When it comes to your retirement, what areyoumost excited about?
Which activity or pastime?
While some people have no problem filling all the extra hours that have been returned to them once they retire, others find it intimidating.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Remember, you haven’t had this much free time since you were a kid (and maybe not even then).
Going from 50-hour work weeks—and all the things it takes to support your work/life/family balance—is not as simple (I hear this from retirees all the time) as just buying a new RV.
Plan now for your new life by developing passions and pastimes.
Here are 4 ideas for building yourself a well-rounded,personalized and engaging post-career life.
1) Hire a Coach.
Have an idea or concept to put into action for retirement?
It can be serious or silly. Intense or laid back.
In pursuit of their passions or hobbies, I know a lot of people who’ve hired a coach. (And not just for business or health purposes, but to help them achieve all sorts of irreverent personal goals.)
A coach can take what you want to achieve, and then help you plan a course of action that enables you to reach your goals.
2) Think like a kid.
When you were a kid, you dreamed of being a ship’s captain, a marbles champion, or maybe you wanted to invent a new type of flower.
Adult responsibilities and time and money constraints.
The beauty of thinking like a kid is its lack of limitation.
Consider this: Once you retire, you can reinvent yourself.
Why shouldn’t you:
- Take up the ukulele or harmonica?
- Go to school and learn to repair bicycles?
- Write a blog entirely devoted to hammocks?
- Become a champion builder of sand castles?
Great imaginations need encouragement and freedom to grow. Nurture them and become the adult your inner-child always dreamed you’d be.
3) Take college courses through The Bernard Osher Foundation.
The “mature student” focus of The Bernard Osher Foundation makes its mission one of my favorites.
Largely because of Bernard Osher, over 350 colleges and universities now offer free (or drastically discounted) college courses, lectures and degree programs to adults over the age of 50.
And lest you think that Osher was just throwing family money into a non-profit to win humanitarian awards, he began his career in the plumbing supply business.
It works like this: As an incentive to create opportunities for mature adults to continue (or start) their educations, Osher’s foundation stipulates that if a university registers 500 post-50-year old members in a program, they get a $1 million grant.
And when they add another 500 students over the age of 50? The foundation gives them another $1 million.
So far, Osher’s donated almost $1 billion dollars to achieve this end.(He has no heirs and has vowed to leave his entire fortune to educational charities.)
Peruse the class schedule from your local university, find a field of study that fascinates you, and then go back to school and stump your professors by asking fantastic questions.
4) If you choose to work, USE it by refusing to let it use you.
This is important.
I have known dozens of people who retire, travel and live it up for a little while, and then, out of boredom, go back to work and … become miserable.
They go back to work, and right away their new job wants to make them a manager.
And because they’ve had successful careers, and because people love to be needed, they end up saddled with a ton of responsibility and it’s like they never retired.
IF you don’t need the money, then I encourage you to work at something you love.
- Work at the home garden store
- Work at the art supply store
- Work as a party planner at the gift card store
I’ve had clients who were big shots during their careers take entry-level, part-time jobs because it’s an ideal way to meet people and get out of the house.
One of my clients met her husband this way.
Still, other happy retirees report that volunteerism is the way to go.
Who am I to disagree?
Remember, mental stimulation is essential if you want to keep your brain healthy.
But draw a line on your commitments.
Stress is so yesterday.
If you’ve saved well, try to remember that work exists for you (and not the other way around).
You certainly don’t have to climb mountains.
In fact, you don’t have to get off the sofa.
Just remember, once you retire, you’re going to have a lot of hours to fill. And I’ve seen too many great people fill them up by starting Happy Hour earlier and earlier each day.
Great retirement experiences take more than just financial planning.
A little preparation for how you’ll spend your time when you retire will help you make this major adjustment with greater ease, and, I believe, live a happier and healthier life as a result.