10 Components of a Happy Retirement

Financial preparations are an important component of any retirement plan. But money alone is not enough to live a satisfying retirement. Equally important is a plan to spend your time, develop relationships with others and maintain your health. Here are the important ingredients for you to realize the best possible retirement:

Enough money. Obviously, if you do not have enough saved and invested, you cannot realistically retire, at least not with the lifestyle you desire. But simply reaching a number in your retirement account is not the only aspect of retirement you need to plan for.

Having control over how you spend your time. One of the best things about being retired is the ability to decide what you want to do when you want to do it. This type of freedom is rarely experienced by those not yet retired. If you were to find yourself forced to live according to someone else’s expectations, retirement would be nothing more than an extension of your work years. But you get to leave behind other people’s rules as you begin to live your second act.

Spending quality time with family and friends. No longer finding yourself captive to boring meetings and meaningless interactions, you are now free to spend time with people you are actually interested in being with. And you are no longer limited to brief visits swinging monkeyssqueezed into a busy schedule. You have as long as you want to spend with whomever you choose.

Pursuing your passions, hobbies and interests. With the freedom to do as you choose, you can finally revisit the dreams and interests you were forced to put aside due to the demands of earlier life. And with enough interests and variety, you can prevent boredom and enjoy active stimulating days.

Giving back. Retirement can be your chance to express your charitable side and give back to society. Many retirees find volunteering to be a very rewarding experience. You are free to choose the causes most significant to you and make a difference in the lives of others.

Improving your relationship with your partner. Now that you have time to dedicate to the important matters in your life, the happiness of your spouse is an excellent place to start. You have time to spend with one another and rediscover the special person you fell in love with long ago. Although in some areas you may have changed over the years, some things never change.

Enjoying new experiences to broaden your horizons. You are no longer forced to live within the boundaries that defined the working you. The freedom to experiment and explore can open doors to interests you never knew you had.

Living a comfortable and safe life. Retirement is not always about searching for the next adventure. It also allows for the chance to relax, slow down and enjoy living at a pace more appropriate and comfortable for you. A balance between staying active and relaxing can keep you invigorated and ready for whatever comes your way.

Taking time for yourself. Downtime, the rarest of commodities for busy working folks, can now be yours in retirement. Taking time to think, relax, contemplate and dream can inspire you to live a more fulfilling retirement. Just remember that it is up to you to set aside the time and take advantage of your situation.

Maintaining good health. The freedom to do as you please affords the opportunity to refocus on healthy habits and practices. If you feel good it is easy to look forward to what the day has to offer. When it comes to healthy living, a regular routine that you can stick to can get you started in the right direction.

Assuming you are relatively satisfied with your nest egg and believe you can pay your way through retirement, it’s time to start thinking about the other aspects of retired life. In retirement you finally get the chance to do things your way. Make sure you include a plan for your health, relationships and passions.

From my blog on US News & World.

What I Look Forward To Most In Retirement

As someone on the cusp of retirement, I occasionally pause to picture life ahead when I will take my first steps toward senior citizen status. After surviving the working world and being fortunate enough to set aside what I hope is a sufficient nest egg to fund retirement, I have big hopes for the next 20 years. There are so many things I enjoy doing, and retirement is by definition the perfect opportunity to pursue my interests and feed my passions.

A reader of my retirement blog has an excellent perspective: “I’m retired (and yes past the honeymoon period) and I’m loving it! Each day opens up new possibilities. I find myself becoming more able to insist on things I want, rather than satisfying other’s expectations. I don’t necessarily need excitement, just newness. Don’t do the same old stuff you always did! Try something new each day.”

Where should I start? I feel like a kid in a candy shop with so many options that it is almost overwhelming – but in a good way. Since I am in control of my days, I plan to revel in the freedom to try a little of this and taste some of that, ever sampling and experimenting with new things. As I think about what excites me most about beginning this next chapter, I am looking forward to the following:

No longer on the clock. After a career spent with every minute of every day tightly scheduled and carefully planned, I appreciate the virtues of a blank calendar. I dreamily imagine starting my day with nothing that I must do. It is invigorating to realize I need not worry about being late to the next engagement, but rather I am free to savor the moment. The only clock I have to adhere to is the one I manage.

Picture this: You start a project that keeps you entertained for a while. Then, even though not yet finished, you change course and start something entirely different. In retirement, Carouselyou can do just that. No more deadlines, no rules or regulations from on high, no more last-minute fire drills. You control how you spend the hours in your day. You are off the clock and how sweet it is.

Freedom to choose. How I spend my retired day will be entirely up to me. It is hard to fathom this incredible freedom of choice. There may be days when I am high-energy and want to get out there and rock the world. On the other hand, there may be days when I am happy sipping my java seated in the backyard with a good book in hand. What I choose to do is solely up to me and not dictated by others. I am free to change my mind as often as I like. I am the decider, and that freedom of choice is something I plan to savor.

Time to nurture the creative me. Although I do not consider myself a particularly artistic person, I do have interests that allow for creative expression. I love writing. Blogging and books are excellent vehicles to put into words my feelings and thoughts. And the fact that some people might enjoy and even benefit from my efforts is pretty cool. When I was a youngster, I took a good many years of piano lessons. As is often the case, I did little to sustain my skills through teen years and raising a family. But now that I have the time, I love to sidle up to the piano and jingle the old keys. Many retirees have a creative side that may have been smothered during a demanding career. The good news is retirement can be the perfect time to rejuvenate your artistic side and express yourself through whatever means you find most rewarding.

Refocus on good health. While we are stuck on the job, perhaps traveling too frequently and typically maintaining a hectic pace, it can be difficult to sustain healthy habits. When it comes to diet and exercise, too often the lifestyle we are forced to live does not remotely resemble how we should be living. Since this state of affairs is largely due to lack of time, retirement can be just what the doctor ordered – literally. Instead of being forced to squeeze in a quick workout in a limited time slot, you can exercise when you feel like it. With the luxury to take all the time you want, your options become more interesting. You also have time to prepare better, more nutritious meals rather than succumb to fast food.

Revisit my relationship with my wife. We have been together for years, and during that time have become best friends. The demands of family and job have sometimes come between us, but only for a moment. We find strength and love and fun in the time we spend together. Once we both retire, we will have more quality time to share. I look forward to traveling and exploring and sharing time focused exclusively on us. My wife deserves to be spoiled, and I look forward to putting to good use my free time as a retiree doing just that.

Is there anything in particular that you are looking forward to when you retire?

From my blog on US News & World