Could the Japanese tradition of Kanreki help with your retirement planning?

16th April 2019

What’s your approach to planning for retirement? It’s often an exciting milestone, but it may also be mixed with conflicting emotions. After all, it’s likely to signify a great change in your life and you may not have a clue what you want to do with your increased leisure time. Embracing some of the aspects of a Japanese tradition known as kanreki could help.

In many cultures of East Asia, reaching your 60th birthday is significant. This is because of the traditional 60-year calendar cycle, meaning you’ve completed one ‘cycle’ through the zodiac; reaching 60 is a chance to be born again and start afresh.

It’s a milestone that’s celebrated throughout the region. In Japan, it’s called kanreki, hwangap in Korea and Jiazi in China.

As you approach 60 in the UK, your thoughts might be turning to the next chapter of your life; giving up work and enjoying your retirement. But while you might celebrate your birthday with family and friends, it’s not really considered a time to reflect and start planning for everyone; perhaps embracing some of the kanreki traditions could help more of us look forward to starting a new journey.

It’s natural to worry about retirement, whether it’s your financial situation that is causing concern or the fear of the unknown. Taking the time to plan what you want out of the future can make your path clearer. This is where kanreki could provide some inspiration.

That doesn’t mean you have to don the traditional kanreki outfit of bright red sleeveless jacket and hat associated with the celebration, though if you want to, we’d fully support it! ‘Why the colour red?’ you might ask; it symbolises both youth, reflecting being born again, and celebration in Japanese culture, perfect for those planning their retirement.

However, with or without the time-honoured clothing, there are ways that the kanreki can support your path to retirement.

Taking time to reflect

With often modern, hectic schedules, taking time to reflect is something that we could probably all benefit from doing occasionally.

A kanreki is viewed as a point where you’re reborn, giving celebrants an opportunity to look over their last six decades and think about what they want in the future as they start anew. Retirement might not be tied to a specific date anymore, but it’s still often associated with embarking on a new journey.

Rather than plunging into retirement without reflecting on what you want to achieve or just focusing on the financial side, a kanreki approach affords you some time to really consider what you want from it.

  • What’s most important to you?
  • What does your ideal retirement look like?
  • What experience are you looking forward to?

Answering these types of questions can help create a financial plan that truly reflects your aspirations and helps you get the most out of your retirement.

Looking back at your achievements

As you start on the next adventure, looking back is just as important. Kanreki is often used to look back at the achievements you’ve already ticked off and celebrate the life you’ve lived. It’s a good opportunity to think back over fond memories, successes and the people that mean the most to you.

While you should also weigh up the missteps you may have taken along the way, it’s important to focus on the lessons learnt from them and how they’ll serve you in the future.

Planning your new beginning

Having looked back at the past and considered what you want from life, it’s time to embrace another kanreki transition; planning for the future. It’s a step that should be considered essential if you’re to get the most out of retirement.

With your aspirations in mind, you can start looking at how your retirement provisions can be used to help you achieve them. While retirement goals often focus on the short term, perhaps travelling, splurging on a new car, or doing up the house, planning your new beginning should look further ahead. You’ll need to consider how your day-to-day retirement life will look and the income needed to maintain it for the rest of your life, indulging in a few luxuries and experiences along the way of course.

Preparing your estate

In the past, when life expectancy wasn’t so long, kanreki also symbolised handing the baton on to the next generation. Whether you plan to hand over the reins of the family business or not, it’s still relevant to modern retirees. Setting out your estate plan should be considered a priority.

It might not be in keeping with the celebratory feel of kanreki, but it is important. As you prepare for retirement taking steps such as updating your will and Power of Attorney are key, as is considering whether your estate will be liable for Inheritance Tax.

If you’re planning your retirement, whether it’s your kanreki or not, please contact us. We’re here to help you get the most out of the next stage of your life and give you the tools to fully enjoy retirement.