The “someday” you’ve been planning and saving for is today. It is time to retire. You may be feeling ready and excited, or you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure. All of these emotions are completely normal as you are about to undergo a major lifestyle change.
What should you expect from this new chapter of life?
Every person transitions into retirement differently. For some, it is easy to jump into a life without work and filling time with new passions. For others, it can be difficult to find structure and develop a new routine.
Unfortunately, I can’t predict how each person will adapt to the retirement lifestyle. I can, however, provide some ideas about what happens when you’re ready to retire and what to consider before making the transition.
You Can Afford to Retire
If you are about to make the leap into retirement or early retirement, I am assuming your bank account can support it.
The first, and most important thing to consider before leaving your job is your finances. Your financial plan – saving, investing, tending to retirement accounts – should sustain you through retirement. Confirm you can actually afford to retire.
Your retirement budget should not only cover your cost of living expenses, but also healthcare costs and unforeseen circumstances. Today, people are living much longer. It would be horrible to outlive your retirement budget because of poor money management. Plan for enough financial padding to withstand a long and healthy life.
You Can Find a New Passion
Financial plans aside, you should also have a plan for your day-to-day retirement lifestyle.
Consider how you will provide structure without having a job. What can you do to live a meaningful life? Again, this is different for every person. I urge you to find a passion outside of your career. This is the time to do something you’ve always wanted to do and never had time for. Take up a new hobby, travel, cook, anything that you leaves you feeling fulfilled each day. Whether that’s reading, (here’s some great investing books) exercising, or traveling. Do what makes you happy.
Hunting is a way to experience wilderness more deeply and intimately than any other way I know of. For me, hunting is about everything right up to the moment the arrow leaves the bow or the bullet leaves the barrel.
It’s about being out there where animals live, in the weather, in the silence, being quiet and still inside and out. It’s about being aware of how your body is moving, your breathing, about recognizing what you’re seeing and hearing and smelling. It’s about amping up the senses including the ones you don’t even know you have, to a heightened level you didn’t know was possible.
As I became a better hunter I discovered I also became a better investor. Strangely, the kind of investing I do is based on some similar principles as hunting: understanding what I’m going after is paramount in both and so is the deep requirement of endless patience.
I know that for many of my students it’s politically incorrect to hunt animals and that’s okay; you must hunt or not, invest or not, depending on your own values, not mine. But if you’re not a hunter, consider reading about hunting, about what it takes to stalk an elk, say. You’ll be a better investor for learning how great hunting is done and for applying those principles to your investing work.
Bottom line is, all I’m trying to say here is to do what makes you happy. Do the things that you value, not me or anyone else. The best part of life is doing what you love.
You Can Build Strong Connections
It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect, reaffirm, or reestablish relationships. You have the opportunity to spend more time with your spouse, your children, your grandchildren and your friends.
Sometimes, the transition from feeling “needed” in your job to retirement, can leave a person feeling as if they have no purpose. Your family and friends will be your most important emotional support system.
Find new ways to feel “needed.” Whether that be picking up your grandchildren from school or cooking dinner for your friends, your work is appreciated. The time you have invested into your career in order to get to this place will be well worth it as you get to spend time with those you love.
You Can Better Yourself
You cannot forget to take care of yourself, too. The only way to enjoy an active retirement is to monitor your health.
Because you don’t have to rush to the office, get the recommended hours of sleep each night. Take the time to prepare healthy and delicious meals. Try to exercise each day.
Feeling your best is even more of an incentive to seize each moment of your retirement doing something you enjoy.
The Best is Yet to Come
When you’re ready to retire, you can expect to feel an assortment of different feelings and emotions. A major lifestyle change calls for some thrill and some trepidation.
However, you can also expect to find a new passion, build your relationships, and better yourself mentally and physically. You’ve worked all of your life for this moment – take advantage of every minute of it!
The best is yet to come.
What is your passion outside of work? If you aren’t sure, what is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do? Still not sure if you have the funds to retire comfortably? Download my FREE Rule #1 Retirement Calculators and find out exactly how much you need to retire, as well as must-know retirement terms.
Phil Town is an investment advisor, hedge fund manager, 3x NY Times Best-Selling Author, ex-Grand Canyon river guide, and former Lieutenant in the US Army Special Forces. He and his wife, Melissa, share a passion for horses, polo, and eventing. Phil’s goal is to help you learn how to invest and achieve financial independence.