After decades of working hard day after day, retirement can seem like the easiest thing in the world. But going from a busy career to having nothing but free time can be a difficult transition. In the months and years leading up to retirement, retirees should consider what their life will be like after taking the plunge.
Filling the Time
For the first time in possibly decades, retirees have to figure out ways to fill their time. They no longer have to go to a job they may have disliked and suddenly have energy and time for their own passions. Finding new ways to fill this time can be surprisingly difficult. Retirees can find new activities, make more time for friends and family, and volunteer to help the community.
Career-driven people who have retired can find themselves bored and feeling a lack of worth after leaving the work force. The problem can be solved by ramping down their career instead of retiring while still heavily involved. It is also helpful for career-driven people to plan fulfilling activities they can pour themselves into during the retired lifestyle, like hobbies or volunteering for example.
Learn From Others
There are many different approaches to retiring and it can be helpful for those nearing their last days in the workforce to talk to a variety of people who’ve already retired. This can include old bosses or coworkers, older friends, and even family members. Having these conversations can prepare soon-to-be retirees for the reality of what retiring will be like and how they can prepare. These people could even introduce you to new activities you might enjoy like gardening or photography.
Or if they don’t have former coworkers who’re enjoying being retired, there are plenty of books and online resources dedicated to the subject.
But retiree planning isn’t only about one person. For a married couple, each person need to consider the wants and needs of their partner. Spouses need to understand that they will both be going through a major life style change, and each needs to respect that changes will have to be made.
Married retiree planning can include spending more time together for dates or hanging out, but it may also require scheduled time apart from each other. With each partner in full time work and other life obligations, non-retired couples need to plan time out of their busy days to spend with each other. Retired couples often don’t have this problem and can feel suffocated with all this extra attention and no alone time.
It is important to be happy and content as both individuals and as a couple.
Try New Things
One of the most fun things about being a retiree is having both the fund and the time to do activities that they couldn’t before. Ever wanted to learn to be an expert at woodworking? What about cooking? How about taking regular hikes around scenic state parks?
Retirees can do all of things they never had time for before, which is why it is important to try new things to avoid becoming bored.
Often free trial classes or reduced rate classes are available to the elderly at gyms and community centers. At places like this, retirees could take biking class or attend yoga sessions or even learn art like watercolor painting or pottery.
Everyone assumes they’ll enjoy being retired and will be able to fill all hours of their day easily, but that often isn’ the case. Would-be retirees can take a “trial retirement” from work to see if they can fill the unstructured time and enjoy themselves.
Take a one to two week vacation from work and unplug from the office. Yes, that means no checking email or answering work calls! In this mini vacation, would-be retirees can try new activities and take new classes, or take small day trips with family and friends. After the trial retiring, write down some thoughts about how the vacation went and if its something you could do in the long term.