If you ‘google’ on the internet for ‘retirement planning’ the chances are that a lot of the articles will all be related to financial planning. Whilst planning your finances for when you retire is of crucial importance and something that we’ll all have to do at some time or other, how many of us will actually sit down and plan how we are going to spend our leisure time in retirement which, after all, is what much of the financial aspects of retirement planning is designed to achieve. When we are working, some people are better than others in terms of allotting time to their hobbies whilst others are simply too busy working and earning money to pay the bills to have time for hobbies but if you fall into the latter category, you can rest assured that, once you retire, you’re not going to have much to do in order to fill your days so the sooner you start thinking about how you’re going to fill your retirement days the better.
The kinds of activities you’ll want to pursue when you retire will vary tremendously from person to person but to devise some kind of plan to informally structure your days in retirement will benefit you greatly and will make your retirement far more enjoyable. In considering ‘structure’ and ‘plans’, this doesn’t mean that things have to be rigid or set in stone. After all, you’ve probably had enough of being told what to do, where, when and how to do it when you were working. However, a loose kind of framework incorporating several aspects of leisure time will help to keep you motivated far beyond the time you spent at work. Here are a few overall considerations into which you could slot things in that are applicable to you.
Your health is going to be more at risk the older you get and no matter how well you feel, taking regular exercise is going to be your best ally in helping you stay healthy well into your retirement years. Whether the exercise is strenuous, gentle or somewhere in between, try to build in at least half an hour’s physical workout of some description 3 or 4 days a week.
Hobbies with Others
Make sure that you make time to enjoy a hobby or pastime in the company of others. You may already be doing this but, if not, think about the kinds of activities you enjoy and find out if there are any clubs or societies nearby where you can pursue them. This way, not only will you enjoy the activity itself but you’ll be sharing the time spent doing it with like-minded people, many of whom will become friends. This is important as you’ll no doubt have spent your working life in the company of others and, apart from maybe a few close work colleagues who have gone on to become friends, you’ll lose this network once you retire, to a lesser or greater extent, so it’s important that you replace this form of social interaction with another form such as a club or society so that you don’t become somewhat isolated in your retirement.
Hobbies by Yourself
You should also think about leisure time where you can be by yourself as it’s also beneficial to your health and mental well being to allow yourself time to reflect and contemplate things on your own. This could be as simple as reading or a more ambitious project such as landscaping your garden. Whatever it is that stimulates you, find something you can regularly do on your own.
You should also find time to arrange regular get-togethers to go to out dinner or to the cinema, pub or theatre etc., with your family and close friends. Maintaining long standing relationships when you retire is very important.
Learning New Skills
Just because you’ve stopped working doesn’t mean that you have to stop learning new skills or obtaining more knowledge. Whether it’s a day/evening course at college or teaching yourself how to play the piano, learning something new now that you have more time on your hands is very rewarding and can help boost your self-esteem.
In offering your assistance to a voluntary organisation, it will help you stay somewhat connected to a kind of working environment and to meet new people as well as increasing your own sense of self-worth as you help others less fortunate than yourself.
Once you’ve got the ‘hang’ of retirement and how to fill your days, it’s still useful to have a change of scene sometimes so you should mix the odd day out, weekend away and, of course, a holiday or two into your schedule now and again if your finances permit it.
You may want to spend more time with your grandchildren and there’ll also be more time to do more fun things with your spouse or partner. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important that you keep yourself physically active and mentally stimulated, keeping in regular contact with existing friends and making new ones via the activities you pursue. At the same time, you should also make some space just for yourself to relax and contemplate life. With a little thought and planning, retirement can open up a whole new and exciting world for you which is how it is meant to be.