You know what you are going to retire from, but what are you going to retire to? Are you going to have a retirement filled with fun and adventure, or one where you watch from the sidelines?
The world of work, whatever it means for you, is ever encompassing. You will probably have spent on average 35-40 hours every week working, with possibly another 5-10 hours commuting. You will have squeezed your ‘home life’, into the evenings and weekends.
Whatever age you retire at, be it your 30’s or your 60’s or beyond, you really need to have a plan for how you are going to use your time. Home life ceases to be something that is fitted in, it becomes the main game in town!
The style of your approach will influence the outcome of the rest of your life. Set it up well, and it can be the greatest time of your life. Otherwise the risk is that you wake up one morning and ask yourself the question – Is this it? Is this all that is ahead of me until I die? Some people can find that they are affected by depression, they feel useless and no longer needed. Others are out having a ball. They are always on the move, travelling to new places, doing interesting things, have a wide circle of friends. I know which sort of retirement option I prefer!
Is your Retirement planning like a Maze?
Retirement changes as time goes on
From my experience and that of my friends and family, what you set off into retirement to do, changes with time.
- You may have retired to spend time with your children – they grow up, become more independent, and need you around less
- You wanted to spend time with an elderly relative – time again takes its course. They become less able, maybe pass away….
- You have an amazing hobby. What starts as a hobby, maybe doesn’t work as a full-time lifestyle
- New things come along, which excite you. Witness this blog – I only started it 1 year ago, 5 years into my ‘retirement’.
- Age starts to catch up with you. You slow down, what was easy a few years ago becomes harder, and takes longer…..
- Those connections you kept from your work, ease gently into the sunset. You might keep links with one or two people who have become real friends with shared interests outside work, but the rest drop gently by the wayside.
- You make new friends, with different interests
- You might find yourself becoming a grandparent and want to take a share in your grandchild’s life.
- You might decide to re-locate, to be nearer family, or for a more pleasant climate
You will have heard of the bucket list e.g. 40 things to do before you die. Here’s some ideas for retirement that have inspired me, and indeed are on my own bucket list.
- Take a cargo boat down the coast of Chile. Even if you are on your own. You never know, you might well make some great friends. When I asked friends, bloggers and digital nomads what they wanted life to be like at 60, one comment in particular, inspired me. Tresser recounted a story where, on a cargo boat to South America, two 71 year old female passengers who didn’t know each other sailed from the US all the way to Chile and got off together at every port for a visit.
- Visit 50 countries. I counted up recently, I am at 24, so just half way. I’ll need to start planning
- Live like a local for a while, somewhere different each year. My own particular choice is 1 or 2 months in a different European city each year. I am already doing this, and hope to do it for many years to come. This year it is Madrid, last year it was Barcelona, the year before it was NIce. We haven’t decided where next year will take us. Financially it costs a little more, but you could always do a house swap. It doesn’t need to be abroad, it could be a different place within your own country. Regardless of where it is, you need to find out the best places to shop, where can you find a nice park, where can you go walking, what museums are there to visit? It helps to keep your brain alert. Doing different things, or doing the same things differently is important.
- Learn a new language. For many, I suspect the last time you learned a new language was when you were in High School. However, learning a new language creates new pathways in your brain. I have been trying my hand at Spanish (Hence the 5 weeks in Madrid) Trying to think and speak in a different language is a great challenge
- Take up a new physical challenge. Keeping mobile is very important as you age. The statistics around elderly people having falls are scary. So it’s best to start early and keep boosting your flexibility. Your dream might be to climb Everest, mine is a little more mundane – 10,000 steps a day. I am far better at that when the weather is good, and I can enjoy a wander in the sun. I also find that I walk far more when I am somewhere different. This year in Madrid I have kept a record, and we have averaged 13,000 steps each day. For others it is swimming, hill walking, golf, tai chi …. Anything that keeps you mobile, flexible and improves your balance.
- Take up a new hobby / learn a new skill. By doing something new, you will meet different people, make new friends and have some new social activity. Not to mention, enjoying yourself. My immediate pre-retirement discovery was making jewellery, initially beading but now silver work, enamelling and lapidary. I have had so much fun over the last 6-8 years. You can see some of my work here
- Start a new enterprise. The number of people I know who have waited until they retire to do something entirely different. One person has been trying house-sitting in different places, one is selling his extensive collection of music online. Retiring from full-time work or your career, does not mean stopping altogether. Often it is just the start of something entirely different!
What is on your bucket list?
While money is not everything, it can grease the wheels a little. There is no point in planning round the world trips if the best you are likely to be able to afford is a bus to the next town.
- Enough money is important. Enough is defined by your lifestyle, your need for security and what you want to do with your time..
- Starting early to plan your financial security in retirement makes reaching your end goal a lot easier. It’s not a disaster if you leave it to the last minute, you just need to do more in a shorter time. It might mean working one or two more years, while living on your anticipated retirement income and saving the rest.
- Be cautious. There are many unscrupulous individuals and companies who work hard to part you from your cash to their benefit rather than yours. So if someone introduces you to an investment that sounds too good to be true – it probably is!
It’s Up to You
Are you just going to drift into retirement, and take what comes, and not try and influence the outcome? Or are you going to be the one leading that golden retirement, that really inspires you and those around you.
As my strapline says – I am Having Fun Cracking Retirement. If you’d like to Pin this, and please do, just click the image below