Do late-night re-runs of The Golden Girls have you feeling excited about life in retirement? While Blanche Devereaux certainly showed us how to make the most of our senior years, many retirees struggle to find fulfillment in the real world.
Delaying retirement has also become a long-term trend among Americans. Data from Gallup shows the average retirement age in 1991 was 57. Now in 2022, it is 61. Could this be because most Americans don’t know how to best retire?
If you’re on the cusp of retirement and want to enjoy your golden years to their fullest, these ten tips will ensure you have as much fun as the sitcom trio whose senior antics kept us in stitches for seven seasons.
1. Maintain a Strong Social Life
A thriving social life is invaluable when you retire. Not only does it ensure you stay busy throughout the week, but you develop a strong support network.
One-third of people suffer from loneliness later in life. Solid social connections – be it from family, friends, or community groups – reduce the risk of isolation and the negative emotions that can follow.
Having an active social life is also about enjoying your retirement. No man is an island, after all. Whether you play golf each week with friends, visit relatives at the weekend, or join a social club, you’re having fun and feeding your soul.
2. Establish a Daily Routine
When you retire, you suddenly lose the routine you may have held for decades. It can be discombobulating. Your days lose structure, and a sense of lethargy can creep in. Establish a new daily routine. Incorporate physical activity, family time, and spiritual practice, and you’ll be on to a winner. According to WebMD, routines reduce your stress levels, make you sleep better, and improve your health – among a slew of other benefits.
3. Stay Active
Another key ingredient to a happy life after retirement is exercise. Being active prevents a slew of physical and psychological problems associated with aging.
The CDC recommends adults aged 65 and above do at least 2.5 hours of “moderate-intensity activity” (e.g., brisk walking) or 75 minutes of “vigorous-intensity activity” (e.g., hiking or jogging) each week.
Retirees should also work on their balance and do muscle-strengthening activities for three days and two days a week, respectively. So try yoga, pilates, Zumba, or whatever else you prefer to stay active.
Meditation is an age-old practice that can be invaluable as you enter, well… old age. Now that you have more free time, why not give it a shot?
Meditation reduces stress, alleviates depression, and even slows the decline of certain brain areas. It’s a powerful practice to include in your daily routine. You don’t have to do it for long, either. Even 10 minutes of meditation a day can be beneficial to people who stick with it long-term.
5. Sort Out Your Finances
Neglecting the financial side of retirement is a recipe for stress and uncertainty. The median sum of money in the retirement accounts of Americans aged 65+ is just $87.7k. Considering that it may have to last a few decades, you can see why so many retirees struggle.
Hire a reputable financial advisor to help get your finances in order. Make sure it’s a fiduciary advisor. These professionals work independently and have your best interests at heart – as opposed to someone who receives a commission for recommending certain financial products.
If you prefer to meet with a financial advisor in person, consider hiring a nearby financial advisor who can be there for you throughout your retirement to offer a hands-on approach. Otherwise, consider hiring a specialist financial advisor who can meet with you online, no matter where you or they live.
6. Find a Hobby
Hobbies keep you busy and fill in your new empty schedule. Do more of those old favorite pastimes you’ve been unable to indulge yourself in throughout your working life. Or learn something new, like a second language or a musical instrument.
The world’s your oyster, and you have time to spare, so now’s the ideal time to embrace your hobbies. Just remember, not all hobbies are made equal. Try to pick activities that keep you active, energize you, and stimulate your mind.
7. Practice Gratitude
Have you ever felt annoyed and grateful at the same time? How about lonely and grateful? Or sad and grateful? No? Neither have we. And for good reason.
Gratitude is a powerful emotion that tends to rid negativity from your system and put a smile on your lips instead.
It’s worth remembering this when you retire. After all, despite the many positive aspects of retirement, there are challenges like loneliness, a lack of purpose, and occasional health problems. One way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. Every day, you sit down, take your notebook and write about what you’re grateful for at that moment.
8. Retire in Stages
If you’re not ready to step back from your career, why not ease your way into retirement by winding down gently? You could step back bit by bit over a number of years, easing off the workload until you’re ready to retire fully.
For example, some decide to go part-time before moving down to one day a week and then finally just do sporadic consultancy work. Take this sort of tact, and retirement will come as less of a shock to the system.
9. Travel The World
Whether you’re visiting friends overseas or exploring destinations on your bucket list, traveling is a life-giving experience that delivers a host of proven benefits.
Among other things, travel relieves stress and boosts creativity, enhances happiness, and decreases the risk of depression.
It’s no surprise that 65% of Americans dream of traveling when they retire! If you’ve been one of them, it’s about time you turn that dream into reality. Grab a globe, give it a spin, and see where your mood takes you.
10. Get Into Nature
Did you know that spending time in nature improves your physical health and well-being? It reduces feelings of fear while boosting positivity. Not only that, but your blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate all drop at the same time.
The magic happens simply because you’re in nature, surrounded by space, greenery, and fresh air. So put on your boots, grab a jacket, and visit the nearest park, beach, or wilderness area next time you’re looking for good retirement ideas.
Learn To Enjoy Life in Retirement
Millions of people wait their entire lives for retirement, only to be disappointed by the reality of stepping back from work. It’s no surprise in some ways.
After all, transitioning from a career to life in retirement is a huge change – a rite of passage that entails a shift in your identity as much as in your schedule. Alas, the end result is that your long-awaited life of leisure can turn into one of tedium and regret.
As we’ve seen, there are countless ways to ensure you avoid that miserly fate and end up happily retired instead. With any luck, the suggestions in this article will help in that regard. Keep them in mind, put them into action, and your life after retirement should be everything you’d hoped for and more.