Many people spend decades looking forward to retirement. It means you can kiss goodbye to early morning commutes, annoying customers, and workplace drama. You can find new hobbies, travel the world or spend time with those you love. However, readying yourself for retirement is not easy. You need to ensure that you are in a good financial position beforehand - so that you don’t run into any difficulties later down the line.
With that in mind, here are some tips on preparing yourself for retirement!
1: Know how much money you’ll get
Before retiring, you must know exactly how much retirement money you will receive. You need to ensure that you are able to live comfortably off this money and that you won’t find yourself falling short. Remember, the money you spend in retirement will likely come from three separate income streams: a retirement plan provided by your work (pension scheme), social security, and your own savings. You can figure out how much money you will be receiving by using an online retirement calculator.
2: Minimise your debt
If possible, you should try to pay off any outstanding debts prior to retirement. This means that you can guarantee yourself a ‘stress-free’ retirement, where you will no longer have to think about paying bills or making repayments. You’ve earned the time to rest and relax, so settling your affairs and paying off any debts ahead of time is recommended.
For example, you may want to take the necessary steps to pay your mortgage off prior to retirement. There are many benefits to mortgage-free living in retirement, including:
- You will be under less stress and able to relax.
- Once you have paid your mortgage, you will be able to focus on paying off other debts.
- You have more money left for personal use, giving you plenty of opportunities to treat yourself.
- You can put more money into your savings account.
- You can spend your money on other things, such as health insurance.
3: Focus on saving
Before retirement, it is important that you save money wherever possible. Ideally, you should try and set aside a small amount of money each week. It is also beneficial to set up a separate bank account so that you don’t spend the money accidentally. Once you start saving regularly, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the money will add up.
Savings are always important, especially when you are heading into retirement, as they mean you are prepared for any unexpected costs that come your way - such as medical bills or home repairs and improvements.
4: Stay active
As you get older, it is important that you stay fit and healthy. Although it may not seem like it, your work routine probably plays a large part in maintaining your fitness - it dictates your sleep schedule and helps you move around. When you are no longer working, you should stay as active as possible. Swap your morning commute for a brisk walk around the block, or take part in a fitness class. Remember, you don’t have to over-exert yourself - you just need to do enough exercise to keep you feeling (and looking) your best.
5: Follow a routine
When you aren’t working, it's easy to fall out of a routine. This means that you might spend more time sleeping or find it harder to get out of bed in the morning. Whilst you definitely deserve a rest (meaning you can sleep in as much as you want), you need to try and stick to a routine where possible. This will give structure to your day and help you remain organized.
6: Find new ways to stay in touch
Although retiring is exciting, many retirees have noted that it can feel lonely at times. This is simply due to the fact that you spend a bit more time at home than you will have done previously, and you no longer interact with colleagues and customers at work. Therefore, you should ensure that you stay in touch with your colleagues and friends - over the phone, online, or in person. Where possible, focus on maintaining relationships - as it’s easy for communication to dwindle when you don’t see each other as often. Remember, retirement also gives you the chance to spend more time with your family.
7: Make plans
You often hear people talking about their retirement plans. They’ll list countries they want to visit, things they’d like to do, and wines they’d like to drink. However, we often view these ideas as ‘dreams’ instead of concrete plans. However, as soon as you retire - it’s time to turn those plans into reality. Your dreams do not have to stay dreams; they can become part of your everyday routine!
Write down a list of everything you want to do. Consider it to be something of a bucket list and set aside a reasonable budget that will cover the cost of everything you need to do. Then, get going! Make reservations and book flights, but most importantly, have fun.
8: Find a new hobby
Before retirement, you need to think about how you want to spend your time. When you don’t have to go to work, you’ll be surprised about how many more hours there seem to be in the day. It is important that you find a variety of ways to keep yourself busy and entertained, meaning retirement is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Here are just some of the things you could do:
- Learn to play an instrument or to read music.
- Transform your home by gardening.
- Tell your story by putting together a memoir.
- Share your expertise with the younger generation by tutoring or public speaking.
- Express your creativity through arts and crafts.
- Create something new with woodwork. Woodwork can also make a great gift for friends and family.
- Stay relaxed by meditating or taking a yoga class.
- Cook up a storm in the kitchen, trying out new recipes.
- Attend cooking classes.
- Spend some time outdoors, going fishing, or hiking.
- Challenge your friends to a game of golf.