Retirement is a major life transition, but its stages are predictable. Sadly, most people don’t think it through all the way. Many retire simply because they hate their job or as soon as they have enough money. Before they retire, they work 40-60 hours per week, which is a lot of time to fill. The average retiree watches 43 hours of TV per week. Don’t let yourself fall into that rut. These 10 tips can help you have a meaningful retirement.
1. Start with why.
Simon Sinek said it best: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Great leaders inspire us to take action by understanding why we do what we do. This is difficult for most people because they must stop and look inward in order to figure out what is most important to them. What is your mission and vision? What are your goals? What is your chief aim in life? Your purpose and values help guide how you spend your time.
2. Know when.
Deciding when to retire is one of the most important decisions of your life. Consider these questions from our friends Keith Lawrence and Alan Spector, who teamed up to write Your Retirement Quest:
- Do you have enough money? Will you have enough to do?
- Have you had enough work? Is there more to accomplish?
- Is your spouse on board with this decision?
3. Be prepared.
Be prepared and understand the five stages of retirement, according to Your Retirement Quest:
- Anticipation (I hate my job and I can’t wait to leave.)
- Honeymoon (I love playing golf every day.)
- Disenchantment (I’m tired of playing golf every day. Isn’t there anything more to life?)
- Rejuvenation (I am inspired by…)
- Fulfillment (fun, personal growth, connectedness, giving back, etc.)
4. Health yields wealth.
This is obvious, but must be mentioned. We need to work out. We need to develop a new routine of exercise such as lifting weights and cardio as well as eating healthy by avoiding boxed and canned foods. Shop fresh and eat whole foods.
5. Diversify your income.
Pensions don’t exist like before. Replace that pension by adding multiple passive income streams.
6. Hire a CFP.
Hire a certified financial planner and develop a comprehensive, written financial plan (preferably holistic in nature). Understand what you have, what you need and where you stand relative to your goals. Match your resources with your lifestyle. Start with understanding your cash flow by tracking your income and expenses each month. Only one in three Americans do this.
7. Become tech savvy.
According to the MIT Age Lab, the new economy of connectivity will enable us to live fuller lives as we age. Tech will help us stay mobile, make it easier to earn income longer, help us maintain our social network and monitor our health from the comfort of our home.
8. Know your personality.
Understand your personality style as well as those closest to you. This can do wonders to help your relationships personally and professionally. Is your personality attractive? Do people want to be around you?
9. Never stop learning.
Read and continue life-long learning. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Or can you? You are not a dog! You can and should continue to learn as you travel through life.
10. Find your passion.
Meaningful work is more rewarding than leisure. Just as in our working career, where we need a work-life balance, retirement requires the same. Often people think retirement is strictly leisure, but these are the people who slip into disenchantment. More often than not it is the meaningful work that rallies us out of disenchantment and into rejuvenation, which leads to fulfillment.
All of your life you have either time and no money or money and no time, and now you have the gift of time and money, so you should use the gift wisely.