Once you’ve settled down and don’t have to worry about finances, your business, or really anything else — what do you do with your time? You work your whole life investing and preparing for retirement, but what are you even going to do in retirement?
Hey, retired person - understand that you hold the world in your hands.
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Well, those three sentences above are what you think about retirement when you are in your 20’s and 30’s. But the fact is — at retirement age — you will still think and worry about your business, your finances, your family — and everything else. And the question, “what are you even going to do in retirement?” Gigantic laugh here — “hum, let me think — I’m not going to be twiddling my thumbs…”
However, we will all question and ask ourselves (and others) about many situations when preparing for retirement or when we finally get further along in our careers. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips for a successful retirement.
Keep your mind sharp
You’ve worked so hard to start and keep up your business. You have a sharp mind, and you don’t want that to go to waste. Years ago — many retirees didn’t really spend time staying sharp — all that has changed in this information age. The retired people of today are not the retired people of yesteryear who sat and watched a bit too much TV, feeling like they have nothing else to do.
Plan to spend time participating in activities that require thought and brainpower.
The key to your brainpower-planning is to keep learning and growing. Identify things you want to learn about and seek out books that interest you. Think about activities that you have always wanted to do — but work and family matters got in your way.
Play games that make you think, like chess. Maybe you never were able to take the time to learn chess — well, you can take the time to learn it now, if you wish. Play games like chess daily or weekly — consider starting a tournament. Continue to go to conferences so that you retain an edge in your industry and can still converse well on various subjects.
Consider tutoring high school or college students on topics you know well. The great thing is you can tutor or teach all on your time and all at your pace.
Just as you did in your business — set your reading goals.
Continue to read a certain amount of books each week, month, and year. Consider reading topics that you have always thought about but could never divert or indulge your attention on these subjects.
Have you always wanted to study all of the religions of the world? You can choose to do that now. Have you longed to study diverse cultures with a deeper understanding of people and places? You can do that now.
Stimulating your brain daily lets you keep growing and learning and prevents mental difficulties. Even though you’ve had a successful career or business and have learned in many areas, there’s still so much more you want to learn — allow yourself that luxury.
Keeping sharp will help you stay mentally well and keep away many ills that begin to set in when minds are not engaged in a greater cause than our smaller circumstances. You are where you want to be — now make a great study of something wonderful because you can.
Staying active is much more active than many would think. We know that as people age, health declines, and as health declines, your medical bill can increase. Of course, there is no stopping the passage of time and what occurs in the body — but you can do your best to slow down the body’s decline.
People are living so much longer and staying active well into their 90’s. Your doctor bills will increase — but the longer you stay strong and healthy, the better. Take prodigious care of yourself mentally and physically on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Staying active - means staying active.
You don’t have to get an all-body workout every single day, but you should be doing something that gets you moving. Great options are walks, bike rides and hikes. Go with friends, partner, spouse, or the household dog. Set up a men’s or women’s think-tank group — “up” your game of golf, or even meet friends for a quick swim.
It doesn’t really matter what form of activity you do, as long as you get moving. Remember a variety of exercise, though. Don’t get bored with your choices because you have more choices than ever now.
Many health insurance companies — and Triple-A have a “silver-sneakers” club where you can have access to gym memberships for free. Incredible. Ask about this opportunity at your local gym and take advantage of this unique offering.
As you’re staying active, you’ll notice a few health benefits. People’s moods improve when they exercise. You’ll get stronger, meaning you can prevent injuries in the future. Preventing injuries is vital — especially for the much older retirees if they want to stay independent.
There are high benefits to keeping yourself social. We are social creatures. Set up your groups and your income with the social in mind. All of your business and working years, you may not have been able to get together with your friends as much as you would have liked. Now, you can deepen lifelong friendships and make new friends.
Your social calendar will keep your physical and mental self active. Get your “peeps” together for the great benefits that can be gained from being with like-minded and divers-minded friends.
Lastly, physical activity is going to help you physically and also mentally. People that exercise are quicker on their feet and can think, analyze, and calculate better. Daily exercise care is such a small habit that can help you kill two birds with one stone.
Look for passive income
You may not be working full time, but there are still great ways that you can make cash on the side. Mentoring and coaching small business owners is a great option since you’ve already been in their shoes.
Be sure to look for any way to make some extra cash by doing things you love. Being a blogger, photographer, or artist can all come with some cash on the side. If you’re passionate about animals, start a dog walking business. You could even drive for Uber or Lyft to meet more people. All these things can be completed on your own time, and you can do as much or as little as you’d like.
You may have some spare rooms in the house because the kids have moved out. Rent those out or consider renting the whole house and living in a smaller apartment nearby. Airbnb is a great place to get started, and you don’t have to change the home at all.
House sitting for others or dog sitting is another easy way to get some cash flow. The money you make from these side gigs may not seem like much at the moment, but remember that every dollar you make here will be appreciated in a retirement fund.
Remember — your side gigs are great — but beyond the cash you can put in your pocket — these activities keep your mind and body in top form.
One of the best ways to find purpose in retirement is to give back to the community that helped you. Now that you’re wiser than you ever have been before, your capacity to teach, serve, and lift is greater than it has ever been before.
Where do you want to use your skills now?
Identify where people helped, support you as you were growing, and try to do what those people did. You can take a look at your skills and experience and consider how you can help others in that area. You could take a part-time job at a local high school or middle school and teach about your area of expertise.
If you’re looking for something bigger, give young college students or parents free coaching and some financial support if you’re up to it.
You can also donate your time in various places. Be a volunteer. Every city in the U.S. and elsewhere has a volunteer website. Hop on your city’s website for volunteers and find a place to have your own personal event.
Choose something and someplace to volunteer that you cannot fathom yourself taking part in — and then participate. Take a friend along, have an adventure.
Your event could be participating in other peoples’ charity and fundraising events, disaster relief, or volunteering. Local businesses are always looking for volunteers, and helping others will feel better than you ever supposed.
Find an organization that you feel passionate about, and do what works best for you. As you volunteer, you’ll be giving back to the community and may even find a purpose totally out of your comfort zone.
Socializing is one of the best parts of retirement — but don’t think you will have a ton of extra time on your hands. You will be busy and you want to be that way.
Socializing will decrease overall stress, leading to a decreased probability of developing depression or other mental battles. You’ll love your newfound freedom as you improve cognitive abilities and can even reduce the risk of dementia. Socializing decreases blood pressure and brings about a sense of belonging. You already know all this — but it doesn’t hurt to think about it and push yourself.
The benefits of socializing are great, but how do retirees go out and meet new people?
Conferences are a great way to stay sharp, keep networking, and meet new people. Another option would be to go to clubs focused on things you love.
Book clubs and exercise clubs are a consistent way for retirees to get out and to move and spend time with other people. Clubs and classes let you meet and become friends with people with similar interests.
Consider taking community classes on art, history, or anything else you’re interested in. Look for other ways to socialize in your own community, as the benefits speak for themselves. I wish they didn’t call them “senior citizen centers,” but they do. When I checked out the senior citizen centers around my city — for some reason, I had a bad attitude about them. But they were hopping places of activity. People were not playing checkers or drooling.
Heavy discussions, interesting topics, knowledgeable information — and fun.
Follow your passions
The greatest source of fulfillment you’ll get in retirement is doing things you love. Think about what you loved doing as a kid or teenager. As an adult, you may have time to perfect your throw, your kick, and up your game. If you have the liberty — take money out of the equation.
If money wasn’t an issue — what would you be doing with your time in retirement? It may be traveling the world, meeting new people, or maybe moving to a new location to experience something different. Think about house swapping. Many retirees are swapping houses to conduct in-depth discoveries in various parts of the world.
You have options, you have depth, and you know your mind. Begin making your plan, charting a course and entering your dates on the calendar.
If you need to save up a bit of money, start some fun side hustles. In retirement, it’s time to invest in yourself. Have fun, and be a kid again.
Retirement can be a great and fulfilling part of your life as you meet new people, do what you love, and take care of yourself. Take time to think about how your retirement has gone so far and where you want to go with it.
Do the things you want to do.
A few days ago, I said to a friend, “it is so very good to see you!” She said, “at my age, it’s good to be seen rather than ‘viewed.'” For some reason, I was shocked — but we had a great laugh, nonetheless.
I had planned to have a facelift right after retirement and I’ve got the money saved — but along with my friends’ humor, I decided that I don’t have to worry about wrinkles around my smile — as long as there’s a smile. The heck with a facelift — I’m going to take that facelift money and have an adventure!
Article by Deanna Ritchie, Due
About the Author
Deanna Ritchie is a financial editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 1000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 40,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite.