The time has finally come. You are retired and ready to spend the next chapter of your life pursuing the dreams that you’ve previously set aside. Whether you want to travel the world, become an expert fisherman, or spend more time with your grandkids, there are many ways that you can make your retirement years memorable.
Make a retirement checklist
I have found it extremely helpful to organize my thoughts into a retirement checklist. While your mind may be cluttered with all of the things that you want to accomplish while you’re retired, writing them down in checklist form can help you to remember them more easily.
Financial planners recommend starting your checklist five years before you plan on retiring. This will help you to become more financially prepared and organize your business before your retirement date approaches. You’ll be amazed at how much a little financial planning can help your circumstances.
Make Life Plans
You can include these in your checklist if you wish. Life plans are important, and give us something to look forward to. Maybe you always wanted to scuba dive in New Zealand or spend the holidays in Austria but never had the time before. Now that your schedule is wide open, you can plan your trip around the world. Some people refer to it as the ‘bucket list’; however, it is simply a list of your life’s wishes that you still need to fulfill.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
The saying ‘use it or lose it’ applies to those who no longer have to worry about working every day. Although retirement translates to a break from intellectual stimulation for some people, others are quite the opposite. Now you have the time to write your memoirs, challenge yourself in your favorite logic puzzles, or learn a foreign language. Stimulating our brains by learning new material is essential. Here are a few ways that you can reinvent your intellectual side.
- Take a class at the local community college.
- Learn to play a new musical instrument.
- Research a new country and then visit it.
- Join a book club.
Serving others and giving back to the community is such an important aspect of life; however, many are simply too busy with their jobs and families to have the time to volunteer. When I retired, I was excited to be able to spend time volunteering at the local hospital, something I’ve always wanted to do. Whether you go to the local food bank, hospital, or school, people will be grateful to receive your gracious help.
Develop New Friendships
If you didn’t have a strong social network before, now is the time that you can rebuild relationships, or seek out new ones. Having strong bonds with family and friends during your senior years is vital to your health. You can easily meet new people by becoming involved in the community senior center, or by moving to a retirement community. During retirement, we can use our time to contact old friends, and reignite a lost friendship. Don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people.
Stabilize Your Finances
Unfortunately, the current economy has made it hard for many seniors to enter into full retirement. That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your senior years, while still working part-time. Talk to a financial planner about organizing your Medicare and life insurance policies. See how much money you are bringing in each month, and what expenses you have going out. Then determine how many hours you need to work in order to make ends meet. You may even want to save up for that fishing trip or cruise that you’ve wanted to take. You can easily find an amazing part-time job that interests you.
Keep Your Spirits Up
It’s not uncommon for seniors to become depressed during the transitions between employed and retired. They may lose a sense of purpose and direction in their lives. The changes in life that occur can be a challenge; however, a positive attitude will determine whether or not you’ll find happiness in life. If you can’t seem to come out of your depressive mood, seek the assistance of a professional counselor or psychologist.
Plenty of exercise and eating healthy will make you feel better, mentally and physically. I was determined to stay healthy after retiring. Find an activity that you are passionate about. Running, tennis, swimming, biking, and hiking are some favorites. Organize a walking group, and set out with your friends each morning. Not only will you increase your lifespan, but you will feel better as you age.
There are many things that you can do to make your retirement years the best years of your life. Start today by organizing your retirement plans.