You’ve made the big decision to retire. Congratulations! For this blog post, I’m going to take off my Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) hat and assume you’re set financially.
The financial decisions are important, but the decisions around what kind of lifestyle you want to have in retirement are equally important. You can make this next stage of your life whatever you want it to be.
Have you thought about what you’re going to do with your time? What activities or pastimes will keep you energized once the novelty of not going to work every day wears off? Will you travel, volunteer, or start those hobbies you never had time for? (If you’re not sure how to keep yourself busy, check out our Living in retirement quiz.)
Set your schedule
No matter what you decide to do, it’s important to think about how you’ll manage your time. Do you like having a schedule to keep yourself on track? Maybe you prefer no commitments, so your time is entirely your own. Or, maybe you’d like a mix: no routine 3 days a week and a set schedule for 2 days. Just be honest with yourself about how you work best, and set your schedule accordingly.
More tips for retirees
Now you have time to do the things you couldn’t always do when you were working full-time. Here are a few traditional—and not-so-traditional—ideas and tips to consider as you get ready to retire.
- Consider volunteering. There are so many organizations that need your skills and energy! Check with your local libraries, animal shelters, religious institutions, schools, hospitals, and community boards, just to name a few.
- Run errands during “off-peak” hours. Now you don’t have to go to the grocery store or pharmacy at lunchtime or on weekends. Embrace the opportunity to get your errands done while most others are working. Your life will be more relaxed and less stressful.
- See your doctor for a full checkup. It’s important to get a baseline on your health as you enter retirement. While you’re there, talk to your doctor about possible lifestyle changes to help improve your health, so you can enjoy your retirement to the fullest. Now you have time to take a walk each day, join a gym, set up a home gym, or start doing yoga. But most importantly, be consistent in your new exercise program. And you can exercise at off-peak times too, when fitness centers are less crowded.
- Think about where you’ll live. Do you plan to stay in your current home? Maybe there are a few projects you want to start so you can more fully enjoy your home. Also, take a look around your house. Have you accumulated more “stuff” than you’ll ever need? If so, consider cleaning out. The KonMari Method of tidying, popularized by Marie Kondo, is sweeping the nation. Her idea is to only keep the items that bring you joy. If you have family heirlooms you want to pass on, you could give them now so you can see your family enjoying those objects.
- Take a financial inventory. OK, I have to talk about one financial aspect of retirement: What do you want to do with your assets while you’re alive, and after you die? Do you want to spend your hard-earned savings on yourself? Would you like to help your family and others? Remember, a gift you can give your family now is having a well-laid-out plan.
- If you haven’t already, set up an appointment with an estate attorney to complete all your important documents, such as a will, power of attorney, living will, and health care power of attorney. Also, check the beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies, and make sure the ownership of your accounts is appropriate. Finally, create a folder to keep all your important documents and information to make it easy for your family to find them when necessary. We have a personal financial inventory document you can download to help keep track of your investments and valuable belongings.
For more things to consider as you plan for retirement, check out our retirement planning checklist.
And if thinking about everything you need to prepare for in retirement is overwhelming, we can help. Partner with a Vanguard advisor to get help with your real-life investing needs.
Go. Live your dream.
This time of your life should be fulfilling and, most importantly, whatever you want it to be. I’m wishing you a happy and healthy retirement, no matter how you spend the time!