If you’re lucky enough to retire in your 60s the chance that you’ll live another 20, 30 or possibly even 40 years is a good one these days. Of course retirement has changed greatly in the last few decades and, rather than sitting on the back porch in a rocking chair, most retirees today are out looking for new adventures and relationships.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, you’d best know the 4 Rs of retirement so that you can have the adventures, and live the retirement life that you’re dreaming about, once you stop punching the time clock every day. Enjoy.
R #1: Reason. First, unless you’re content answering “I’m retired” every time someone asks you what you do, you’re going to need a good reason to get out of bed in the morning. If that reason is a part-time job doing something you’ve always dreamed about, volunteering at various organizations or simply indulging yourself in your favorite pastime, you’re all set. If you don’t have anything like that however, you need to find some good reasons and find them fast. Nothing drives a retired person crazy faster than having nothing to do, nothing to look forward to and, when someone asks, nothing better to reply then “I’m retired”.
R #2: Reset. Expounding on R #1, a lot of people retire and basically live the same life that they did when they were working full-time. For some that’s just fine but, unless you want to have absolutely nothing to show for your retirement, taking up a new hobby, joining with other retirees to do something fun or otherwise completely changing the status quo of your life is definitely necessary. The goal is to retire by design, not by default, and decide on something that you’d like to accomplish in retirement just as you did when you were working. If that’s learning how to paint, buying a sailboat and sailing around the Caribbean or homeschooling your grandchildren, hit that Reset button and go for it!
R #3: Relationships. As people get older inevitably their friends and family begin to pass away. As sad as this might be, if you’re still around you’d best get some new friends or keep your remaining family close because, let’s face it, living a life alone is really only good for hermits and misers. The fact is, experts on aging point out that the key to a long, happy life in retirement is to have a very active social life. Whether it’s with new friends or old, or close family members, doing things together as a social unit not only gives a sense of connection and security but also wards off negative behavior, depression and anxiety.
R #4: Resources. Okay, R #4 is definitely the biggest. The foundation of a happy, contented and successful retirement definitely lies in having the Resources necessary to do what you want to do, when you want to do it. Unfortunately, nearly 50% of unmarried people and 25% of married couples rely on Social Security for the vast majority of their income. For most that won’t be enough to even cover the basics, let alone have any adventures or fun.
That’s why, as soon as you can, you need to start putting money into retirement accounts and other retirement assets as much as possible. If you’re only a year or two from retirement it might be too late (sorry) but if you’re 10 years or more away, there’s still time to start socking away as much money as possible so that, when retirement finally comes, you’re ready with great Reasons, awesome Relationships, ideas for your Reset and the Resources to tackle them all.
And by the way, here’s a final suggestion; start doing that today.