What are the secrets to a happy retirement?

By | July 2, 2020

Travel: Explore the near and far world. You don’t have to go all over the world (though, if you do, it’s awesome). Maybe just do a weekend trip or a day trip. My wife Allison and I have been traveling to Central & South America, Europe, and SE Asia since they retired.

After that, we have planned another trip to China and hopefully Australia. The planning part is particularly amusing!

Meet people: friends existing & new folks. Keeping your social connections after retirement is vital because you won’t have that built-in network of work friends and colleagues anymore.

Make it a point for dinner, coffee walks, road trips, pool parties and so on to meet friends. And don’t miss opportunities to meet new people out of the work environment are some of the most interesting people you’ll meet.

Stay in shape: If you are unhealthy and can’t get around very well, retirement won’t be really fun. Use your extra time to keep your body healthy, away from work. Find routines you like to do so you will stick with it.

For me, this means lifting weight, swimming, yoga and walking. Every single day I do at least one of those things.

Design a routine: Every day and every week. My daily routine is usually sleeping in (8–9 hours of sleep is amazing), eating breakfast, working on my Retire By 45 site, working out (see #3 above), having lunch, going for a long walk along the waterfront, working more on my site, grabbing dinner, and chilling on the couch watching our favorite television show.

Keep your mind sharp: Work usually forces you to use your brain for stuff you want to use it for, though not always.

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Maintain mental sharpness through reading, writing, designing, blogging, creating, having interesting conversations, etc. 6-Prioritize by Enjoyment: I have a To-Do List to keep track of the projects I am working on (for personal projects and projects related to the site).

Sometimes I’ll look at that list, and I’m not sure what to focus on. And then I’m going to think about which projects I’m going to really work on, which ones are going to challenge me and make me feel happy and satisfied. I always try to do the first work on those!

Retirement is something that we strive for all our lives, and when it happens, and unfortunately, we are unprepared for this new phase of life in general.

The first six months or so are great and then we realize we miss some of the structure and social commitment and achievement that our work has provided us with.

That is particularly acute for executive people. This is a major reason why more than 25 percent of those aged 65 and over chose to continue to work.

The best way to prepare for retirement mentally and emotionally is in.

Create a glimpse of what your retirement life will look like. What, be, have and experience do you want to do? Where do you wish to go to? Who are you going to be interacting with every day or weekly?

Make sure you have enough money to go into retirement. So many people choose an arbitrary age depending on when they can receive Social Security or a pension, or coincide with the retirement of their relative or partner.

Make sure you have a good understanding of how much you need to spend each year and how much income you can earn from your investments beyond and beyond Social Security.

Include any medical expenses that may be heavy once pensionable. Contrary to what some people think, Medicare isn’t free, and it actually has progressive Part B income-based premiums.

Furthermore, people forget to include the fiscal impact of withdrawing their income. If you’ve saved a million dollars in a 401 K or other tax-delayed retirement plans that’s far less because you’re going to have to pay some of it out in taxes.

Test drive retirement leading up to the big date or see if by working a shorter week a few years leading up to retirement you can phase into retirement.

Take 2 weeks off work and stay at home while you are testing a typical retirement week. This helps you see how unraveling a normal retirement day will be. It gives you a sense of whether your routine is lacking in structure or not, or what you are going to fight with.

Try testing new hobbies as you lead to retirement so that when you retire you have something that is meaningful and fun for you.

Set spousal goals. One of the biggest retirement changes is that spouses now need to settle into a new way of being, in that they are likely to spend more time together.

Discuss how much time is needed for you and me versus us, and make sure that your partner is comfortable with what you want to do or experience in retirement.

Most of all, consider some meaningful social events with others you’ll enjoy. Stay active, and look after your health. Studies show that interacting with people and staying active contribute to making sure you live longer.

Money is the least important part of retirement: I’ve created the perfect retirement method and money is the last consideration.

How would you live? How do you make a dream come true? There are directions and measures to do that, to help you get there.

You have more knowledge, useful skills, understanding and experience in this time of your life than you have ever had before! How would you like to use them to make you happy and to help others along the way? What is your prudence?

What do you want the rest of your life to do with? What is it that you love to do? What makes you so happy? What is your creativity? How is it that can help others?

Realize that most of your past life was motivated by issues outside of you: work, family, need for money, not enough time. Realize that your Second Act or your Life’s Third Chapter is driven internally, possibly for the first time in your life.

You have the most important chance before you shape your life you’ll ever have again. Go make it!

Oh, my life in retirement will give you opportunities never before. You’re now free of time clocks and alarm clocks, and on your time demands. You are free to explore who you are in the years ahead, and who you want to be.

You are free to discover new hobbies and adventures whether it’s taking a trip or sitting on a porch for your neighbors and listening to their adventures in life. Life has given us the gift of getting this far and the wisdom learned on our journey, volunteering anywhere your years of experience and expertise will help others.

Take up a new hobby, spend your time getting in the best shape and wellbeing possible. Get up every day ahead of what the day might hold. You now have the ability to live in the moment and make the most of each.

Take a walk in the woods, seek out nature in the trees and flowers, sit in a meadow and see all the beauty around and be thankful that you are one of the blessed to have come to the wonderful place of freedom.

Retirement will also have problems that you may not have experienced before, such as less money, health issues, and so on, but most of all retirement gives you the opportunity to become the best or the worst of yourself.