Whether you’re planning to retire in your late 60s or you’re aspiring to retire early, it’s important to remember that retirement is more than just financial planning and preparing to quit your job. You need to enjoy retirement. Far too many people actually hate it in the end because they weren’t prepared for the reality of retirement. It’s interesting how we all dream of quitting our jobs and living in luxury some day, but when retirement finally becomes a reality, a lot of people experience bouts of boredom.
Don’t let your golden years go to waste. Now is the best time to start planning what you’ll do during retirement, instead of focusing 100% on saving money. That’s not to suggest that financial planning isn’t important. But you should consider non-financial factors such as your health and happiness.
To avoid the retirement blues and truly enjoy your post-working years, here are four things you should do.
Four Ways to Enjoy Retirement
Physical Fitness and Mental Wellness
A 2016 study conducted by Harvard University found there was a strong link between happiness and exercise in adults aged 50 and older. The study further concluded that feelings of positivity and mental well-being worked in tandem with physical exercise. So, if you want to naturally feel happier during retirement, increasing the amount you exercise is a great strategy.
Physical fitness has also been associated with better bodily health, which can decrease your health care costs during retirement. Whether it’s simply walking the dog every day or hitting the gym, any amount of physical activity can help you enjoy retirement so much more. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week for optimal results.
You can also try flexibility exercises like yoga or daily meditation. This will keep your spine in good shape while enhancing your psychological well-being. You may not be able to remain as active in retirement, but it’s crucial that you don’t just give up on activity altogether during your golden years.
Social Support Network
Another key to happiness and health during retirement is your social support system. Seniors with more “social capital” are more likely to be happy, physically mobile, and concerned with taking care of themselves through regular medical appointments, good diets, and consistent exercise. Even if you don’t live near your extended family, you can develop new social connections during retirement by getting involved in your community.
You can join a local meet-up group for your favorite hobbies and activities. Or, get involved in church or a local nonprofit organization. Even if you generally prefer to be on your own or only with your spouse, there are so many positive health benefits that come from socializing with others.
One way that you can get out there an meet new people in retirement is to become an Airbnb host. Whether you want to fund your dream trip or meet interesting people from the comfort of your home, Airbnb might be a great choice for you!
Research has shown that altruistic emotions, know as “other-feeling,” are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity. One of the most altruistic things you can do during retirement is get involved in volunteering efforts. Whether you’re passionate about helping others less fortunate than yourself or want to protect local habitats through environmental and wildlife protection groups, there are countless opportunities for seniors to get involved in volunteerism.
If you love animals but don’t want to get a pet during retirement, then there are plenty of shelters and rescue groups that need people to work with animals. If you want to work with children, then you could volunteer with local nonprofit tutoring centers.
It all depends on what your interests are, what areas of your community you want to make a difference in, and what nonprofit organizations currently operate in your area.
People mistakenly believe that retirement consists of gardening and bingo for the rest of your life. But, there are so many more hobbies you could try out in spite of your age. (Just look at these skydiving seniors in their 80s!
Retirement is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to your life-long hobby. Or, you can pick up a brand new hobby to keep your body fit and mind active.
Psychological research suggests there’s a strong link between hobbies and happiness. That’s because having a hobby helps you structure your daily life more efficiently, promotes active leisure, helps you cope with stress, and allows you to form new social connections with others.
Obviously saving for retirement is one of the most important long-term financial goals you’ll have in life. But, it shouldn’t be your only focus. If you have enough money in your nest egg by the time you retire but you don’t do anything to improve your quality of life and happiness, then what was the point of saving all that money?
When it comes to retirement planning, there should be two central considerations. The first is how much money you’ll need. The second is what you’ll do during your retirement years to ensure all that work was worth it!
If you’re looking for places to start investing for retirement, you might want to check out investing with Betterment or Stash Invest. Both are great options for people looking for easy ways to get started investing.