What Is Your Retirement Manifesto?

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This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.

A manifesto is a declaration of an individual or group’s intentions and motivations. Most big life events involve some kind of manifesto — whether you call it that or not. Contracts, wedding vows, and employment agreements are all declarations of your intent.

Retirement is actually an ideal time to write a manifesto. Retirement is your time — your time to be who you want to be. You may be hampered by finances, but your time and beliefs are your own, and retirement is a perfect time to embody and promote your own ideals. In retirement, you are not defined by the work you do for money

This is your time to be defined by you.

However, writing your own manifesto — an expression of your own intentions, opinions, and vision — is much more powerful than a contract you sign. Have you ever written down your beliefs and goals just for your own betterment? Writing a manifesto can be a great way of thinking about what you want out of your life and a way of holding yourself accountable for being who you want to be.

Keep reading for some sample ideas for your retirement manifesto:

Write Down What You Believe In

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What do you truly believe in? This can be anything. You can address God, family, or love. But, you might also think about more simple things you believe in: reading, cupcakes, or even smiling at strangers.

Write down one thing or write down 100 — it does not matter. Just document your beliefs.

Create a List of What You Want for the World

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Is there anything that you want for the world? World peace? An end to starvation? Less poverty? More literacy?

In addition to documenting what you want, you can write down some ideas you have for making it happen. What would you do if you were King or Queen of the world?

Document What You Know to Be True

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Throughout our lives, we learn lessons — big and small. Retirement is a wonderful time to document these lessons.

If you are stumped, think about:

  • Things you always said to your children: Like, “life’s not fair” or “school is important.”
  • Mantras that run in your head when you feel uncomfortable about something.
  • Rationales you have used for big life decisions.

What Would Your Bumper Sticker Say?

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It can be fun to try to write your manifesto as a bumper sticker, an advertising tagline, or a country music lyric. These things use humor or powerful images and very few words to document some really powerful ideas. Here are a few examples:

  • Just Do It
  • What if the hokey pokey really IS what it’s all about?
  • READ
  • No music no life
  • If you want a stable relationship, get a horse.
  • Just Dance!
  • Gone Fishing…
  • God is my copilot.
  • My dog is smarter than your honor student.
  • The road goes on forever and the party never ends…

What Should You Do With Your Retirement Manifesto?

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Ideally, you should share your retirement manifesto with friends and family. However, many of us are much too private to do something like that.

You do not need to broadcast these thoughts. In fact, many people write a personal manifesto and never share it with anyone. You might want to just refer to it occasionally yourself as a way to touch base with what is important to you.

If you are lucky enough to have excess time, income, or assets, consider how you can deploy these resources toward your values.

Make Your Retirement Manifesto Part of Your Retirement Plan

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Everyone should have a detailed financial plan for their retirement. Your financial plan might become stronger once you have written a retirement manifesto since you will have a clearer picture of what is important to you.

The NewRetirement Retirement Planner gives you fast answers about your retirement finances. You start by entering some basic information and then you get a detailed assessment. You can then rapidly assess different options.

Creating a written retirement plan is not done by everyone. However, the research suggests that people with a retirement plan are more confident, happier, and successful in retirement.

For some people, it is the financial plan that is easier to do. Others might have an easier time creating their own retirement manifesto.

Doing both will probably give you a stronger, more secure, focused, and happier retirement overall.

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