1. Retirement’s not as simple as you might think.
Although you may have an excellent retirement plan, which lays out your finances and income through age 100, actually quitting work and retiring takes a lot of emotional adjustment. You’re essentially facing one of the last big transitions of your life, similar to leaving for college, getting married, or having a baby. It’s a big mental and emotional change, and it’s a process that takes time.
2. You’ll need a new “identity.”
If you’ve always been a “lawyer,” a “VP of marketing,” or some other career title, you need to come up with what you are going to do and, more importantly, “who you are going to be” now. Just saying, “I’m a retiree” may not suit, especially if you’ve always been a high-powered career person. “I am an author who is writing my life story for posterity,” or, “I’m the world’s next rock star,” might feel better. Practice your elevator speech. Don’t retire until you know your next focus in life.
3. Set a schedule, and stick to it.
Retirement is awesome at the very beginning. The feeling of freedom is exhilarating! But, after a few weeks or a few months of getting up late, bingeing on Netflix, traveling, vacationing, or just hanging out, you may find yourself at loose ends. This is when you most need to start scheduling activities for yourself. The very last thing you want is to start feeling bored, restless, or disillusioned. Remember, if you’re married, some alone time in your schedule is mandatory for personal happiness—for both of you!
4. Be easy on yourself.
Your feelings will go up and down, just like they have your whole life. Just expect and accept the emotions. You will also go through several stages of activity level as you get older and age a little bit—it’s all good. What makes you happy when you’re 65 will be quite different from what makes you happy at 95. It’s all part of the process.
5. Grow friendships.
Are the people in your social circle already retired? Or are they still working? This can make a difference to your feeling of connection versus loneliness. You may need to make new friends to share activities with until the rest of your network retires. Or if most of your friends are already retired, then make lots of plans and do things together! Don’t become isolated.
6. Get new hobbies, or achieve a new level of skill.
Learning a new skill like making pottery, cooking gourmet meals, or playing a musical instrument can help you combat age-related physical and cognitive challenges. But, more than that, hobbies can bring a true sense of mastery or self-awareness. Having the time to take hobbies seriously is a luxury—enjoy it! And remember, if your hobby isn’t doing it for you after a while, you can always change gears, take a break, or try something you’ve never considered. Experimentation is a good thing throughout your life.
7. Spend the right amount of money.
You’re no longer working and bringing in money, so don’t blow your budget, but don’t scrimp either. A good retirement planner will make sure you have more budgeted at the beginning of your retirement for fun activities and once-in-a-lifetime events, like a big reunion, or taking your family on an international cruise. (You can slow down later, and probably will.) The thing is, your family will enjoy time spent with you more than anything else in the world. Memories are precious; don’t forget to make them.
8. You may want to volunteer, or back to work.
Speaking of bringing in money, you could go back to work part time, start a new business or charity, or volunteer and do community work for an organization you support. You are not limited in retirement. You are free to do the things you’re passionate about. Don’t feel guilty if you’re not satisfied unless you’re working or contributing your time. Just get back out there.
9. Make health a focus.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Exercise. Do all the things you always promised yourself but didn’t have time to do when you were in the grind of waking to the alarm, getting ready, working all day, eating dinner, and going to bed only to start the whole thing all over again five days a week. You have the chance now to get in the best shape of your life. And statistically, chances are your life will be a very long one. Staying healthy makes more sense than ever as you get older.
10. Develop new priorities.
In retirement, you’re not working to live anymore. You’re just living. Although that may not seem easy for Americans with our strong work ethic, remember, you’ve earned it. Be sure to create a retirement plan that covers not only the finances, but the life you want. This is your time to do the things you enjoy and the activities that matter with the people that you love.
Decker Retirement Planning Inc. is a registered investment advisor in the state of Washington. Our investment advisors may not transact business in states unless appropriately registered or excluded or exempted from such registration. We are registered as an investment advisor in WA, ID, UT, CA, NV and TX. We can provide investment advisory services in these states and other states where we are exempted from registration.