Retirement should be the time of your life. No more early morning wake up calls, no more commuting and no more carefully allocating your holiday entitlement. Instead, you have the freedom to do whatever you choose. Yet retirement might not always work out as a time to forget your worries or be all it’s cracked up to be. Some people, if truth be told, dread retirement and feel they’re being put out to grass. They fear they’ll miss the companionship and structure that work provides. We look at four ways to help you live a happy retirement.
Adopt a proactive state of mind
You often hear accounts of people becoming unwell, or even dying, within months of ceasing work—a cruel twist of fate after they’ve laboured hard throughout their working lives, looking forward to their retirement. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), however, health and wellbeing do in fact increase in retirement whilst depression and anxiety often decrease. This is because retirees have more time to take on a healthy lifestyle and find new sources of fulfilment and exercise. The key seems to be to make a determined effort to stay sharp, be proactive and keep stretching your boundaries. It may sound surprising but workaholics often love retirement as much as they loved their work!
Don’t just be concerned about the financial side of things
That may sound a strange thing to read in a financial blog, but the money side of things is more wide-ranging than just your pension. So take time to think about what your ideal lifestyle would look like. Think about some proper financial planning. What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Are your current investments on track to help you achieve them? The money is just an ends to assist you to live a happy retirement and discover a new purpose.
Think of it more as ‘change’ not ‘old age’
Retirement is inevitability associated with old age in people’s minds. The very word conjures up images of people sitting around in retirement homes in their slippers, watching daytime television. But this is distant from the truth. Old age, these days, covers a vast span of years, from 65 to 100. There are many lively retirees living life to the full. And if you think how much the average person’s life changes between 25 and 60, just think how many opportunities could lie ahead in the same timeframe. Going from work to retirement is a big transition—yet people deal with many other huge changes during the course of their lives; moving house, having a baby, changing jobs, going through a divorce. The key is to use your strength from earlier times of change to help as you move into retirement. Don’t see it as moving into old age, see it more as a time of embracing life’s possibilities.
Be clear in your mind what you really want to do
In today’s world, where such worth is placed on career status, retirement can be seen as an end rather than a new start. But you don’t have to be in paid employment to be content and fulfilled. You may, in fact, find you achieve far more satisfaction in life after work. Why not do something you’ve always wanted to but never had time to? Travel the world, take up a sport, sign up for some volunteering, learn to play a musical instrument, enrol on a course, get involved in a conservation project…This is your time to do as you please! Remember, you don’t have to be busy all the time—sit back, relax and reflect on your true values.
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