Retirement means different things to different people. Some people will retire with the mindset that this is the beginning of the end. This is the time for them to enjoy a life of leisure, peace and rest. Some retirees are perfectly content with this traditional retirement style and don’t think any differently about it.
For some of these retirees, they’ll become bored with their life and withdraw from it. What happens is that they fail to maintain personal relationships and social interaction. They don’t do anything that stimulates their mind and body. They don’t do anything that personally fulfils them.
If you want something more from your retirement, there are some serious mistakes you need to avoid making. Retirees that made these mistakes find that they’re not as happy as they thought they would be after they stopped working. In fact, they may spend their days finding ways to rectify the mistakes.
If you don’t want to become one of those retirees, you need to boost your chances for happiness during retirement. This means avoiding the four commonly made mistakes – lack of financial planning, no retirement life plan, failure to look at your health and not willing to change.
Lack of Adequate Financial Planning
I am no financial adviser, and it’s imperative to talk to one if you’re unsure of your retirement finances. If you fail to have a financial plan laid out before retirement, you’re going to have financial problems during it.
What many current baby boomers are noticing is that their financial plans were not adequate enough to cover their living expenses. Some have opted to go back to work – full-time, part-time or consultant – to help themselves out financially. Many early retirees have become entrepreneurs, starting their own company. Some retirees have delayed their retirement because they like to work and want to boost their pension pot a bit more.
You need to feel confident that your retirement plan is healthy and will ensure you don’t have to work unless you want to. You don’t want to worry that you’ll run out of money. If you have no confidence in your plan, then you need to get some financial advice.
Lack Of A Retirement Life Plan
Most people retire without a life plan. In fact, they’re more focused on the financial aspect that they forget the life one. Perhaps that’s because previous planning revolved only around the financial aspect. But, it’s important to remember that your life plan is just as important as your financial plan.
You could live another 20 to 30 years after your retirement, which is a significant amount of time. What will you do be doing during that time? Sure, you made long-term plans when you were younger to help with personal development, career and family, but you failed to address your “golden” years.
Why would you not consider making any life plans for your retirement? Beyond the two-week luxury cruise people tend to plan for, it is in my experience that very few people do any major planning for their retirement after that.
What are you going to be doing the rest of the time?
You need to consider the short, medium and long-term life plans of retirement life. Retirement is the time that you can rediscover yourself and learn how good you can be at something. Consider the answers to the following questions, so you know where your attention needs to go for retirement life.
- What do I really want out of my retirement?
- Do I have any unfulfilled dreams I can accomplish?
- What will I do with my time for the next 20 to 30 years?
- What will I do that will keep me physically, socially and mentally active?
Failure To Look After Yourself
You may have a built up a decent nest egg and have a great retirement portfolio, but did you keep your health in mind too? If you don’t have your health in retirement, what good is that money going to be for you?
One of the most important aspects of a successful and rewarding retirement is to be physically and mentally healthy.
According to a study for Merrill Lynch titled, “Health and Retirement: Planning for the Great Unknown,” 81 percent of retirees surveyed said good health was the most important of a happy retirement. 51 percent said financial security was important.
You know your body changes over time. Genetics and lifestyle play an integral role in how we age. While I am no doctor, I do know that, in order to be happy in retirement, we must live a healthy lifestyle and incorporate healthy habits. This will provide us with the best chance for a long, happy and successful retirement.
What can you do to live a healthy life?
- Avoid using tobacco
- Drink occasionally
- Avoid stress and have coping strategies in place to deal with stress
- Eat healthily
- Get plenty of sleep and relax
- Have a healthy weight
- Get plenty of exercise
The quality of your life in retirement will be impacted somehow, someway by your physical health. Your health in retirement is just as important as it was when you were working. After all, you only have one life to live.
Unwilling To Change
Retirement is likely to bring changes you want, don’t want and didn’t expect. How well you adapt to the changes defines your retirement. There are going to be some lifestyle changes you’re not accustomed to. For a long time, you had a purpose and structure in your life – now you must create your own purpose and structure.
You must be willing to accept the changes that come with retirement if you are to transition fully into retirement.
Retirement means leaving behind a daily routine, authority position or the office desk. People have a naturally strong inclination to identify with their work, often introducing themselves by their jobs. However, if you don’t move on from this identity, people will get tired of hearing about it. After all, they want to know about you now, not what you did 10, 15 or 30 years ago.
If you’re too attached to your former career, you’re not allowing yourself to move on with life.
There’s much more to work than the financial rewards we get – such rewards like
- Sense of belonging
When we retire, we lose this a bit. And, you must find other ways to replace this to mentally and emotionally satisfy you.
If we can address these areas of what will we replace our work and its benefits, we can embrace our retirement years with enthusiasm and strength. If we fail to accept the changes that come with retirement, you could lead a boring, uninspiring life for years to come.
In retirement, you must be open to the changes – perhaps even more than your working years. Flexibility encourages you to look honestly at the changes that occur in retirement and can help you to accept those changes.
If you want your retirement life to be something more meaningful, you must avoid making the above four mistakes. Don’t just plan for your financial life; plan for it all. Remember, you are more than your job, and you are more than just another person on this planet. You are somebody and should take advantage of everything life has to offer you during your golden years. And, if it’s not offered and you want it, go for it anyway!