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.
Here are some ideas for creating your retirement manifesto:
Write Down What You Believe In
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
Is there anything that you want for the world? World peace? More literacy? Eliminate light pollution? Save the coral reefs? Less dogs in the shelter? Fewer pot holes in your town? More time with family?
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?
Then start a list for how you can take concrete action.
Document What You Know to Be True
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. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it is not the end.”
- Rational you have used for big life decisions like being able to prioritize time outdoors or near cultural events.
It may be helpful for you to think through how you have spent your time over the last week. Write down the moments that you really enjoyed or made you feel good. And, take note of the activities that you would rather do without. Use this exercise to inform your values and think about how to increase more of the good moments and less of the bad.
Decide What Your Bumper Sticker Would Say
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 big powerful ideas.
- Just Do It
- What if the hokey pokey really IS what it’s all about?
- 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…
If bumper stickers aren’t your thing, identify some quotes that really represent you and what you stand for. Or, think about themes from favorite books or movies and think about translating those themes into your manifesto.
It may be important for you to think through what might prevent you from achieving or living according to your manifesto. These might be societal roadblocks like bureaucracy or personal traits that you need to overcome like:
- Being able to better overcome failures, mistakes, disappointment, or hardship
- Taking more risks
- Overcoming shyness
- Breaking bad habits
Then, brainstorm ideas for how you can overcome your roadblocks.
Once you have brainstormed and have an idea about your manifesto, it is time to craft it into a document. It can be quite short. Or, you can write more, but it probably shouldn’t be longer than a page.
A bulleted list of goals, beliefs, and personal strengths is okay.
You will want to use positive statements, say what you want (not what you don’t want). And, look up a list of power words to super charge your sentences.
Whether you stick it on your bathroom mirror or send it to yourself in a digital daily reminder, reviewing your manifesto daily will help you begin to live your life more mindfully and in concert with what you believe.
Make Your Retirement Manifesto Part of Your Retirement Plan
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.
Luckily, NewRetirement makes it easy to create, improve and maintain a thorough retirement plan.
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.