When you bid your 9-to-5 adieu, how do you plan to spend your time?
You’ve made a financial plan for retirement, but what about a fun plan? According to an article by The Senior, “Your Retirement | Don’t be a bored Baby Boomer,” two in three people enter retirement with little or no thought about what they want to actually do in retirement. But professionals agree it’s a key component to a satisfying “after-party.”
It’s not too soon to think through how you plan to keep yourself busy with all those extra hours in the day – and recognize the options are endless. Without a purpose, you may find yourself bored and unfulfilled. A little preparation will not only help you avoid this but also contribute to the happy retirement you’ve always envisioned.
These tips will help you explore the possibilities.
Many of us identify with our careers and titles, but how will we feel once those are part of our past? You’re still the same person, after all. It may take some deep thought about your true passions and the legacy you want leave, but this preparation will lead you on a path to fill your time with things that mean the most to you.
Maybe these will get your juices flowing.
What did you want to do as a child? Were there any missed opportunities in your career journey that you’d like to learn more about? Did you lack the time you wanted to volunteer when you had a career and young family to balance? Or maybe your friends are always telling you you’re so good at [insert skill here] but you never harnessed it? These are all hints that’ll steer you to a satisfactory retirement.
There are some pretty incredible examples of those fully embracing their encore years by doing extraordinary things. There’s nothing wrong with finally learning how to crochet, perhaps inspired by watching your grandma make intricate blankets while you were a kid. But there are other options, too. People in retirement are learning to surf, getting a doctorate, starting charitable organizations or traveling to new continents. Picture the possibilities. This is the time to think about trying something new and leaving regrets behind.
Case in point: Jimmy Carter. While he never intended to start an annual project, he and his wife helped Habitat for Humanity volunteers build and renovate homes for the less fortunate in 1984 – and have continued their efforts well into retirement. Want to set a Guinness World Record instead? An 83-year-old Japanese woman who goes by DJ Sumirock earned the title of oldest professional club DJ. She started DJ school at age 77, thinking it might be a fun endeavor. Does a physical endeavor suit you better? There’s no shortage of boomer-aged skateboarders. Both Lena Salmi and Neal Unger have gained notoriety as beginners in their 60s.
You won’t know if you don’t try.
While keeping busy staves off issues retirees can encounter, like unhappiness and physical decline, it’s also OK to decide you want to take this time to relax. Just do it purposely. According to U.S. News & World Report’s “The Art of Doing Nothing in Retirement,” there are a few steps to take to adjust to this new pace of life. First things first, let go of any guilt you may feel making yourself a priority. But don’t let go of a routine altogether. Create one that helps you appreciate your slower lifestyle, and enjoy being in the moment. Watch the sunset, listen to the ocean and observe wildlife.
Creating a so-called bucket list is a good start to having something to always look forward to. But your list should continue to grow, not dwindle. When you check off one thing, add another. It should be an evolution of your wants and wishes. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself – then re-reinvent yourself. You may just surprise yourself with a new passion.
Say you decided to take some yoga classes – and now you love it so much you want to become an instructor. Let your level of enjoyment guide you to your next endeavor. You may also do so much traveling one year that staying closer to home the next is what you crave. The most important part is being honest with yourself and what’s making you happy.
It’s easy to slide into expectations from your family and retired peers – but it’s your life. Of course, you should include your children and spouse in your plans, but don’t let their wishes overrule yours. And be sure to include your financial advisor in retirement planning conversations. Not only will they be able to help you put together the financial pieces of the puzzle, but they will make sure you have adequate insurance should you take up one of the riskier hobbies.
Remember, this is your retirement. It’s a chapter you won’t get to rewrite, so do what you please – as wild or laid-back as it may seem. You won’t regret listening to your heart and giving it a try.
Sources: Guinness World Records; hypebae.com; theseniorlist.com; usnews.com; thesenior.com.au; makeagingwork.com; habitat.org