When my father finally retired as an auditor from one of the largest US firms, he was forlorn. He looked lost, and confused and often wondered what was next for him. I think he missed the challenge from his peers and the admiration of his juniors. Often, he reminded us how much he understood finances “than most common folks” and the idea of not actively applying his knowledge was evident. It hurt him. Well, my mum, eased his journey and he started a small audit to check the family finances while spending time with his grandchildren. I love you, dad.
Retirement doesn’t have to mean the end of happiness. In fact, retirement can be a time when you finally get to do what makes you happy. Here are a few retirement tips from retirees on how to make retirement a happy and fulfilling time.
1. Do what you love
Now that you have the time, do what you love. This can be anything from starting a new hobby to traveling the world. Do what makes you happy and retirement will be a blast. My dad always wanted to do fishing. The company, in consultation with mum, bought him a modern fishing home as his retirement gift. You should see him at his ‘second home’ as he often calls it.
2. Stay Social
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stay home all the time. Get out there and enjoy your social life. Meet up with friends, join clubs, and stay active. Social support is a pillar of support and you’ll need it. Connect, reach out and commit!
3. Find a new purpose
retirement can be a time to finally pursue your dreams. Find something that you’re passionate about and go for it. Whether it’s writing a book, starting a business, or volunteering, having a purpose will make retirement all the more enjoyable.
4. Plan your finances
One of the most important things you can do before retirement is to plan your finances. Make sure you have enough saved up to cover your costs and consider getting advice from a financial planner. Having a solid financial plan will give you peace of mind and help you enjoy retirement to the fullest. Talk to a financial advisor today and get started on your retirement planning. The last thing you need is to become a burden to not only your loved ones but also to the society in general. Take charge of your finances and lead a dignified life in retirement.
5. Stay healthy
Retirement is the perfect time to focus on your health. Eat right, exercise, and take care of yourself. This will help you stay happy and active in retirement. If by any chance you’re under medication, follow your doctor’s instructions and always keep your welfare in mind. Your health should always come first.
6. Keep learning
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. In fact, retirement is a great time to learn new things. Take classes, read books, and explore new hobbies. Learning will keep your mind sharp and retirement interesting.
7. Wind down gently
The journey to retirement can be a long and stressful one. So, when you finally reach retirement, take some time to wind down and relax. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Enjoy your newfound freedom and take retirement at your own pace. People make the mistake of withdrawing from their routine at once. That’s unhealthy. Start easing off steadily. For instance, you can start by spending two more hours in bed than usual. Where possible, mentoring upcoming professionals in a similar field can help. The goal is to make a soft landing. Don’t try to make a mess of the process. Old habits die hard. Wean off these habits gradually.
8. Practice mindful gratitude
One of the best ways to stay happy in retirement is to focus on the things you’re grateful for. Each day, take a few moments to reflect on the things that make you happy – your family, your friends, your health, your home, etc. Multiple studies indicate happy retirees with a positive outlook and view life from a point of little materialism. Such retirees support social campaigns aimed to bring change and rarely have recurring illnesses. Therefore, as a retiree, look around and feel thankful for the things life accords you. Gratitude should be an everyday trait for all. You attract what you are!
Seeing dad live a fulfilling life, visiting places, and getting healthier in retirement convinced me of the positives of this life phase. A workaholic found pleasure in simple things such as guiding his family to make better financial decisions. He refused to take on more clients to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren and we’re all happier for it. When retirement comes knocking, don’t dread it. With an open mind and better preparation, you’ll enjoy the sunset more!
Retirement doesn’t have to be a time of boredom and isolation. By staying active and involved, you can make retirement a time of new beginnings and continued happiness. So get out there and enjoy the retirement years – they’re yours to enjoy!