Some folks have retirement figured out: play golf, travel, read, watch movies or…well, you fill in the blanks. But for most of us, the transition from a lifetime of work and routine can actually be challenging.
For decades, you were a breadwinner and a vital team member at work. Your contributions and experience were respected.
Then overnight, everything changes. You’re living on a fixed income, with lots more time on your hands and much less to do. So it’s normal to undergo a period of adjustment.
But here’s where attitude comes in. Active and successful retirees view the post-work phase as the most rewarding time in their lives. They focus on healthy living and view retirement as an opportunity to reinvent themselves and build a life that’s rich in experience.
So how to stay active and healthy in retirement?
- Get social: Relationships are the number one factor to a healthy retirement. Now that you have the opportunity, spend more time with family and friends. Launch a book club, organize regular gals’ or guys’ nights out. If you’re married or have a partner, focus on and refresh that all-important relationship.
- Start a hobby: Or get more serious about an existing one. You’re a fantastic baker, woodworker or potter? Set up at local fairs to sell your wares. If you’re a subject expert or collector, lecture and exhibit at your local library or community centre.
- Stay mentally active: Play bridge, solve puzzles, play an instrument, learn a new language… Like muscles, our brains need regular workouts.
- Tackle home projects: Fix up, repair and refurbish. With the luxury of more time, you can do things right and realize big savings.
- Travel: Expand your mental, physical and social horizons. Doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Camp, travel off-season, take road trips…
- Get fit: Walk, bike, dance, take yoga classes, pick up a sport or set a crazy goal — first marathon! Exercise helps fight disease, improves mental health and maintains quality of life longer.
- Eat healthy: With more time, you can shop, cook and eat healthier. You’ll feel better and be more resistant to disease. Tastes better too! Check out Canada’s Food Guide for more info.
- Start a new career or get a part-time job: You always wanted to be a chef or get into real estate? What’s holding you back? Start courses now! Keeps you active and mentally sharp, plus it tops up your retirement funds.
- Develop your creative side: Paint, sculpt, write a novel or compose music.
- Give back: Mentor youths or young professionals, serve on a board or serve meals and provide companionship. Get a teaching job and share a lifetime of experience, or coach a kids’ team. Giving draws you out of yourself.
- Write your memoirs: Every life is interesting — including yours.
- Learn a new skill: Cooking, carpentry, auto mechanics, fly fishing and more. Look for lessons locally, or check out YouTube.
- Start a blog: Share your unique experience and perspective.
- Meditate: Reduces stress and promotes inner peace.
- Stay positive! The best way to approach retirement and life in general!
Of course, the freedom to make choices like these has a lot to do with the choices you made before retirement. Choices such as savings and investments, estate planning and transitioning from accumulation to enjoying your hard-earned money. More to come on these topics soon.