Most people go into retirement on automatic pilot, or at least it seems that way. Fully exploring your retirement options is something everyone should do but, as we talk to some fellow retirees, it doesn’t seem to have been a priority. While it’s true that many people planned carefully for their retirement finances, a much smaller percentage took the trouble to make a plan for how to use all of that extra free time. Remember, even if you worked just forty hours per week and had no commuting time, that eight-hour time slot still has to be filled with meaningful activity or you’ll go crazy.
As I neared the end of my working career and watched some of my fellows leave the workplace before me, nearly all of them kept in touch and many revealed a surprising bit of news. They were bored. Some of them had actually hated their jobs and were marking the days off on their calendars but, now that they had no place they had to be, they kind of missed the social aspects of working. I had a lot of trouble believing it at first but, it was true. They had planned out their money but had not planned out their time. Many of them had planned wonderful vacations during their careers but had failed to apply the same level of detail to what should be the most rewarding time of their lives. Fully exploring your retirement options should be one of the focuses of everyone’s final working years.
It seems that even playing golf every day can get a little old. And living in the same house that is bigger than you now need causes you to rethink your retirement lifestyle. It’s definitely worth the time to take a full inventory of your interests and passions, past memories and future dreams as you get close to your retirement day. Exploring your retirement options can be one of the most exciting things that you do. Get a notepad and start listing your dreams and don’t leave anything off the list. You should even rethink where you plan to live. The recent extreme hurricane activity in Florida over the past few years has actually gotten two of our friends to consider other options. Their fallback position of Arizona is also subject to some extreme heat and drought. They’re considering a move to Williamsburg in Virginia which is a great college town with a fantastic history and a wonderful culture of arts and music. They have become very excited about the opportunities that await them.
The pandemic changed some plans as well. What seemed like a wonderful life of taking three or four cruises every year has gotten some people to think about other options. After all, a cruise ship isn’t the only way to travel. Between the wildfires and severe weather that seems to have affected many parts of the country, and the disruption caused by the pandemic, many people have altered their retirement plans. Exploring your retirement options and considering all the possibilities that you may not have thought of before, may lead you to spend a little more time at home than you planned to. That’s what happened to us. We relocated to the beautiful Hudson Valley and built a home that we absolutely love. Designing and furnishing the home has kept us busy and learning about our new area has been an adventure. After coming up here many times on vacations and falling in love with the mountains and the scenery, we found out that becoming one of the “locals” was even better than we could have imagined. My wife has developed new hobbies and we’re part of a community that fills up her social calendar with activities that she absolutely loves.
While you are exploring your retirement options more fully, keep in mind that retirement is a perfect time to start a new hobby or interest. One of our friends has joined a little Irish band and can’t believe he didn’t do it sooner. Trips to Ireland have become a new hobby and a way to “study” the authentic music in the local pubs. Your retirement can become anything you want it to be. Take the time to explore the options and consider all of the possibilities. Even if money is a little short, there are ways to work around that. Finding extra money through a job or even a small business can also be an option you might want to explore.
The possibilities are endless but there’s only one person who can make all of it happen: YOU! You should waste another day. Start exploring your retirement options. It can make all the difference in the world, and it might be something that’s more fun than you ever thought possible. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!
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