Developing a meaningful retirement doesn’t just happen. In fact, many people actually become a “failed retiree.” That is someone who is depressed with long days ahead and no fun or meaningful activities that they partake in. By following these five action steps, you can avoid becoming a failed, miserable retiree.
1. Develop your life plan. Waiting until you are finished with your job is not the time to start your planning. It’s a smoother transition if you begin about a year in advance and think through key questions such as: where will I live? Who will I do things with? What activities do I want to do? What about traveling? What would I like to learn how to do? Keep the plan flexible.
2. Explore a hobby. You don’t need to start a business but you sure can expand your favorite hobby. Gardening is most popular along with doing other things like photography, bike riding, swimming and reading. Men and women alike often flock to the local library for their book club events. Retirement gives you the freedom to explore your hobby and find other people who participate in that too. A great way to find community groups who might share your passion, say for hiking, is to search Meetup.
3. Learn something new. Baby boomers are interested in keeping their minds sharp and learning new things. Whether it is taking up a new sport like yoga or learning a foreign language, you don’t need to look farther than your local community center, library, state colleges or continuing education departments. Many colleges offer seniors steep discounts (a lot of college courses are free as you just audit the class and don’t take any tests). There are many online courses and free tutorials on YouTube to help you learn something new too.
4. Give back. What social problem matters to you? Do you care about children, homelessness, or pollution? The world has many problems that you can volunteer to help out on. Start at your community level. Someone who cares about homelessness might work with a church that clothes the homeless or serves meals. Another person who cares about children might volunteer at a hospital or foundation that helps support children’s causes like cancer or autism. By volunteering 5 to 10 hours a month, you can make a difference in your local community and help out neighbors in need.
5. Do your bucket list. You need to really consider what is realistic and should be on your bucket list now as you head into retirement. These activities need to be ones you have the ability and resources to do. Say goodbye to being a pro baseball player or prima ballerina. You might want to attend these types of events but you are now too old to actual achieve these goals. Think about what really matters. What are the things you’ll truly regret not doing? These ideas belong on your bucket list. And there is one more step in this process: Write a date after the activity so you’ll have a hard deadline by which you will have to complete it. This isn’t a fantasy list, this is your to-do list, so make sure you have things that are important to you and start doing them immediately.
Happy, meaningful retirements don’t just happen. You need to develop and implement a plan that allows you to enjoy life to its fullest.
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This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.
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