep, movement, nutrition, and stress. It also discusses retirement products that can help eliminate the risk of running out of money in retirement. Download our white paper here.
Did you find this article helpful?

We're dedicated to providing timely and relevant content and your insights will help us create more meaningful articles. Take a quick survey to let us know your thoughts!


Jackson, its distributors, and their respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state, or local tax penalties. Tax laws are complicated and subject to change. Tax results may depend on each taxpayer’s individual set of facts and circumstances. You should rely on your own independent advisors as to any tax, accounting, or legal statements made herein.

Jackson® is the marketing name for Jackson Financial Inc., Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Home Office: Lansing, Michigan),  and Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York® (Home Office: Purchase, New York). Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, member FINRA.