Retirees have earned every minute of R&R that they want to enjoy. But your favorite lounge chair probably isn't going to fulfill you all by itself for the years, if not decades, of senior living you have in front of you. The happiest retirees we work with at Keen Wealth find that sweet spot between taking it easy and being proactive about how they use their time. Try using some combination of these five ideas to experience more from life in your own retirement.
1. Embrace Lifelong Learning
From online classes to taking a nice long walk to your local library, seniors have so many options to learn more about the world, gain new skills, and keep their minds stimulated. Attending workshops and conferences can expose you to a wide variety of people and ideas. Mentoring the next generation of professionals in your field could give you unique insights into what's coming next. You could even pursue new academic degrees or certifications that could help you start a “second act” in retirement. Your alma mater or the local community college might offer some generous discounts and perks for senior learners.
2. Cultivate Flexibility and Openness to Change
Transitioning away from full-time work is a major life change. But it's just one of many changes you'll have to deal with in retirement. Your daily schedule is going to change. Your relationships with your friends and family will change -- especially if you're married. Your interests might change. And, as you age, your physical capabilities will change as well.
While many of these changes will be challenging, they also provide room for growth and new experiences. Instead of focusing on what you're leaving behind when you stop working, try to be mindful of the exciting opportunity you have to build a new schedule from scratch. You can play more golf, visit your grandchildren more often, or spend more time in your crafting space. You and your spouse might go through a tough adjustment period as you get used to being around each other most of the day. But you'll also have a chance to reconnect and do more of the things you enjoyed doing before you were busy working and raising a family. Learn to embrace change and you’ll come to appreciate the range of possibilities in retirement.
3. Give Back
What do you have to give to society now that you're no longer working? A lot!
Whether you're helping at a local charity or tutoring children, volunteering can provide seniors with a sense of purpose, achievement, and connection. You can repurpose your lifetime of personal and professional skills to help those in need and contribute to causes that are important to you. You could also start your own consulting firm and offer your expertise to startups and entrepreneurs.
If giving is an important value to you and your family, consider starting your own charitable foundation or making a giving pledge. Incorporate these philanthropic goals into your legacy plan and you could create a model for doing good that will make a positive impact for generations to come.
4. Integrate Wellness into Daily Life
Seniors who have never exercised much might worry that if they start now, they're just going to hurt themselves. But you could do a lot more harm if you don't incorporate some physical activity into your retirement routine. Regular exercise can improve your mood, boost your heart health, and help prevent cognitive decline.
New Medicare enrollees should use their “Welcome to Medicare” benefit to establish their baseline health and talk to their doctor about appropriate exercise. Retirees who have kept up a regular fitness schedule might build more time for exercise into their new retirement routines. Also, you may consider mixing things up a bit. Taking a yoga class or joining a gym might give you a new perspective on your health goals and widen your social circle.
Diet is also an important part of a good wellness routine. Now that you're not rushing to and from work every day, spend a little less time in the drive-thru and a little more time in the kitchen. Expanding the variety of foods you eat -- especially a colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables -- will help your body get the nutrition it needs. You could also learn more and improve your skills as you work through that old pile of cookbooks or follow along online with your favorite celebrity chefs.
5. Feel Confident About Your Finances
A good financial plan is more than just your numbers – it’s a blueprint for safety and security that should help you feel more confident about how and why you’re spending your money. Having that confidence can break down so many of the mental barriers that keep seniors from living a full life in retirement. With the support of a comprehensive financial plan, springing for a few bucket list vacations won’t feel quite so nerve-wracking. You’ll also feel freer to follow retirement where it leads: to new experiences, new opportunities, new challenges, new people, and new adventures.
Make an appointment to visit Keen Wealth, and let’s start working on a plan that could help you get more from your money 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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