Retiring from work is a significant milestone in your life. If you loved your job, you may miss the sense of identity, purpose and fulfilment it provided. Even if you didn’t particularly enjoy work, it still filled up a lot of time in your week – it may be many years since you’ve had the freedom to choose how you spend your days.
Retirement can be a time of satisfaction as you celebrate your professional success, or looking forward as you welcome grandchildren, of fulfilling personal dreams like travelling, and of adapting to a different level of income and a changed pace of life.
Adjusting to a new stage of life takes time, so don’t expect to have it all figured out at once. But there are some common retirement challenges you can avoid with a bit of thought.
Here are 6 retirement tips to help you get the most out of your new life:
- Plan Ahead
As you get closer to retirement, start to plan for a successful transition. Think about your money, your time, marking the milestone, and a new routine.
Meet with a financial advisor to check your retirement income. You might even try living on (or near) your retirement budget so you can gradually get used to a lower level of income.
Rather than coming to a sudden stop, you could consider a phased retirement where you move into part-time work as a prelude to retirement. This is a good opportunity to think about how you’ll spend your days after retirement – many people find it helps to have a flexible routine rather than no plan at all.
When the last day of your working life does arrive, mark the occasion. We celebrate other milestones like birthdays and weddings. This rite of passage is just as important as you enter retirement. If you love a party, then throw one! If you’re the quiet type then do something special with a few close friends.
- Stay Connected
While some of your work colleagues no doubt drove you crazy, work may also have provided many good relationships or connections with people. It’s surprisingly easy to become isolated in retirement so make the effort to continue existing friendships.
Making new connections is important too. Perhaps it’s time to join a new club or volunteer in your community. As well as the value of the activity itself, you’ll also be forming new relationships for a new phase of life.
- Stay Active
Keep your mind active and agile by learning a new language, taking music lessons, or doing the crossword regularly. This helps prevent cognitive decline and can reduce the risk of dementia.
Keep your body moving too. You may have more time to exercise now you’re not stuck at a computer all day or you may find yourself moving less if you were in an active job.
Plan some exercise into your day. This helps set a routine, boosts your mental health, and gets you out of the house. It helps you maintain a healthy weight and to prevent or manage many chronic diseases that are more common as you age.
- Stay Healthy
Now that you have time, see your GP for a check up. Depending on your needs, your GP might check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, or moles. You may also benefit from getting your eyes checked and your hearing tested.
Being proactive about your health makes it more likely that any problems can be identified early when they may be easier to treat.
- Get Support
Now that you’re home more often, you might notice how much there is to do – and how tiring that is. If you find the house a bit too much to handle, then do consider getting some in-home care to help with household tasks and maintenance. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for funding through My Aged Care.
- Say ‘Yes!’
You’ve retired from work; not from life. After years of meeting other people’s demands, this is now your time. If there are things you’ve always wanted to do, then now is the time to do them – what are you waiting for? Say ‘yes’ to new experiences, new restaurants, new clubs, new hobbies, new friendships and a whole new life.