Is Your Retirement Plan Missing Grit?


You want to enjoy your retirement to the fullest, right? The question is how to create a plan to make it happen.

The perfect retirement plan includes a step by step guide that if followed, will lead you to the retirement of your dreams. Unfortunately, perfect doesn’t exist. However, you can aspire to have a successful retirement. To achieve success in your retirement planning, you need grit.

What is grit and why does it matter?

I hadn’t thought much about grit until I read Angela Duckworth’s book: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In the book, Duckworth describes how grit, not natural talent, seems to be the key driver for success among athletes, business people, musicians and much more. She explains how students with lower standardized test scores and higher “grit” scores wind up becoming more successful at places like WestPoint.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, grit means bravery or strength of character.  It’s about digging in, pushing forward, and sticking to your plan even when it is tough.

If having grit helps you during your working years, will it help you create a better retirement? I believe it will. Grit in your retirement means making sure you are challenging yourself daily. It means doing something you’re passionate about. It means staying the course even when things around you change. Remember, this is your ideal retirement, not someone else’s.

Here are three questions you can ask yourself to determine if you need more grit in your retirement plan.

1. Will Your Retirement be Filled with Passion?

More people will consider their retirement a failure not because of financial issues, but how they invested their time.

I Googled retirement pictures to find out how people viewed retirement. According to Google beaches, beach chairs, and hammocks are a requirement to retirement. The people I have interviewed who seem to be happiest in life enjoy  these things, but only as a part of their overall plan. What’s most important to them is finding their balance between recreation and a fulfilling passion they pursue.  

I know retirees who run non-profits for a variety of wonderful causes. They work tirelessly at the daily challenges of making the world a better place. Having to overcome failures and setbacks only strengthen their resolve.

I also know clients whose passion is their grandchildren. Helping raise them even though their child rearing days are well behind them. Their grit, patience, and determination will serve as a beautiful example to their grandchildren.

What do these folks have in common? They are dedicated to following their passion, no matter how big or small, to make their world a better place. It’s never easy, but when you see the glow in their eye when they talk about what they’re doing, you can instantly tell it’s what makes them cherish their retirement years.

If you want to create a successful retirement plan, you need to be passionate about what you spend your time doing.  One of the most important things you can do is to create meaning for your retirement.  You should want to jump out of bed in the morning and have enough money to sleep soundly at night.


2. Will You Learn from Your Mistakes?

This may come as a surprise, but experts describe retirement as one of the most difficult transitions in life. Some say it’s more stressful than getting married or raising children. So how do you make sure that you are prepared to handle the transition gracefully?  

One of the most important things to realize is that retirement is a process. You are going to make mistakes and fall into times when you’re not doing the things you want. Retirement is an emotional journey.

It’s not easy to pick up and leave a job that has consumed more than 40 hours of your time each week for over 30 years. Humans tend to believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. We often forget the things we like about our job instead of focusing on the things we could be doing instead of working.

We recommended planning out your ideal week in retirementNot only will this assessment help you plan your expenses, but it will also help you  budget your time wisely. After retirement, it’s a great practice to look at your ideal week in retirement and assess where  you’re spending your time. You can start to remove the things you wanted to do, but haven’t enjoyed. Removing things creates space for new things to try.

By thinking of your time as a scarce resource, you will learn to budget what’s most important to you. You can learn from the mistakes of spending time on things that don’t make a difference in the goals you have set out to achieve.


3. Will You Retire Successfully?

The study of grit is all about how you react to setbacks and failures to become successful. When it comes to retirement and getting older, we can learn a lot from Mitch Anthony’s perspective on the 5 Cs to Successful Aging.

Anthony believes there are five “vitamins” everyone needs to age successfully.

  1. Connectivity
  2. Challenge
  3. Curiosity
  4. Creativity
  5. Charity

In his book The New Retirementality, Anthony challenges readers to think of retirement in a new light. To craft a plan that will allow you to take your “vitamins” as often as possible. He believes that success in retirement will be defined by what you do, not what you have.

Everyone must determine their passion and success in retirement. I have clients who have never been happier spending most of their days at home, helping raise grandchildren, and being active participants in their children’s lives. I have known people who have decided to retire to a new career running a non-profit and making an impact on as many people as they can.

Living a successful retirement comes down to the work you put in before and after you retire. You need retirement goals that embody who you are and what you value most in life. It’s a time to go after what’s important to you. Blaze your own path and make time to have fun.

Preparation and planning of one’s retirement lifestyle is a leading factor in retirement satisfaction.  It is important not to underestimate the impact  retirement will have on your and your  family. While we would like to think retirement life will be smooth sailing and sandy beaches, there will be some ups and downs. The key is to prepare, be intentional, and have grit! Don’t lose heart if things get a little rocky, dig in, and pursue the retirement you want!


Want to build a retirement plan full of grit? Contact us today to get started. Are you looking for more information on Retirement Planning? Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter.