Most working people imagine retirement with great visions of being on permanent vacation. That is not the reality for most retired people. There are over 10,000 baby boomers per day turning age 65 in the United States. Most retirement advice is targeted on the financial side of retirement. It is also helpful to think about the “softer” issues related to achieving a happy retirement. The following advice on retirement is focused on advice about living happily in retirement, not just paying for it. It seems to us that people who enjoy their retirement years are as focused on achieving their life goals, as they are their financial goals. The advice here comes from active experienced retirees, and from our observations about our clients who are retired. The emotional aspect of leaving the workforce can be jarring, and many new retirees have a tough time feeling productive with their new-found free time. Below is the retirement advice we got from current retirees.
Retire TO something you are passionate about, rather than retiring FROM work. People who retire to something they are excited about seem to be the happiest in retirement and are able to make the easiest transition into retirement. Those who retire from work without a game plan, a passion, hobbies, etc. often have a tough time mentally and emotionally making the transition. What are you passionate about outside of work?
Continue to work and expand your interests for as long as possible. By continuing to stay engaged in important regularly scheduled activities you retain your sense of purpose. You have a reason to get up in the morning. Working part-time, family support and/or volunteering can continue to provide purpose and meaning for your life. Retirement should not be driven by age but by a desire to do something else with the rest of your life. The people we see that seem to be the happiest are very busy in retirement doing many different things, including social interactions on a regular basis. They say “I don’t know how we had enough time to work before we retired!” Your work week provided a great deal of structure to your days. It is a good idea to create structure in your days as a retiree as well. One retiree recommends having a purpose in life beyond just having fun. Get out there and get involved!
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