Have you been dreaming about lazy weekday mornings, waking up late and slowly sipping your coffee as you read the newspaper? Maybe your retirement plan consists of traveling with a spouse or friend. Will you explore every American ballpark or travel to countries you can barely pronounce? After spending 40 years (or more) employed, you may be counting down the minutes until you’ll finally get to be a free spirit, but what will you do with all the extra time?
If there are just a few years left until you retire, now’s the time to make a game plan. You’ve been anticipating retirement for years, so don’t waste a second of it daydreaming about what to do.
Yes, we said save. The final few years of your career are an ideal time to invest some last-minute dollars into your dream.
Think back on what you’ve been dreaming about all these years during the tough moments at work. It’s all about to come true, but only if you take the initiative to make it happen. The first step is taking a look at your finances. Similarly, create a “budget” of how you plan on spending in the years to come.
Your retirement plan likely includes a little adventure. There are cities to explore, hikes to take and maybe even salsa lessons. To have the best experience, you’ll need to look after your health and wellness.
Make time daily for physical activity, whether you’re simply stretching or challenging yourself with something new, such as rock climbing or kayaking. One way to help ensure you’re in tip-top shape for retirement is to get started now! Start small by parking farther away from the building every morning or joining a walking group in your community. The healthier you are now, the better you’ll feel as you age.
Find a Passion
Take time now to explore different hobbies so when you’re no longer working, your passion can fill your days. Are you a small-time collector? When you retire you’ll have time to travel to trade shows. Do you love to garden? Join a gardening club or take classes from a horticulturalist. If you’ve never had the time for hobbies before, make a list of all your interests so you’ll have the opportunity to try them later — or push yourself harder by putting in some library research time.
Work and Volunteer
Many people continue to work after retiring from their full-time jobs. Will you be one of them? Getting a part-time job will keep you busy, and you can choose what you’ll do and how often you’d like to work. If you don’t want to commit to employment, volunteering is another great activity. If you’re already active in your community, finding a way to stay busy later will be easier. If not, you could start small now by offering to be your grandchild’s T-ball coach or joining a community group that picks up trash in neighborhood parks.
Vacationing usually ranks as a high priority for most new retirees. Where do you want to go? Are you looking to visit other countries? Study up on customs and languages now so you’re prepared when the time comes to board a plane or boat. Maybe your idea of travel is staying stateside. There’s so much to explore by train, automobile or even bicycle. Create a road map of activities now so you’ll always have options later.
Once you retire, you’ll be too busy enjoying yourself to do any serious planning, so now is the time to look at your finances, learn to love fitness, look at jobs and classes, and prepare yourself for travel.