Retirees often have a bucket list of places they want to visit, experiences they want to try, and far-flung friends and family they want to spend time with. But while crossing off bucket list items can be some of the most meaningful moments of retirement, you're probably not going to spend most of your retirement touring Paris or hiking the Grand Canyon. What you do day in and day out for those other 40-45 weeks of the year will probably have a bigger impact on how you feel about your retirement and yourself.
Being intentional with your time can become a powerful habit that makes your daily life in retirement more meaningful. Try incorporating some of these retirement rituals into your new schedule and you might start to appreciate just how rich every day can be.
1. Wake up and get moving.
Retirement should take some of the rush out of your morning. Starting off your day with a long walk, jog, or bike ride is a great way to make your health a cornerstone of your retirement routine. If you lace up your running shoes first thing in the morning, you're much less likely to let everyday distractions get between you and a workout. Morning exercise can also boost your energy, improve your focus and alertness, and inspire more healthy choices throughout the day, from clocking extra steps to making better choices at mealtime. Some studies have also linked morning exercise to better sleep, meaning you'll be well-rested and ready to hit the ground running tomorrow.
2. Enjoy every meal.
No more hurrying to the office or running the kids to soccer practice should mean fewer microwaved leftovers and dashing through the drive-thru. Take time to plan, prepare, and enjoy your food. Upgrade your ingredients by shopping at local farmer's markets and health food stores. Dust off that pile of cookbooks and turn meals into culinary journeys that expand your palate as well as your skills in the kitchen. Plan some date nights with your spouse to try out new restaurants, or book a weekend stay in the nearest major city and mix fine dining with neighborhood hot spots. And in between those three square meals, carve out some time to treat yourself to a cup of coffee, a quiet corner, and a good book.
3. Pursue your passions.
Retirement can be a time to turn weekend hobbies into real skills and delve deeper into things that interest us. You might spend more time in your woodworking shed or turn a spare bedroom into an office where you can write your book or work on the business plan for the company you've always dreamed of starting. Scheduling regular volunteer shifts at a local school or nonprofit can replace some of the structure of your old work week while also helping you forge deeper connections to your community. Your alma mater or local community college might offer discounts for seniors who want to earn their Master's or start a whole new course of study. If some of the world's great golf courses are on your bucket list, start working with a coach so you'll hit more fairways and have more fun.
4. Prepare for your next adventure.
Planning ahead can be a retirement ritual that incorporates your bucket list into your daily routine. Once you've mapped out some big trips on your 2024 calendar, spend a few hours every day researching accommodations, must-see sites, and can’t-miss restaurants. Some bucket list items might inspire their own smaller bucket lists -- maybe you should consider a slow travel stay so you can see and do everything! Or, you could devote part of your day to planning for other long-term retirement goals, like moving to a new state or starting your own family charitable foundation as part of your legacy plan.
A little forethought doesn't just give you something to look forward to. You'll also gain the perspective, resources, and flexibility you'll need to enjoy the things you know you want to do and adjust to surprises, good and bad, that are a part of every retirement. Schedule a year-end meeting with my team at Keen Wealth, and let’s talk about how our comprehensive planning process can help you prepare to get more from retirement in 2024.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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