I love the entire weekend, but my favorite day of the week is Saturday. It always has been that way for me. Sunday is ok, but Sunday is not as good as Saturday. What makes Saturday exciting for me is that I am off from work, but I am also off the following day. Monday is still two days away. That will change after I reach retirement.
When I think about retirement, I see it as a never-ending Saturday. Retirement is the stage of life when you finally get to live life on your own terms. There is no longer a boss who you must satisfy. There are no more clients who you need to please. You are probably thinking “sign me up”.
I see retirement as a white-board. Before you reach retirement, it is a good idea to have some plans written down as to how you are planning on spending your time after you no longer have to head off to work to earn a living. The nice thing about retirement being a white-board is that the markers that you use to write your plan can easily be erased and the plans can be changed.
Retirement is not a short-term endeavor. If a person retires at the traditional age of 65, it can easily last 25 years or more. For early-retirees, it can be more than 40 years. In both cases, there are many factors to consider.
Spending will be different in retirement. Some financial writers say that retirement spending is much less than when a person is working. Sure, there is no longer the expenses for the daily commute, buying and maintaining work clothes, and eating lunch out every day. Your spending will now be more on hobbies, interests, and travel if you chose to do so. Just as you monitor your spending when you were working, you still need to have a budget in retirement. Personal Capital is a great free tool to track spending while working and when retired.
Income fuels spending. You need to have a solid grasp of where your income is coming from when the paychecks from work end. How much are you planning on withdrawing from your portfolio every year? When will you collect Social Security? Do you have a pension? Are you planning on working part-time? Have a solid understanding of how much income is coming in. It is still a best practice to spend less than you earn.
When you are working, you have to develop time management skills. Daily tasks need to be finished. Are you always being pulled away for meetings about special projects?
Time management is also important for managing all your responsibilities at home. The kids need to be taken to practice. The house needs to be maintained. The list can go on and on.
In retirement, time management is still important. You are retired, and your life is yours to live as you see fit. Don’t waste your time sitting home and watching tv. Plan for daily exercise, thought-stimulating activities, and finding ways to stay fulfilled.
When you are working, you might feel overwhelmed because there is not enough time. Retirement is the opposite, but it can be equally overwhelming. You don’t want to find yourself overwhelmed out of boredom.
You have worked your whole life to reach retirement. Don’t waste it. Plan on getting out and start living. Retirement is the time to do what you always wanted to do but did not have the time in the past because work and family obligations were in the way.
Be social. Unless you worked remotely, you probably had coworkers. Being around other people is healthy and prevents loneliness.
If you have friends, retirement is the time when you get to spend more time with them and to further develop the relationship. Pick up your phone and call or text them. Take ownership of the relationship if you value it. Don’t become a stranger.
The same is true for family. Retirement is the time to grow closer to your spouse or partner. You worked hard to have all this time together. Embrace it. Focus on making the relationship better every day. Now that you have the time, put more effort into what you can bring to the relationship.
There is no excuse for loneliness. There are many not-for-profit organizations that need volunteers. The options to meet people and to make friends is endless.
Since you are reading this blog, you are most likely interested in personal finance. Join the Financial Independence community. There is Rockstar finance, the Bogleheads, ChooseFI, and many more. These people chat on online forums and social media. They also have meet-ups in almost every city. I have made many friends online as well as at various meet-ups.
You have worked long and hard to reach retirement. This chapter of your life is about how you are going to take advantage of the rest of your life. Time is a precious gift. It is up to you to make the most of it.
Retirement is different. Retirement is a unique dimension of living. This is the time in life when most people truly first experience freedom. There are no more deadlines or commitments.
For some people retirement is scary. They are no longer gilded slaves. It is their first experience with truly overseeing their life and time. There is nothing to be afraid of if you do your due diligence. By putting it down on paper, the fear is reduced. After you write it down, you have a set of directions to follow and amend as you see fit.
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