Preparing for Your Retirement Lifestyle
The term “retirement planning” is taken by most people to mean preparing financially to retire. While being able to afford to retire is critical, it’s just as important to prepare yourself in other ways to ensure a smooth transition to this next phase of your life.
Even with a complete financial plan, you can expect to experience feelings of uneasiness as you begin your retirement. The key is to understand that these feelings are normal and to consider how to deal with them. For some who have worked full-time all of their adult life, the transition from work to retirement can be difficult. One day you are at work among your colleagues, with a set of specific responsibilities, and the next you are on your own, with no schedule to keep, no specific tasks to perform and much less social interaction. According to an Ameriprise Financial survey1 of retired baby boomers, some common concerns among retirees include:
missing out on daily social interaction with colleagues (37%)
getting used to new routines (32%)
finding ways to give meaning and purpose to their days (22%)
It is important to start thinking about how you want to live when you retire, before you actually make that transition. Think about what you find personally fulfilling, what you want to explore, and how you could make a difference in what you may have to offer. Ensure your plans are practical: consider your health and the fact that you’re likely to be on a fixed income. And, if you’re living with a spouse or partner, make that person part of the discussion, even if you retire first. If you know what you’re after and it’s achievable, enjoying a satisfying retirement lifestyle will be easier. Here are a few steps you can take to help make the mental switch from work life to retired life: 1. Celebrate With A Party You’ve celebrated every other milestone in your life – new home, new baby, birthdays, weddings, and so on. Why not celebrate the milestone called "retirement"? It’s an achievement, especially if you’ve saved enough for a comfortable retirement. You’ve earned it! Take a look on Pinterest for great retirement party ideas. 2. Realize You Don’t Have To Be Anywhere Gone are the days of waking up early, sitting in traffic and drinking bad cafeteria coffee. You’re now free to lounge in your pajamas and take your time with errands. You can finally focus on doing what you love when you want. Just remember that at some point you may start to miss the structure, purpose and community a job provides. Our advice? Create a schedule sooner than later and try establish a routine that helps you get out of the house. 3. Exercise And Stay Active There is nothing more important than your health, and exercise is key. Look forward to exercising – now you have the time! You have the flexibility to join classes and activities in the middle of the day when most people are at work. If you prefer walking, hiking or biking, get a friend to join you - a workout partner will help you stick to a schedule and make exercise a lot more enjoyable. 4. Keep Learning Learn something new, it will keep your mind sharp and add some structure to your day. Check out the city college in your town or Google "adult education" for free or affordable classes near you. There are also lots of online puzzles and games to keep your brain working. 5. Spend More Time With Family And Friends Retired or not, this is the #1 wish for most people. Who doesn’t want to spend more time with the people they love? You don’t have to be anywhere between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, so make a trip to see your children and grandchildren. If you want to be even more involved, you can move closer to family and perhaps volunteer your time for babysitting duties. 6. Follow Your Passion "Retirement forces you to rethink who you are and what you love to do." Zelinski, Ernie J. How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. There must be something you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to. Perhaps you already have a hobby you want to engage in? You have the time, now do what makes you happy. Remember that not everything has to be costly to be enjoyable. 7. Be Social Your schedule may not always match your family’s, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone all the time. Find a way to get out and connect with people. Join a group with similar interests, get a part-time job at a local store or find volunteer opportunities for causes you care about. 8. Plan For The Future Just because you’ve stopped working, it doesn’t mean you have to stop planning. With recent advancements in medicine, people are living well into their 90s. Set both personal and professional goals for yourself. Always wanted to run a marathon? Never visited the Grand Canyon? It’s never too late to get started. It's also important to continue planning and adjusting your finances as you go. 9. Leave A Legacy What do you want to leave for your family, friends and the world? Research shows the happiest people are those who help others. This may be the time to think about giving back to your community. Leave a positive legacy by giving the gift of your time, knowledge, wisdom or money to local schools, community centers or charitable organizations that are close to your heart. 10. Stop Obsessing About Retirement You’ve probably been anxious about retirement your entire adult life. Now that you’re there, stop worrying. Live for the moment and enjoy being the master of your own schedule. Even if retirement seems a long way off, you can start thinking about some of these ideas to prepare for an easier transition. When it’s time to retire, embrace your newfound freedom and make the most of it.
Andrew & Peter