A blank calendar filled with nothing but free time can be every bit as stressful as a packed work week.
That’s the surprising fact that many new retirees confront after a few days of hitting the snooze button and puttering around the house. This is usually when the reality of retirement sets in. This is your life now. What are you going to do with it?
The only thing better than sleeping in is jumping out of bed early because you’re energized and excited for the day ahead. Create a new retirement schedule that will keep you growing, learning, experiencing new things, and making meaningful connections with your community.
Taking all those trips you couldn’t squeeze in around work meetings and kids’ baseball tournaments tops many retirees’ wish lists. After all that hard work, prudent planning, and disciplined saving, you deserve to treat yourself, do things you never had time for, and see places you’ve always wanted to see.
Why not try to be your own travel agent? Planning a few big trips scattered throughout the year can be a fun activity for you and your spouse to do together. In between, sprinkle in some long weekends visiting the grandkids and a few separate getaways to give each of you space to pursue your personal passions.
2. Work or volunteer part time.
“Working in retirement” is not an oxymoron. More and more retirees who can afford to stop working are taking part-time jobs and volunteer positions. This can give your week some welcome structure and provide an outlet for things you’re passionate.
That non-for-profit job you couldn’t afford when you were raising kids and paying a mortgage? Take it. Do some good in your community and make a little spending cash on the side. Put your cultural expertise to work as a docent for an art gallery or museum. Volunteer at a church or charitable organization that’s close to your heart.
3. Upgrade your living situation.
Whether you’re handy and enjoy doing the work or just like picking out new colors, patterns, and fixtures, take care of all those lingering household projects. Your comfort is important, especially as you age. Don’t let minor inconveniences like leaky faucets and spotty heating turn into major problems. Get rid of that lumpy mattress and hard couch you’ve been torturing yourself with for a decade. Map out the deck and pool you’ve always wanted and turn your backyard into a central hangout for your family and friends.
Of course, that’s assuming you want to “retire in place” at your current residence. A permanent change of scenery can be invigorating as you enter this new phase in your life. Make sure you talk to your financial advisor to incorporate the move and all the necessary tax, health care, and cost of living adjustments into your financial plan.
4. Get really good at something you love doing.
Been a frustrated weekend golfer your whole life? Sign up for lessons and get that handicap down for good. No more rushing through meals on your way to and from work and school, so let your inner foodie have the run of the kitchen. Dust off your college French lessons before that dream trip to Paris with an online class.
The possibilities for an exciting and fulfilling life in retirement are bound only by your imagination and the financial resources you have available to you. Decide to focus on the fun!