For anyone starting a new role and going through a career transition, Michael Watkin’s 2003 book, The First 90 Days, is an excellent guide. The subtitle is, “Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels.” The book provides insights and specific steps to help job-changers navigate the unfamiliar surroundings of a new role – perhaps at a new company with lots of new people.
And it offers many lessons for anyone who wants to actively plan a more successful approach to retirement.
Joining a new company without any kind of plan won’t likely be the most effective way to get up to speed. But, on entering retirement many people have only a general idea of a more relaxed schedule where they don’t HAVE to plan anything. Trust me, this is one area where you should invest your time in planning…this is for YOU.
Unlike beginning a new job, perhaps your retirement won’t need to start off by plotting out the first days and weeks. But you should have at least a loosely-defined plan for your first year. As Watkins says, “Regardless of how much preparation time you get, start planning what you hope to accomplish by specific milestones.”
So even if your first 90 days is just time to kick back, decompress and relax, you should note that. Check in with yourself at 90 days and revisit the plan you outlined. It’s your plan and it will change as time passes and you consider different paths. Here again, Watkins says, “…even a few hours of planning go a long way. These plans might be sketchy, but the simple act of beginning to plan will help clear your head.”
I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of spending some time now planning your retirement approach – and how many dividends that will pay for you later.