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Making the Most of Retirement

Making the Most of Retirement

May 28, 2024

Much has been written about saving for retirement, and we adhere to the principle that financial security is a key component to a successful retirement.

Many of you are on that road right now, while others are accessing the savings accumulated over a lifetime.

Knowing how much money you can withdraw each month from savings is important. Ask anyone who has retired. They will tell you that. But if you dig a little bit deeper, you’ll find that’s half the equation.

Money is important, but money doesn’t guarantee a happy retirement.

Making the best of retirement: 7 disciplines

  1. Can you ease into retirement?If you are able, consider cutting back from full-time to part-time. It’s not only a way to stretch out your savings, but you are testing the waters of full-time retirement while keeping active professionally.

 

Consider this option a bridge to retirement.

  1. Keep in contact with your work friendsStay active socially.You’ve spent years with many of these folks, and they have become a part of your life. For some, they are extended family.

 

Participating in social events at your local community center, house of worship, or library can be a great way to stay connected. Do you enjoy museums, game nights, bowling, hiking, walking, book clubs, or volunteering? Your interests will direct your activities.

Volunteering ideas include:

  • The library
  • Your house of worship
  • Community arts center
  • Hospital or medical center
  • School district
  • Animal shelter
  • Food bank
  • Senior center
  • Outdoor parks and recreation

Isolation will take a toll on your health and mental attitude.

  1. Set goals. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” feels like a worn-out cliché. In reality, much wisdom is packed into these nine words.

 

Setting goals allows you to gain some control over your future. It helps put you in charge as you chart a new course in life.

  • What are your priorities in retirement?
  • Would you like to downsize and relocate? Where might you want to live in retirement? What’s important in a new location?
  • Would you like to take up a new hobby such as learning a musical instrument, dancing, painting, winemaking, cooking, geocaching, or even skydiving?
  • What new activities would you like to tackle?
  • What do you like to do for fun?

Equally as important, set joint goals with your spouse.

Be specific about your goals. Make them realistic and achievable, and measure your progress with deadlines. It goes without saying but be sure your goals align with your values.

  1. Health and happiness—prioritize wellness and health. We cannot choose your goals for you, but we want to stress the importance of maintaining fitness. Consistent exercise can improve your overall health and well-being while also boosting your self-esteem.

 

But before starting any physical activity, please check with your physician. He or she can recommend a routine, help improve on what you’re already doing, and suggest ways to stay motivated.

  1. You were once a student in school, and you continued to learn and innovate at work. Maintain that posture in retirement! You exercise for physical health. Well, exercise your brain, too!

 

According to Harvard Medical School’s HealthBeat newsletter, studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with some good health habits:

  • Stay physically active
  • Get enough sleep
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain good social connections
  • Limit alcohol to one drink a day, and
  • Eat a Mediterranean-style diet.
  1. Count your blessings. It’s easy to gravitate to the negative. Don’t!

 

What did you accomplish today? Did you exercise, meet with a friend, cook a new dish, find a new recipe, work in your garden, or plan a trip?

Studies suggest that writing down your positive feelings—just a few minutes each day—provides overall mental and physical benefits.

  1. Structure. “When I retire, I’ll do whatever I want when I want” has a certain appeal. But lack of structure can get you into trouble. Like a rudderless boat, you’ll begin to drift. You have 40 hours each week that are no longer occupied with familiar tasks. What do you do now?

 

You could consider a morning walk or a trip to your health club. What about a relaxing mid-morning coffee break? Can you volunteer and help others? What time do you like to shop or run errands?

Schedule your new hobbies. A schedule allows you to focus, gives you clarity and purpose, and forces you to engage.

It doesn’t have to be rigid. You are not on the clock. You are retired. You have time. But as many of us have often found, if we have too much time, time just seems to slip away. Little is accomplished.

Did that happen to you today? If so, start making changes tomorrow.

I trust you have found this review to be informative. If you have any inquiries or wish to discuss other matters, please don’t hesitate to contact me.