When envisioning your future retirement, it’s easy to focus almost entirely on the big things like your budget and cash flow, where you’re going to live, your healthcare strategy, and what you intend to leave behind for your loved ones. But while those things are certainly important, you should also weigh some of the lesser discussed elements that could possibly help make your retirement a happier one.
An AARP article, 10 Secrets of a Happy Retirement has some interesting and hopefully useful information that I’m excited to share today. If you’d like to review the article yourself, it’s available at aarp.org.
Save More, Spend Less
The first thing you may want to focus on is being a bigger saver than you are a spender. It is recommended to have at least a half-million dollars in the bank when you cross the retirement finish line.
One way to potentially reach that savings goal is to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible. As I’m sure is no surprise, for many folks, a mortgage is their single biggest monthly expense. That means eliminating your mortgage payment will allow you to focus on saving money as well as your broader retirement strategy.
Hobbies are Essential
Having numerous hobbies and pursuits is another important piece of the retirement puzzle. When I think of some of my most content retired clients, they share similarities like a desire to explore new parts of the country and world as well as a sincere desire to keep learning.
While it’s true that after you’ve left work for the last time that you shouldn’t feel compelled to build your days around alarm clocks and long commutes, you also shouldn’t spend your days in front of the television watching 90s sitcoms you didn’t even like much when they were originally on.
Maintain a Few Routines
While learning to play pickle ball or scuba dive during retirement is an important part of your health and wellbeing, you shouldn’t dismiss the importance and power of having some routines. You may want to consider working as a reading volunteer at a grandkid’s elementary school or delivering food for Meals on Wheels or even organizing a monthly potluck with your friends. Routines are important because they’re something you can build your calendar around.
Several decades of eight or nine hours a day, five days a week gives you plenty of structure to build a routine around. But when you retire, that structure is suddenly gone, which can certainly be a bit of a shock to the system if you don’t have a strategy.
And you don’t want to fill those days obsessively checking your portfolio or doom scrolling news sites on the internet. You need to get out there and experience your community in new ways. Visit restaurants in neighborhoods you haven’t visited often. See a community or high school theater production. Many communities offer far more than what often appears at first glance.
Friends Still Matter
Another way to potentially make your retirement more fulfilling is to maintain close connections with your circle of friends. And to be clear, social media check-ins or the occasional email don’t cut it. I’m talking about regular get-togethers for dinner, or a show, or even group vacations. Regular, face-to-face relationships are, in my opinion, an essential part of retirement.
And while keeping up with old friends is important, don’t disregard the power of making new friends, even when you’re in your 60s and 70s. If you volunteer at a non-profit that also has younger volunteers, take some time to get to know them. Friendships with people who are younger than you are may be a good way to keep up with the latest movies or bingeable TV shows.
Looking for advice on how to program the radio stations on your new car that seems more like a moving computer than an automobile? Someone younger than you may know how to help.
Advisory services offered through Buska Wealth Management, LLC an SEC Investment Advisor. Insurance products and services are offered through Buska Retirement Solutions, Inc., an affiliated company.
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