Reaching retirement should be an exciting stage of life that is full of possibilities and new experiences. Unfortunately, some people assume that their retirement is no more than a time to slow down and step back from society. While there is nothing wrong with taking life at a slower pace, it does not have to be this way for everyone. Yes, you will have more free time, but you will be in control of how you spend it, so you do not have to lose your sense of structure, purpose, or individuality.
This guide outlines how to make the most of your retirement.
Take Care Of Your Money
While a happy retirement is absolutely possible on any budget, the better your money management skills, the less you will have to worry about in terms of running out of money. Before or early in your retirement, you should be calculating exactly how much money you will have to live on during your retirement, including pensions, savings, and investments. You can then work out how much you will have to live on per month to cover your living costs and how much will be left over as disposable income.
With your budget in place, it is time to think about what you want to get out of your retirement. Without a plan or some goals to work towards, you may find that you lack focus and will end up watching the days slip by. You might want to travel to a particular country, learn new skills, or revisit a hobby that you used to enjoy. Some of your plans, like travel, may require some savings, so you might want to have some short and long-term goals to work towards.
Complete Your Bucket List
When we are working and/or raising a family, it can be tricky to find the time and money to do what makes us happy or try something new. That is why so many people have a bucket list, i.e., activities they want to try, places they want to visit, and things they want to achieve before they ‘kick the bucket.’ Your retirement is the ideal time to work through a bucket list and create memories with the people you love. Every person’s bucket list will be unique to them, but many people dream of seeing new countries, learning a skill like scuba diving or pottery, or becoming a daredevil by bungee jumping or climbing a mountain.
Continue To Work
While some people look forward to their retirement as a time when they can stop working and take a break, others find they are at their best when they have an occupation. Plenty of people who can retire choose to continue working either on a full or part-time basis. If you do not relish the idea of staying in the same job, you could seek a new position doing something more rewarding or enjoyable. For example, you could start your own business, mentor a younger professional, or volunteer with a local organization. Of course, if you are lucky enough to be a grandparent and you live close to your family, you may find you are busier than ever providing childcare for your loved ones.
Travel The World
If you have the money, you could use your retirement to see the places and countries you have always wanted to see. You have the time to travel indefinitely if you want to, spending days in some places and months in others. Experience new cultures, cuisines, crafts, and see the awe-inspiring landscapes the world has to offer. Perhaps you are not a fan of the cold winters where you live? By traveling to warmer climates during the winter, you never have to feel the cold again.
One of the most important elements of a happy retirement is having a social life and ensuring you always have something to look forward to. Now that you are in control of your own schedule, you can choose when you see your friends and family and what you do with them. Staying social and interacting with others regularly is important for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Schedule coffee and dinner dates, exercise with others, plan trips out, or anything else that tops up your self-esteem.
Move Somewhere New
If you have a long-held ambition to live in a new area or country, your retirement could be the perfect time to relocate and embrace a different lifestyle. It is important to do your research before your commit to a significant move, as it is important that you have the right people and amenities around you. There is no getting away from the fact that aging can bring physical and sometimes mental changes, so even if you are in good health at the moment, it is worth considering how you will cope if your health were to deteriorate. Assisted living programs are a popular choice for many retired people as they provide independent living alongside access to a community of other retired people. If required, they can also provide health care, medication, recreational and therapeutic activities, and social events.
Stay Busy And Active
Boredom and inactivity are problematic not only for your mental health but also for your physical well-being. To ensure that you stay mentally and physically active and lead a rewarding and social life, hobbies will be key to a happy retirement. This might mean keeping up with hobbies that you already have or revisiting hobbies that you used to enjoy, but it might also mean discovering new hobbies.
You could take up a new form of exercise such as yoga, golf, dancing classes, cycling, hiking, swimming, tennis, horse riding, or gardening (to name just a few options). To keep your brain sharp, you could learn a new language, join a quiz team, learn to play a musical instrument, or write that novel you have been talking about for years. Other ideas include reading books, completing crosswords, brainteasers, jigsaws, knitting, drawing, painting, pottery, baking, or playing card games.
The key to a happy retirement is taking control, managing your money, and embracing it not as the winter of life but the longest vacation you have ever had. If you are someone who is happier when you have a job and structure, find yourself an occupation (paid or voluntary). If you are someone who thrives on new experiences, the sky is the limit.