You worked, you saved, you planned. Now, after all that, it’s time to retire. This big change is both exciting and a little scary. If you’ve defined yourself by your career, you may experience the transition as something of a loss. As exciting as the opportunity to make your own schedule and do whatever you want, it may also be a little disorienting. Not since we were kids on summer vacations from school did we ever have such open schedules to fill however we want, and even then, we had to be home before dark. Retirement is a big, exciting event in your life, whether you are excited or filled with trepidation. In this article, we will go over some lifestyle changes and tips to help ease the transition and get you the best retirement, for you.
Now that you are retiring, you are going to be spending more time, presumably at home. That also means that how the chore wheel had been divided in your household should change. If you were a worker bee who did little of the household duties, now is a good time to reappraise and reassign. This is just one way to help ease your marriage through the transition of retirement. A good marriage is good for you, in fact, studies show that strong marriages can help people live longer and healthier.[i] Having social and emotional support can be invaluable. Even just being able to carry on a meaningful conversation once a week can be a gamechanger later in life. On the flipside, an unhappy marriage can have negative health and longevity effects. So good to get your house in order before retirement. Make sure you and your partner talk often and openly about what you think/want retirement to look like. You may be surprised to find you aren’t on the same page about some things. The more you hash out ahead of time, the firmer foundation you’ll have heading into retirement.
Friendships are another invaluable key to a happy retirement. Friends have been shown to be good for you, both emotionally and overall health. Friendships are important and often undervalued in our society. But having good friends provides both touchstones to who you are and who you were, and also a lifeline. Loneliness has been shown to be as bad for health as smoking or obesity, even.[ii]
Healthy Diet and Fitness
Another tool for a healthy and happy retirement is making sure to keep your body in tip-top shape. Just like getting an oil change every 3,000 miles, making sure you are getting regular checkups and taking your doctor’s advice is paramount. On top of that, eating healthfully, plenty of vegetables and whole grains, lots of water, and avoiding too much alcohol or processed foods is good for everyone, not just the if you are retiring. But, it’s also never too late to start making good changes. If you were often grabbing food on the fly or milling around the break room eating birthday cake and donuts, this may be the kickstart to being more mindful about what and how much you are eating.
Fitness is also a very important aspect to a good retirement. Not only are there physical benefits, strengthening muscle and bone in a time when people start to lose them, but also financial benefits. Fit people tend to have less chronic diseases, like diabetes, joint problems or heart disease.[iii] Staying active can also help mental health. Less chronic disease means fewer doctor visits, medications and overall costs to you and to the health care system. Group exercise classes may have the added bonus of introducing you to new people in your area. If you are not a gym person, don’t worry, as there are many ways to incorporate fitness that have little to do with a treadmill. Taking walks, swimming, gardening, even rigorous housework all keep you fit and active.
Being a Part of Something
Retirement opens up your schedule to focus on all the things you never had time to before. Pursuing those interests is also a wonderful way to stay active and engaged within your community. Once retired, you may feel a little aimless, without the daily routines, social contact and problem solving of a job. People with high demand jobs may find themselves bored or even depressed in retirement.[iv] Volunteering at a local organization is one way, as there are as many non-profit groups in need of skilled help. Work, of any kind, has value. You may find putting some time in at a non-profit that mentor’s small business may be rewarding. Helping at a local senior center, school, or art program may be more your speed. It really doesn’t matter what as long as you find fulfillment in it and get to make new contacts and strengthen ties to your area. You may also want to look into working part-time, going back to school, or even starting a new business. The goal is to get out there, grow, learn and use the time you worked so hard to save for.
Quality and Quantity
Retirement is an exciting part of life. But like any major change, there is an adjustment period that can, for some, be uncomfortable. The more time you think about how you would like to fill your time in advance, the better off you will be. Valuing and strengthening relationships with friends and family will enrich your day to day life. Caring for your body, both inside and out, as well as your mind by staying active and involved, will all benefit you into the future. You’ve worked and saved to be here, now take full advantage of what your retirement has to offer!
Contributing author Illuminated Advisors
Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Carolina Retirement Planners, LLC. are not affiliated companies. Neither the firm nor its agents or representatives may give tax advice. Individuals should consult with a qualified professional for guidance before making any purchasing decisions.