We all dream of retiring and taking it easy in the autumn of our lives. Harvesting the fruits of your labor, when long-term investments come to fruition to provide you with an ongoing income into old age.
But while planning for retirement may have taken up a lot of effort, what do you do with all that time now that you’re no longer working?
We’ve got 7 tips to help you make the most of your retirement.
1. Make Sure You Stay Financially Secure
A key priority is to ensure that you have sufficient income to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. While the temptation to rest on your laurels can be overwhelming, you should keep working with your financial advisor and tax accountant, reviewing and updating your investment planning on a regular basis.
Where it makes sense, you can also use your property asset to generate extra retirement funding, even without having to move out of the family home. Equity Release plans – either as Lifetime Mortgages or as Home Reversion schemes – are a useful tool to help you release some capital tied in your home.
2. Review Your Budgets and Spending Habits
In addition to your overall financial health, it’s also a good idea to take a look at how much you’re spending on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. That way, you can identify your cash flow needs and tailor your funds accordingly.
By drawing up a budget for your expected retirement income on the one hand, and spending habits, on the other hand, you will give yourself the best possible chance to stay in control of the money side of things. And should you detect a shortfall, it will give you the necessary impetus to look for ways to either increase your income or cut your spending.
From smarter shopping choices to energy saving tips in the home, cutting down on transport and travel costs, there are many ways to help your money go further. Here’s a handy budget planner to help you get started.
3. Give Structure to Your Days
Many retirees struggle to adjust to the sudden change from busy working weeks to having no commitments whatsoever. No early morning alarm clocks, no rush hour traffic or rail timetables, no meetings or deadlines.
It may seem blissful at first, but you’ll soon find yourself twiddling your thumbs looking for something to do.
The best advice is to create a new structure and routine for your retired life. Whether you use a simple diary, spreadsheet or project management software, you can soon think of new tasks to fill your time.
From DIY and gardening projects to new found hobbies, charity work or even starting up a new business venture, it is entirely up to you how you wish to shape your new life.
4. Set New Goals and Objectives
It easy to consign yourself to the fact that your best days must be over, now that you’re retiring. But who says they are?
Don’t allow others’ preconceived ideas of what old age must be like and what can or cannot be achieved influence you. Write your own story! It’s important for your own mental and physical wellbeing that you keep moving forward.
Did you know that being inquisitive and learning new things keeps you young? Set yourself some goals and keep working towards them. Whether you’ve always wanted to play the piano, run a marathon or travel the world, there’s no time like the present.
Start with small, achievable objectives, then work up to 1-year plans and 5-year plans and watch your sense of purpose, self-confidence, and appreciation of the world around you soar.
5. Focus on Your Relationships
After many years of having defined roles and responsibilities in a relationship, retirement can throw routines up in the air, often with disharmonious consequences. But why not take the opportunity to renew your commitment to your other half and renegotiate your relationship?
Now that you’re under less time pressure, take that dream holiday together and focus on communicating with each other. How about starting a new hobby that you can enjoy together, as well as having time to pursue each other’s interests?
If you have grandchildren, this can be a great opportunity to strengthen the family bond between all of you.
6. Think About Getting a Dog
No word of a joke – according to a recent study carried out in Sweden, dog ownership brings with it a lower risk of heart disease and premature death along with a long list of other health improvements. It’ll be hard to find a more compelling reason for getting a canine companion!
What’s more, twice daily walkies and regular long country hikes at the weekend are a great way to keep in shape, whether you have two or four legs, and especially if you’re enjoying the companionship of your best friend. It’s also an excellent way to meet new people and make new friends.
7. Pay Attention to Your Social Life
No-one wants to be lonely in their old age but, sadly, there are 3.6 million older people in the UK who live on their own.
Of course, loneliness is entirely different from solitude. The first is a negative state marked by a sense of isolation. The second is a positive choice characterized by contentment.
Social isolation is associated with stress, depression and mental health issues as well as physical and cognitive decline.
Unless you maintain strong relationships with your family and friends or put effort into engaging in social activities and making new contacts, you could be at risk. Think about joining a club or taking classes, volunteering for charity work to enhance your social life.