Last week on The Hub, we explored those tell-tale signs that might be telling you it’s time to retire. Of course, retirement being such a massive, life-changing event, there is more to consider than when the time is right. The type of retirement you want or are able to have is certainly a factor in the grand scheme, but in order to have a successful retirement, you need to think about how it will affect that bigger aspects of your life. Most people put their focus on the financial aspects of retirement, and for good reason. It’s safe to say your retirement savings should be your biggest concern in most cases, but far from the be-all-end-all of the matter. So what else should be considered before making any retirement decisions? Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind when starting to consider retirement.
As boomers age their health often becomes a much more significant consideration in their life, as it should. Boomers face a number of serious health risks and it is important that they are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter their career circumstances. And with such a dramatic lifestyle change as retirement being introduced, it’s important to understand how that shift can impact your own health. You might maintain a perfectly healthy routine while still in the workforce, but how will that change when work is removed from the routine? Will you stay as active as you did during the work week? Will you still have that drive to go for a morning walk or a lunch hour visit to the gym? You need to ensure you are still finding ways to get regular and beneficial exercise, as well as keeping up a healthy diet and avoiding those unhealthy habits. Retirement doesn’t need to be a time of inactivity, in fact it can be quite the opposite, but you need to keep your health in mind when making this transition and consider the impact it might have.
While perhaps not the most important factor in your retirement decision at first glance, your lifestyle post-work might very well be the most significant factor. After all, the reason most people choose to retire is so they can start embracing those other aspects of life more. You can begin to shape your lifestyle how you like (as much as some of these other factors allow), but then the question becomes what will that new lifestyle look like? One of the biggest issues boomers run into with retirement is filling the time. Boomers remain an incredibly active and adventurous demographic regardless of age, but with the absence of work, one really needs to develop a structure to their lives. Golf season can only get you so far.
Of course, one of the truly wonderful aspects of freeing yourself from work commitments is dedicating more time to those special relationships in your life. Certainly, many people look forward to retirement as an opportunity to become more involved with their family, perhaps at a time when grandkids are coming into the world. It can be incredibly fulfilling to be able to give so much time to those relationships, but there are other relationships to consider as well, mainly friendships. Some people find that once they leave work, they lose touch with friends they know through the professional world. While family is important, maintaining those other relationships is healthy. How will you keep meeting new people and interacting with others? There are certainly groups where retirees can meet and participate in activities together. You’re never too old to make new friends and it becomes an important part of your retirement years.
Finally, we come to a concept that is not easy to identify and yet remains a struggle for many in retirement, as well as in their career. Having a purpose can take a lot of different shapes, but in terms of living in retirement, it could be identified as having a reason to make this stage of your life as meaningful or more meaningful as what’s come before. I’ll say it again, there is no reason retirement has to be the quiet time in your life. It is a time when you can embrace those passions and interests you never had a chance to before. That might take the form of hobbies, volunteer work or continued involvement in the professional world. Retirement has changed so much over the years there is no longer a clear definition. It is what you want to make it and mold it into an opportunity to enter the most exciting phase of your life.