Poll: How Do You Envision Your Ideal Retirement?

For most of us, retirement may still seem a long ways off. If you’re in your 30s and plan on retiring at the traditional retirement age, you’re looking at another 25 to 35 years or so. Of course, that is assuming you want to be working into your 60s. Many people have aspirations of retiring earlier so that they can pursue other dreams, goals, or do things while they are younger. Either way, some form of retirement is important to most people, and it is often what we spend so much time and energy working and saving for.

A while back, I put together a list of books that will help change the way you think about retirement. Our parents and the generations before typically viewed retirement as an end. It was when people stopped working, and stopped doing things. The years after work were viewed as a time of rest. This is no longer the case, and people are seeking fulfillment from their later years. These books do a great job at putting things into perspective and helping you dream of what retirement means to you.

So, I wanted to take a look and see how others are dreaming about retirement. The answers in the poll are deliberately broad since everyone’s goals will have some very specific goals, but I tried to break things up into the most common types of retirement goals. Feel free to explain and expand upon your selection.

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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.

14 comments
Experts on Credit
Experts on Credit

I envision en early retirement, say around 45. I expect to do a lot of traveling. Making time to continue with artistic pursuits.

AJC @ 7million7years
AJC @ 7million7years

This is a great and important poll, because 'retirement' means trading MONEY back for TIME; the question becomes:

1. How much time? And,

2. How much passive income do you need? It's not likely to be based upon your current salary, at all but on how you intend to live and what you intend to do IN retirement ... that could mean a LOT MORE than your current salary (for the travellers, etc.) or a LOT LESS for the Tao'ists.

Looking forward to seeing the results: I imagine, a lot of 'Others'?

Emily @ Taking Charge
Emily @ Taking Charge

I wanted to vote in the poll, but couldn't because I was equally torn between travel and volunteer/charity work. I imagine my perfect retirement as a good amount of both. I absolutely love to travel, and have watched many of my retired relatives go on all kinds of wonderful trips in retirement that they'd never have the time to do while working. I also wish I could spend a lot of time doing volunteer work, but don't have the time. When I'm retired and spending all my time making money isn't an issue, I want to work full-time with rescue dogs on a volunteer basis. Both traveling and volunteering sound like a dream! I'm only 23 but I already can't wait :)

P
P

I selected 'other' for the same reason TV Girl mentioned. I don't want to lock myself into any one activity when I retire and I don't plan on retiring for a long time yet.

Steve Austin
Steve Austin

Here's some retirement inspiration, from the penultimate verse of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching (and contrary to the travel preference developing in the poll):

80
If a country is governed wisely,
its inhabitants will be content.
They enjoy the labor of their hands
and don't waste time inventing
labor-saving machines.
Since they dearly love their homes,
they aren't interested in travel.
There may be a few wagons and boats,
but these don't go anywhere.
There may be an arsenal of weapons,
but nobody ever uses them.
People enjoy their food,
take pleasure in being with their families,
spend weekends working in their gardens,
delight in the doings of the neighborhood.
And even though the next country is so close
that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,
they are content to die of old age
without ever having gone to see it.

(Stephen Mitchell translation, I believe)

Jeremy
Jeremy

Interesting results. I didn't expect travel to be the number one result so far. Travel is part of my retirement goal, but it would be in the form of annual trips, not so much extensive long-term travel.

Ideally, I'd like to shift into a combination of a second career with freedom. I'd like to eventually make use of what I set out in college to do, and that was to become a golf course architect. It didn't happen for a number of reasons. But hopefully during my prime working years I can amass enough money to set out to buy a parcel of land, and go on to design and develop a golf course and resort community.

A bit ambitious, but I'd like to create something like that from scratch, make money from it, and live on it so I could golf every day if I wanted. That is my idea of retirement!

Jacqui Pittenger
Jacqui Pittenger

I'm hoping to combine the travel and the volunteer work. I'm already a location independent professional, but eventually, I'd like to pretty much stop doing paid work and alternate 'fun' travel with 'volunteer' travel - working at a needy organization in some far-flung place for 6 months, then touring around the region, then moving on to a new part of the world.

Heidi
Heidi

Two words: Peace Corps

Hopefully I can "retire" form my corporate job before I'm 50 so that they'll take me.

42
42

I'll second Will's notion. for me, retirement comes when my monthly expenses are so low that I don't need to work. this is somewhat opposite the standard vision of retirement in a luxury Florida condo or whatever. for me, it'll be running a bait shack in Baja or showing tourists around Chiang Mai. Something like that. OK I guess that's work, but not like going to an ofice or factory every day.

TV Girl
TV Girl

I'm only 25, so retirement is a long way off and hard to imagine, but I picked 'other' because my answer is a combination of most of the above. I want to do some traveling, some relaxing, and some volunteer work. I also want to be able to pursue my hobbies and pick up new ones.

Will
Will

I will reach retirement the day my passive income is roughly 1.5 times my monthly expenses. So as you can see, my idea of retirement has nothing to do with age. It's all about being free to (mostly) do what you want to do, instead of slaving away at work.

Steve Austin
Steve Austin

Other: disappearing into a quiet, solvent, low-profile bucolic redoubt where one may feed, educate and train progeny -- conducting independent research on topics of personal concern and interest -- donating services to local (or global) community as needed and appropriate -- summary: obviate centralized systems, and prepare to replace such systems locally

Alan
Alan

Flexible or no time spent working and time spent with family

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