Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mental and Social Planning for Retirement

No matter how much money you may have saved towards your future, there is more to retirement planning than simply having enough income.  You also need to give some thought to your goals, social needs, activities, where you want to live and how you want to spend your life after retirement.

Many people will live between 20 and 30 years after they stop working.  A few could even live as long as 40 years after retirement.  That is a long time to spend sitting around, watching TV.  Instead of being bored for decades, this is a time when you can choose to make a difference in the lives of others, live passionately and enjoy the years you have left.  What will you do when you retire?

How to Have an Emotionally Satisfying Retirement

Put Together a "Bucket List" - What things have you always hoped to do in life, but never had the time?  Is there someplace you always wanted to visit?  Have you dreamed of taking art or music lessons? Play in a band? Travel around in an RV? Live on a sailboat?  Move to another country?  Write a novel?  Join the Peace Corp?  Nearly everyone has a secret dream which they never had the time to fulfill.  Think of retirement as your opportunity to pursue your goals.  Do research on what you need to to do in order to achieve at least one of your goals ... and possibly more. You can even start working on your bucket list before you actually retire.

Decide Where You Want to Retire -  While the majority of people at least start out their retirement living in their pre-retirement home, many people will eventually move either to a retirement community, assisted living or someplace closer to their children and grandchildren.  When the time comes, where would you like to retire?  Not only do you want to choose a place which is safe, comfortable and easily accessible as you age, you will also want to take into consideration your emotional health.  Will you be near people you love?  Will you be able to engage in activities you enjoy?  Is it near a hospital and your doctor? Is it safe and walkable? These are all important aspects of choosing a retirement home.

Plan a Social Life - Whether you decide to live near your family or in a dream location, it is very important that you maintain a social life.  It has been shown repeatedly that people who have an active social life are less likely to develop dementia or other health problems.  Decide what activities are important to you and make sure they will continue to be accessible as you age.  Your retirement will be happier if you can easily get to your preferred religious services, sporting events, entertainment venues, a senior center, exercise facilities and other activities.  You do not want to feel restricted to your home.

Have an Exercise Plan - After you retire, it is far too easy to relax in your favorite chair, put up your feet, turn on the TV and tune out the rest of the world.  You've earned it ... right?  The problem is that relaxing too much can make your more likely to become obese, develop heart disease and possibly become susceptible to other illnesses, as well.  Instead, everyone should aim for at least 30 minutes a day of exercise which is brisk enough to cause your heart rate to increase.  It can be walking, jogging, bicycling or taking an exercise class.  Believe it or not, exercise improves your brain function, reduces stress, helps your overall physical health and can give you a positive mental attitude.  That is a lot of benefit for 30 minutes of your time each day after retirement!

Plan to Eat Right After Retirement - At some point, nearly all seniors will eventually live alone, especially women.  It is very easy to slip into the habit of eating frozen dinners and a bowl of cereal for all your meals.  It can seem like a lot of extra trouble to prepare fresh vegetables and balanced meals.  However, it is important to eat right if you want to have a long and healthy retirement.  If you find you are not fixing healthy meals for yourself, see if your local senior center serves low cost meals during the week.  It is a great opportunity to eat well and socialize with people from your community.  If you reach the point when you cannot get out of your house, you may be eligible to have Meals on Wheels deliver food to you.  Not only will you get a healthy meal delivered to your home, but you will also have someone stop by your house most days of the week for a few minutes.  They will check to make sure you are OK and you can chat with them briefly.  However you arrange to eat healthy meals, make sure you eat right after retirement.

Keep Learning New Things - Another way to enjoy life and slow down your mental decline is to continue to learn new things.  Whether you take classes at a local community college, sign up for music lessons,  or learn a foreign language, it stimulates your brain to learn new things.

Volunteer - There are few better ways to reduce our isolation and raise our self-esteem than volunteering to help other people.  In most cases, you will also be learning new things, which stimulates your mind.  In addition, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping other people.  There are volunteer opportunities all around us.  Check with your local hospital, school, food bank or senior center.  If you still haven't found something which interests you, check, or the Hands On Network for more opportunities in your area.

Get a Part-time Job - You can improve your financial situation, make new friends, and learn new skills simply by finding a part-time job.  Check out your local mall, senior center or for job possibilities for senior citizens.

If you take the actions above, you are much more likely to have an emotionally satisfying retirement.  Isn't that a great goal for the last 30 or so years of your life?

Watch for my book, Retirement Awareness, which will be released in 2018 by Griffin Publishing.  It will go into much more detail about this information, as well as other important aspects of retirement preparedness.

If you are interested in more information about how to have a happy retirement, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles on where to retire, financial planning, medical issues, and more.

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1 comment:

  1. All the items you listed are important because it seems when you neglect one, it affects another and then a domino effect takes place. I knew a widow who pretty much gave up cooking and eating right. Soon she never felt she had energy. She stopped caring about her appearance and then stopped socializing because her appearance wasn't up to her usual standards. It's important to stay motivated in all areas of life.


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