Who do you want to be when you retire? That might sound like an odd question, considering you spent your working life saving for retirement, probably not planning the second act of life — post work. But have you actually thought about how you want to spend the next 15, 20, maybe even 25+ years of your life without the daily responsibilities that plagued most of your working existence? What is the retirement lifestyle you envision, and what is the best way to get there?

How to Achieve an Inspiring Retirement“Retirement is a second chance at life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time because you were working,” says Stan Hinden, a retired Washington Post financial writer and author of “How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire.”

Baby boomers are hardly approaching retirement the way their parents did. AARP reveals that most boomers expect to work past 65 or 67 either out of financial necessity or because they find their jobs rewarding.

Hinden says a lot of retirees find fulfillment and happiness using their knowledge and skills volunteering — while others continue to work or even start their own business. Some people just want to spend time with their loved ones.

“The oldest prescription for a happy life is good health and social contact with people who share your same interests and goals,” says Hinden.

As unique individuals, we find inspiration in different places. Of course having the money for the type of retirement you envision for yourself is vital. While finances don’t have to shape your retirement vision, they do play a major role.

The 2013 Employee Benefit Research Institute survey found that while retirement savings is down in America, workers who have done a retirement-savings-needs calculation tend to have higher savings goals, and are more confident than workers who have not.

At Ally Bank, we agree that planning for your retirement is the first step towards achieving your goals. But we also believe that an enjoyable retirement involves more than just saving money. It means doing things you’ve always wanted to do, trying out new activities, and enjoying the time you spend with family and friends. It can even mean inspiring other people — no matter at what stage in their career — to see the benefits of planning for this later stage in life.

“Retirement is more than a one-day event, it’s a process that goes on for a long time. Suddenly you see you have a lot of open space in front of you and you have the ability to make choices of what you do. It’s important to adapt yourself to retirement by planning your finances as well as the rest of your life,” says Hinden.

Starting March 4th, we’ll be sharing true stories of retirees who planned ahead to afford a retirement that is truly inspiring. We’ll introduce you to Ed Blanco, a former Miami Parks Department employee who, in retirement, became a reputable jazz critic and DJ.

We’re also gearing up for our March 4th TweetChat, entitled “Discovering Retirement,” and co-hosted by Bankrate.com, where we’ll discuss retirement planning, passions and pursuits.

In the meantime, we’d like to hear from you.

What’s your plan for retirement? What does living an inspired retirement mean to you?