Retirement – what now?
After 30-45 years of earning a living, the promise of your relaxed and idyllic retirement appears on the horizon.
With assets and savings accumulated, you are now free to choose how to spend your time – how to create your happy retirement. Many people take their tax-free cash sum and head for the sun. Beware of the “summer-holiday phenomenon” though – remember how bored kids get towards the end of six/seven weeks of holidays.
Within a year of leaving full-time employment, if you have not found new routines, activities and people, you run the risk of being bored or, at worst, slipping into depression. Despite the fact that there’s a general tendency to moan about the workplace, our daily work ticks a lot of boxes for many of us. To make your retirement more exciting, replicate these 7 things from the workplace and implement them during your retirement phase.
7 advantages from work to replicate for a happy retirement
1. Social interaction with colleagues
Humans are social creatures and the workplace is usually the most social place we know. A recent survey found that over half of retirees in the UK (54%) missed the social aspect of work, while 62% of retired women and 44% of men admitted they missed the daily banter they had shared with colleagues. One in five retirees said they felt completely redundant. Loneliness, boredom, and the feeling of ageing quickly were all cited as reasons why retirement wasn’t as enjoyable as they had imagined.
Try to sign up to a Senior Club or join a society in your local area that organises meetings for people on retirement.
People tend to define themselves by their occupation, e.g. I’m John, the Senior Sales Manager for XYZ. Take John’s job title away and who is he now? This can be a huge issue. As a result, sometimes people hold onto their job title into retirement.
How many retirees do you know who describe themselves as ‘former’ something? Job titles give structure and meaning to people’s place in society, so it’s hardly a surprise that some people feel a loss of self-worth when they give up work. This can be particularly the case for men in more senior positions as they tend to have few interests outside of the workplace.
Work can be stressful at times, but a certain amount of stress is stimulating. There’s an enjoyment in rising to a challenge and the eventual satisfaction of a job well done. In a happy retirement, it’s important to find other activities that stretch our minds and bodies to make sure they keep functioning. “Use it or lose it!”.
In retirement, more than a third of retiree survey respondents said they felt that every day the same as the last. Work provides a daily structure, usually for five out of seven days a week, and then there’s the freedom of the weekend to enjoy. After work ends, retirees may find that days just blend together, with no discernable structure to their days, weeks and months, unless they take steps to ensure they create new routines for their lives.
Try to find some activities or create habits that you can repeat regularly. For example, go for bingo nights on Thursdays or meet join a sewing club on Mondays.
Couples who have been happily married for years can find the increased time together after retirement is a strain on relationships. The status quo has changed and this can affect relationships adversely unless the issue is addressed to everyone’s satisfaction. Recent research found that four in ten couples find it impossible to live with each other during retirement as they’re not used to spending so much time together. Many couples argue more as a result; in fact, 11% say they disagree about how they will spend their day.
Work fills our days, gives us tasks to focus on and goals to achieve. Almost a fifth (19%) of retirees thought daytime television was ‘awful’; a quarter (24%) said the great British weather stopped them getting out and about as much as they would have liked; and about one in seven (14%) were taken for granted a little by family, as they were expected look after children and grandchildren.
Set yourself some goals, something that you can focus on. Is there something that you always wanted to achieve? Do you feel like you want to try new things? The key to happy retirement is finding something that you can focus your energy and time on.
Most incomes reduce in retirement as people move from a wage or salary to receiving retirement income. Often people realise too late that they should have saved more towards their post-retirement income. A survey found that almost a third of retirees (31%) struggled to cope without their monthly salary. This is why retirement planning is so important. Increasingly people are considering working part-time, or setting up their own business doing something they love.
You are in control of your happy retirement
At retirement, you have the wisdom of your years of experience. Do not under-play your own value.
Only you can ensure that you enjoy the retirement of your dreams. It can be a wonderful opportunity to start a fresh, new phase of your life. It is within your power to make it happen.
Holistic pre-retirement planning will ensure that you are prepared financially, psychologically and physiologically for the changes that retirement brings. It’s never too early to start thinking about your life-plan. In fact, the earlier you start, the more likely it is that your dreams will come true.
It’s your life. Your story. You decide how it ends.
Are you prepared for your retirement? Maybe you're already retired and have some tips to share for a happy retirement? Let me know in the comments!
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