The Model Week Worksheet

by Jeff C. Johnson

Weekly agenda

If you’re serious about retirement, then you’re probably thinking of all the things you’d rather be doing instead of working.

You probably also are aware of a number of people that are less than happy with life in retirement, people who seem to just fade away after retiring or whose ill health set them back shortly after retiring. In my 30-plus years as a wealth adviser, I’ve seen this often, and I have a few ideas that could improve the quality of your retirement.

Start by making a list of every imaginable planned activity that you think might interest you. You will be able to start writing immediately, but keep this list open-ended and let yourself be receptive to adding new pursuits and interests as they come to mind.

Divide this list into:

  1. Weekly activities (e.g., golf on Wednesday, take my daughter to lunch on Thursday), and
  2. Nonweekly events (e.g., drive the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Seattle, visit all the presidential libraries). This is your so-called bucket list.

Using the weekly activities list, create a planned-time-use worksheet, such as the one at the bottom of this post. Write in all the week’s activities, Monday through Friday. Start the day at whatever time you normally leave for work and end it when you normally walk in the door at night. Then think about how you will use this new “fund” of time that retirement offers.

This is a challenging exercise for most people. Use it as an opportunity to build confidence in your decision to retire … or to work longer.

After an introductory planning session, some preretirement clients develop an initial Model Week Worksheet, only to come back with a completely revised list of activities; some flat-out delay retirement, while others remain confident in their future plans.

In any event, give your retirement agenda some considerable thought before leaving an otherwise enjoyable career or missing out on what can be high-earning, high-accumulation final years on the job.

In my next blog post, I’ll share a friend’s story and his journey into his retirement years.

Model Week Worksheet