When you think about your retirement…what comes to mind?
- Time spent on a sandy beach with your toes in the water?
- Playing with grandkids?
- Relaxing with all the time in the world?
So, here’s the problem with having all the time in the world: you have all the time in the world.
It might surprise you to know that suddenly having a lot of free time can be pretty stressful. “In fact, some studies have linked retirement to a decline in health. One ongoing study found that retired people, especially those in the first year of retirement, are about 40 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who keep working.”
We know. Not what you wanted to hear.
However, there are things you can do to better prepare yourself (including your mental health) for your retirement years – and these have an effect on your finances as well.
Find Activities – And Start Now
Finding activities in retirement is crucial for a variety of reasons. Engaging in active hobbies can help you stay healthy; research has shown that retirees with hobbies have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases. They’re also less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Secondly, finding activities helps you meet new people and stay social. Rather than staying cooped up at home, seeking out activities allows you to interact with others, forming new relationships and maintaining a fulfilling social life.
Lastly, having hobbies will provide stimulation and prevent boredom in retirement. After years of working, it’s healthy to have new challenges, learn new skills, and create new memories that make you happy.
We caution you to not wait until you’re retired to find what you enjoy doing. Start as soon as you can, trying new things and making a list of what you like doing and what you don’t.
Talk to Your Advisor
As you start exploring new opportunities, talk to your advisor about what you’re envisioning and be specific. For example, when you say you want to travel…what does that mean? Does that mean you want to go see your family every year or does that mean you want to go on a 5-star African safari? When you say you want to learn how to paint, does that mean you’re going to the local community center or taking a course in Paris? When you say you want to improve your golf game, do we need to budget for clubs you break over your knee as you learn?
These are things that need to be budgeted for.
It’s also important to pay attention to what YOU want to do. While your best friend might have visions of hiking Everest, you might realize that what you enjoy doing most is gardening in your backyard. Make sure that your retirement dreams are yours and not someone else’s.
What Questions Should You Ask Yourself When Planning for Retirement Activities?
Budgeting and planning for retirement activities requires thought, patience, and honesty with yourself. It’s important to determine the cost of each activity to include it in your retirement budget, plan for associated expenses, and time commitments.
Also, consider any adaptations that might be necessary to accommodate age-related health or mobility changes. These questions and considerations will help you and your advisor create a customized retirement plan that prioritizes your values, interests, and happiness.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What hobbies/interests do I have?
- What did I not have time for before but want to do now?
- What do I want to achieve in retirement?
- Do I want to learn anything new?
- What would make me happy or give me a sense of discovery and purpose in life?
As you plan for retirement, remember that it’s not only about money and financial planning; it’s also about prioritizing the activities that will make your retirement happy and fulfilling. Pre-planning is crucial to ensure you have the resources, time, and energy to enjoy yourself. It may take time and effort to plan ahead, but it’s worth the investment to ensure that your retirement years are healthy, purposeful, and happy.