At first, this may seem like a rhetorical question. After all, you won’t have to work anymore! You will no longer have to deal with pressure, deadlines, performance reviews, demanding customers, or annoying co-workers. You can shut off the alarm clock and get up when you want. And best of all, no more boss! (Well, except maybe your spouse.) Why wouldn’t you be happy after you retire?
As it turns out, enjoying a happy retirement does not automatically happen when you kiss the old job goodbye. Not surprisingly, it takes more than simply saving enough money.
While what makes you happy is as individual as you are, these five tips will enable you to make good lifestyle choices and approach retirement with the right frame of mind to truly be happy after you retire.
It’s not news to anyone that the people in the Baby Boomer generation, currently aged 52 to 70, are leaving the workforce and entering their retirement years in larger numbers than ever before. An estimated 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States every day.
Among my circle of friends and former co-workers, I am seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people entering retirement. Many have been tempted by enticing early retirement incentives; some have been given the message that they really should take them. It’s as if they are being told, “Here, let me help you pack up your office. I’ll hold the door open for you!”
If you find yourself retired a little sooner than you had planned, you may not be quite as prepared, in both practical and emotion ways, as you would have been if you had retired on your own timetable.
If you are among the “suddenly retired,” or if you have recently retired by choice but somehow the big day crept up on you a lot faster than you expected, this article will help you with your transition.
You have probably been anticipating your retirement for many years. Perhaps you’ve entertained some general ideas about what your retirement will look like.
Despite your years of anticipation, you may still be surprised by what it’s really like to wake up and have no job to go to. You will probably find that your life will suddenly be different in more ways than you might ever have anticipated.
Welcome to this week's "Lifestyles of the Happily Retired" podcast! In this series, I chat with people who are reinventing themselves and living happy, fulfilling, and interesting lives during retirement.
This week's guest is Elizabeth Boatman
After retiring from her career as a banker, Elizabeth rediscovered an old hobby - photography. Now, she takes day trips from her home in suburban Los Angeles to discover interesting places and beautiful sights that most people are completely unaware of. She has launched a blog, NeighborhoodTravels.com, to share her photography and document her discoveries.
Sadly, Elizabeth's husband passed away about a year before she retired, so her retirement is different from the one she had envisioned for many years. Elizabeth shares her story about reinventing herself and adjusting to her new life, and offers some excellent advice for everyone who finds herself/himself newly single in retirement.
Today, I am launching a new series of podcast interviews, in which I chat with people who are reinventing themselves and living happy, fulfilling, and interesting lives during retirement.
My first guest is Russ Smith.
Russ shares his experiences with living for extended periods of time in Europe, which will be of particular interest to people who are considering retiring in Europe or going there for extended travel.
Russ also teaches lifelong learning courses, and we discuss the pros and cons of living in an age-restricted community in Arizona.
Have you considered what may happen if your spouse passes away before you?
One of the greatest fears that most of us harbor is the fear of dying alone or spending your final years lonely, bored, and confined in a retirement home.
With proper planning, it doesn’t have to be this way.
As with adult life in general, most information you read about planning for and living during your retirement is heavily couple-centric. Single retirees have a few unique concerns that often aren’t comprehended or addressed by websites, books, senior living communities, and other information sources.
If you’re married (or otherwise partnered), don’t click away!
Consider that, unless you and your spouse pass away at the same time, one of you will experience being single at some point. Later in this article, I will suggest several things you can consider now that will make life easier for the surviving spouse when that time comes.
If you’re like most of us, at some point you will face the prospect of downsizing.
Perhaps you want to move to a smaller house. Perhaps you want to move overseas or wander the country in an RV. Perhaps you just don’t want to leave a lifetime of stuff behind for your survivors to deal with.
In my case, I reached a point several years ago when I looked at all the stuff that fills our closets, our attic, and our garage, and I wondered, “Where did this crap all come from?”
It seems that we spend the first half of our adult lives accumulating things (bigger homes, nicer cars, better furniture, more clothes, grown-up “toys”), and then we spend the rest of our life getting rid of it.
Although I’ve toyed with the idea of going through all my stored items and eliminating much of it, up to this point my good intentions haven’t led to much action. Throughout 2015, I’ve sold some CDs on Amazon, but that’s about it.
For some people, discarding obsolete possessions seems to come easily. Usually, it takes a tangible event like an upcoming move to a smaller home to provide the sense of urgency required to downsize possessions.
Jeff and I have decided that we’re going to remain in our current house for at least five to ten more years, but we’re ready to start downsizing our possessions now. We’re serious this time. But we will only be successful if we really want to do it and stick to our goals.
As 2015 draws to a close and I look forward to 2016, I’m planning to make some fairly significant changes in my life.
Many of these changes aren’t typical “new year’s resolution” changes, like resolving to lose 20 pounds or become better organized. They are more oriented towards shifting various aspects of my life to better align with how I envision my renaissance, or my ultimate retirement lifestyle.
You probably have, or will, go through similar lifestyle adjustments at some point, either as an intentional effort or as a response to changing circumstances or priorities.
Creating a satisfying retirement lifestyle that fulfills your needs and desires involves not just the activities you add into your life, it also involves letting go of things that no longer serve you well.
In my last article, I wrote about letting go of responsibilities and obligations that no longer benefit you. Next week, I will write about letting go of possessions you no longer need. In this article, I am going to write about letting go of some people, while enriching your connection with others.
Letting go of people?
That may sound cold-hearted and rash, but I’m not talking about severing ties and cutting off communication entirely. (Although in the case of a few toxic people, that might be a good idea.) I’m talking about adjusting your focus and priorities. Allow me to explain.
In many of the other articles on this website, I write a lot about all the possibilities for what you can do with your life once you no longer have to work (or at least, work full-time).
You can spend more time doing things you’re passionate about, such as writing, playing music, creating art, or volunteering.
You can travel more, without being limited to a finite number of vacation days a year.
You can allow more time for physical activities, such as hiking, biking, or playing golf.
You can spend more time for taking courses, reading, or enjoying cultural events.
I often suggest that you should strive for a balance of physical activities, mental stimulation, socialization, and fulfillment.
All of these are things you can add into your life.
After almost two years of being retired, I often seem to be busier than I was while I was working. (I’m usually not, but it seems that way.) I still don’t have enough time to do all the things I envisioned doing.
While my life is rich with fun, rewarding activities, most of which I enjoy, part of me also wishes my life was simpler. Not boring – just simpler. I still find that some of my time is either being wasted or is being taken up with things that don’t really bring me joy. Finding ways to eliminate the “noise” and the needless complications should make for a much more satisfying life.
I am starting to realize that the key to living a happy, fulfilling retirement is not just about what you add into your life, it’s also about what you let go of.
You’ve probably heard this question many times during job interviews throughout your career – especially from interviewers who weren’t very skillful at conducting job interviews.
One of the biggest problems with this question is that you have no way of knowing what opportunities may be available in five or ten years. At the rate technology is advancing, opportunities will exist in ten years that you have no way of envisioning today.
Still, it was better to have a career plan and remain adaptable and open to new possibilities than to have no plan at all and drift aimlessly through your work years.
You had a career plan. Now, you need a retirement plan!
The question of where you see yourself in five or ten years becomes more relevant when you’re considering how you’re going to live your life after you retire.