After Decades of Hard Work, You Deserve a Fulfilling Retirement
Most of us spend our working years with one overarching goal in mind: retirement. You plan and save and invest, all so that when the day comes, you can finally enjoy the golden years you’ve dreamed of. Of course, many retirees find themselves struggling to transition away from the busy working world and to design a new day-to-day lifestyle that feels meaningful. Use the tips below as a guide as you work to clarify and create the happy and healthy retirement you deserve.
#1. Save, Save, Save (Then Save Some More!)
One of the biggest threats to your retirement happiness is anxiety about outliving your money. Being able to have confidence in the fact that your retirement is financially secure is crucial if you want to minimize any future stress and find happiness once you retire. The key to having enough money to last lies in how you plan and save while you’re working. Commit to saving as much as you can as early as you can so that you can give your savings time to compound and grow.
#2. Nurture Your Passions
While the financial aspects of retirement can cause angst, there’s more to it than that. You must also plan what you want your retirement to look like, including the activities you’ll spend time on or the trips you’ll plan and take. If you end up spending your retired days stuck inside glued to the TV, you’re most likely not going to feel fulfilled. Retirees who have varied interests are apt to feel less bored or lonely. So, think about what brings you joy or makes you feel at peace, and dedicate time to those areas.
#3. Give Structure to Your Days
For most of us, having a job means having a set schedule that we followed each day. You wake up at a specific time, have a morning routine you follow, commute to work on the same route, take your meals at the same time, and wrap up your days in the same way. Once you hit retirement, you’ll suddenly be able to spend your days however you’d like. While some may find freedom in this, others can struggle with the lack of structure after spending so long following a schedule.
If you like having a schedule or some structure to your days, you’re going to need to create new routines for yourself. Take time to find what works best for you, and don’t worry if you experience a little trial and error. The goal is to give yourself enough structure that your days don’t feel aimless, but not too much that you’re feeling the same level of rigidness or busyness that you did during your working years.
#4. Put Boundaries in Place, and Honor Them
If you live near family when you retire, you may feel pressure to spend your newfound free time helping your children or watching your grandkids. It’s completely understandable if you’re excited about spending more time with your family during your retirement. However, it’s important that your children don’t become dependent on you for your time or your money. You owe it to yourself and your happiness to implement and maintain healthy boundaries while also cultivating those loving relationships.
#5. Find Your Identity Outside of Your Career
When we spend so much of our lives working, it’s easy for our careers to define us. This is one reason many retirees feel aimless or depressed – they’ve been so tied up in a perception of themselves within a job that it’s hard to reframe a new identity without the backdrop of a career.
If you’re facing this issue, work to find a new community to engage with. Consider joining a club or volunteering at a local organization, or perhaps getting more in touch with your creative side and cultivating a new hobby. However you decide to redefine yourself, now is an exciting opportunity to relearn who you are and potentially discover something new about yourself, so embrace it!
#6. Invest in Your Social Life
It’s normal for retirees to struggle with feeling lonely or isolated as they adjust to retired life. Most jobs come with a built-in social network of water cooler conversations, daily lunches, happy hours, or holiday parties. When you retire, it’s up to you to be intentional about creating social opportunities for yourself. Reach out to friends you hold dear and set up weekly coffee dates or monthly video chats. Look into joining a local club or organization that hosts regular events for members of the neighborhood. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s also the best way to find social fulfillment in retirement.
#7. Revisit Your Portfolio
The purpose of your investments will change as you transition from working life to retirement. When you’re working, you invest your money to build up your wealth and bolster your savings, but once you retire, you now need to depend on those investments for income. So, as you get closer to retiring and then directly after you retire, be sure that you’re taking time to rebalance your portfolio so it accurately represents your risk tolerance and becomes something that you can depend on for the entirety of your retirement.
#8. Try Something New
If you’re feeling stagnant in retirement, push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s not always easy, but it can make this brand-new chapter in the story of your life a more exciting and joyful time. Now is the time when you have permission to be selfish and explore what it is that makes YOU happy – not your boss, not your coworkers, not your family, but you. Go to new places, try new food, meet new people, and learn new things – about yourself and the world. Incorporating exploratory energy into your retirement will go a long way in helping you feel satisfied and fulfilled with your life.
#9. Prioritize Yourself
Health and happiness go hand-in-hand in many ways, so your retirement planning should prioritize a focus on your physical health, too. Seek out new and creative ways to get your body moving, such as taking long walks through your neighborhood every morning or joining a local gym. Not only do activities like this improve your health, but they also open up the possibility of meeting new people and broadening your social circle.
Exercising isn’t the only way you can prioritize your health either. Eating healthy, doing things that recharge your soul, and spending time with people who make you feel good all go into maintaining your health.
#10. Find Balance in Retirement
Finding happiness in every stage of life comes down to cultivating balance, and this is certainly true in retirement. It’s going to take time and intention to determine what works best for you, but feeling like your life is balanced can do wonders for your mindset. Aim to strike a balance between your social life and solitude, between pushing your boundaries and being comfortable, and between indulging in your hobbies and enjoying downtime.
Of course, it’s important to find balance with your finances, too. You want to enjoy your money but not set yourself up to outlive your nest egg. Too often, retirees find themselves in one of two unfortunate camps: they’re either so afraid of running out of money that they don’t spend any of it and fail to enjoy retirement, or they spend more money than they should and risk their long-term financial security. The goal is to find the sweet middle ground between these two extremes so you can enjoy your retirement along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re financially secure.
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