We are always looking for new perspectives we can share with you from informed experts – like Your Retirement Quest author Alan Spector. I learned of Alan when I wrote my article on retirement a few years ago.

As you’ll read, the central question Alan poses is if we can practice to become a better athlete (or artist or musician), why not practice to become a better retiree? 

Practicing for Retirement, by Alan Spector

Although you may have yet to retire, did you know you could and should be practicing retirement? What is “practicing retirement,” why should you do it, and when should you start?

Only a small percentage of people are prepared for their transition into and through retirement. Financial security, while important, is but one of the 10 key elements of a fulfilling retirement (as I present in more detail in Your Retirement Quest).

Let’s assume you have thought about the activities you’re looking forward to having the time to pursue. How might you bring those passions and activities into your life today, even before you’ve retired? That’s what it means to “practice retirement.”

For example, although I’m 70 years old, I’m still playing baseball in a 60-plus senior league in St. Louis and in an occasional tournament in Florida. Since returning to the game I loved in 1999, I’ve played internationally (China, Russia, and Italy) and in hundreds of league and tournament games. It all started with some local leagues, when I was thinking about how I’d want to play baseball in retirement. By the time I actually retired in 2002 I was in good shape and ready for action.

Other examples:

  • To become a bridge master in retirement, find one more night per month to play.
  • To travel more in retirement, start a vacation-of-the-month club, “practicing” day trips or an overnight stay at a nearby B&B.
  • To start a business in retirement, begin your research today.
  • To volunteer more in retirement, find one small project to do for a local community organization.

You get the idea. There are a number of reasons for practicing retirement.

  1. By practicing a passion while still working, you may realize it isn’t as fulfilling as you thought it would be. You have time to modify your plans before you retire.
  2. Solidifying your plan by practicing it creates a foundation for a more meaningful conversation with your advisor, so he or she can help you with the financials involved.
  3. Similarly, practice can be a catalyst to having crucial conversations about your retirement plans with those closest to you.
  4. Perhaps most compelling, once you’ve identified your passions and pursuits, why not start enjoying them now – as much as you can, as soon as you can?

This is also the answer to the question: “When should I start practicing retirement?” The answer is, “Now! Don’t wait.” Create your written holistic retirement life plan based on the 10 key elements in Your Retirement Quest. Then begin practicing retirement by bringing the passions of your plan to life. You’ll wonder what took you so long.

Hill Investment Group