For millions of people every year, retirement is a dream come true. You no longer have to work, which means you have much more flexibility to do everything you’ve ever wanted. But before you start planning all your adventures, there are some important changes you’ll need to make.
What to Do When You Retire
These are some of the best steps to take in the weeks leading up to your retirement and the first few months of freedom:
1. Reassess your investment portfolio. One of the first financial moves you’ll need to make is reassessing and potentially rebalancing your investment portfolio. Hopefully, at this point in your life, you’ll have a significant nest egg saved up and ready to distribute. If you want to maximize your annual returns, giving you more spending money and allowing you to live off your savings indefinitely, you may need to make some changes to how it’s allocated.
For example, many retirees shift their money into assets capable of generating income reliably, such as stocks that pay dividends, rental properties, and even annuities. At the very least, you should rebalance your portfolio to be less risky and more stable. You’ll also need to decide whether it’s time to tap in two accounts that can’t be touched before a certain age, like your Roth IRA.
2. Upgrade your bathroom. Once you retire, you’ll end up spending a lot more time at home, so it makes sense to upgrade your house for quality of life and comfort. You probably already have a list of home upgrades you’re interested in, but one of your highest priorities should be upgrading your bathroom.
Outfitting your bathroom with a bidet, for example, offers many benefits for seniors. Not only is it easier to use a bidet, but it also happens to get you cleaner. It offers a host of health benefits and almost completely eliminates the need to buy toilet paper, reducing your monthly expenses in the process. While you’re upgrading the bathroom, splurge on some luxury towels, better lighting, and better dental hygiene tools (like an electric toothbrush).
3. Revisit your exercise routine. Are you a regular exerciser? Physical exercise is one of the most important habits for maintaining and improving your overall health. Exercising regularly can lead to a higher quality of life, more energy, and a much longer lifespan. Some people justify their lack of exercise as being a necessary byproduct of working hard in other areas of their life.
But now that your job is no longer part of the equation, you have no more excuses. If you don’t have an exercise routine, now is the time to start one. If you do have an exercise routine, consider adjusting it to better fit your new schedule – and consider adding more days of exercise.
4. Find a new hobby. What better time to find a new hobby? You have all the time you’ve ever wanted to find something intellectually (and perhaps physically) stimulating.
5. Learn to slow down. To young people, retirement seems like a kind of permanent vacation – but for many new retirees, the slow pace and absence of a rigid schedule can actually be stressful. If you want to thrive in this new environment, you need to learn how to slow down. It’s okay to not be productive, and it’s okay to have a schedule that’s not packed constantly.
6. Consider downsizing (and relocating). You may also consider relocating, especially if you lived in your previous city only because it was close to work. Relocating could introduce you to a wealth of new opportunities, giving you a city and a population that are much better fits for your current goals and priorities. Some retirees, when relocating, also attempt to downsize, reducing the size of their home, so they have less to maintain. This is especially valuable if you plan on traveling frequently.
7. Make social plans. There are countless ways to stay socially active during retirement. You can volunteer for a local organization. You can join an existing hobby group. You can spend more time with your friends and relatives. You can even start a meet-up group of your own if nothing else is of interest to you. The point is, you need to stay social if you want to stay healthy and happy.
You’re not going to create a perfect retirement life for yourself in the first couple of months following your departure from your job. Some of the things you thought would be enormously rewarding won’t live up to your expectations.
Some things you never would have considered will suddenly look interesting to you. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll face a number of personal and environmental changes that pressure you to make significant adjustments.
Because of this, it’s important to adopt a mindset of adaptability and flexibility. As you learn more about yourself and become more comfortable with your retirement, you can gradually make the adjustments necessary to live the life you want.