Retirement can be a wonderful and liberating experience, but for many who don't plan properly for it, it can be a jarring experience. People who are accustomed out of decades of habit to certain activities may suddenly find themselves at a loss for what to do and how to give meaning to their life in retirement. The key to a successful transition is planning ahead, so here are some guidelines for determining how you will spend your time in retirement.
The two primary topics that most retirees plan for are finances and health care. While those two topics should absolutely be at the top of your list, people often forget to account for what they're actually going to do with all their newfound free time.
Try to be as specific as you can, because many people simply list something like "travel" without any elaboration. Travel is something that you can certainly do more of, but isn't a day-to-day activity that will keep you busy. Try to stick to creating a list of day-to-day activities, and provide as much specificity as possible.
Consider Working Part-Time
While most people are working they dream of retirement, but when retirement comes, many people often find themselves looking wistfully back at their working days. This is in large part because many people find purpose in their job, whether it is because of their role as a leader, a provider for their family, or because their job simply makes them feel industrious. Many people also discount how much stimulus people, conversations, problems a job provides them, and sincerely miss it after the fact.
Whether you decide to work to feel industrious or because a little extra money would help, taking a part-time job after retirement can be a very healthy and fun way to spend your time. Once you are retired, there is no career to think of, and you can do virtually anything you want. Many people pursue a job that they were always interested in, but for financial and other reasons, it never made sense to pursue. Other people continue on with their original line of work, but in a part-time or consulting capacity.
Many people want to make a positive impact during their lifetime, but often feel overwhelmed with families, finances and other worldly concerns. As a result, many people explicitly plan to pursue meaningful activities in their retirement that they simply never had time for before.
Volunteering can lead to performing interesting, meaningful work that will expand your personal network beyond its traditional boundaries, all while giving back to society. While it may be helpful to have a particular skill set that a charity or organization may need, most volunteer based organizations simply want ready, willing and enthusiastic people to help out. Take the time to explore some volunteer activities in your region and see if any of them strike a chord with either your personal interests or your desire to give back to the world.
Considering Continuing Your Education
While some people go back to school, even at an advanced age, there is no need to limit your education to more formal methods. Taking up a new subject, exploring a new field of study, or taking a range of classes can all be great ways to keep your mind healthy and active while exploring areas you've always been interested in. Retirement is a great time to pursue other interests, so look into formal and informal methods of continuing your education.
Part of the loss that people sometimes feel when they retire is that they are no longer being challenged, and one of the easiest ways to combat this is to deliberately challenge yourself. Maybe exploring ancient societies or moral philosophy never made sense as a career, but since that is no longer your goal, dig into a subject that interests you with complete freedom.
Consider Exploring New Hobbies
Finally, most retirees have a list of things they always wanted to learn how to do, but never had the time. Whether it be painting, dancing, or playing the guitar, taking on a new hobby is one of the best things you can do in retirement. A new hobby forces you to learn something new, keeping your mind fresh and challenging you.
Keep in mind, though, that your ability to learn something new will likely be reduced. Many retirees can get frustrated with the difficulty they face in learning new things. As a result, it is often recommended that you start a new hobby earlier in life, and plan on devoting more time to it when you retire. Regardless, if you can be a little patient, there is no reason that you cannot learn entirely new skills later in life.