Follow These 5 R’s for a Rewarding Retirement

When you retire, you want to do it right. After so much careful preparation and struggle, you have earned the right to join the ranks of the retired, and you want to make sure it’s worth the effort. Here’s how to make sure your retirement will be fulfilling:

Reward yourself. You have earned the right to spend your free time as you choose. Don’t put pressure on yourself to fill your days with meaningful accomplishments. You are no longer a worker bee, so you can choose to do what is right for you. There is no performance review, no measures of success and no pressure to rise in the ranks. Retirement is your time to pursue what matters to you. What better reward than the option to spend your moments however you choose. You have the option to do nothing at all or try something new.

Rejuvenate your life. It is likely that after 30 or more years working you may feel a bit tired. Your job may have required a steep price for success. Retirement can be your opportunity to relax and start over at a slower pace. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past. From this day forward you can look to the future. Who you were on the job does not have to be who you are in retirement. Behaviors that were essential to your business success may be out of place in retirement. So, get rid of them. Retirement can be the perfect time to make a fresh start.

Refocus your energies. With your job behind you, get ready to add at least 40 hours of free time to your week. Now that you have the ability to choose you can focus attention on the other areas in your life that may have been ignored. Your family is likely due some make up time. Relationships with friends that have fallen to the wayside can be rekindled if you desire. If you have not been attentive to your health, this is a good time to revisit your exercise routine, establish a healthy diet and start practicing good habits across the board. All the energy that went into keeping up with the industry and corporate politics can now be refocused on real passions and interests that you want to pursue.

Respect your limitations. What you were able to do 30 years ago will not necessarily be what you can do today. But aging does not necessarily preclude living a good life. By learning to accept your limitations you can be better prepared to make the most of each day. Try not to regret what you can no longer do, but instead rejoice at what you are still capable of. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember how many times others have turned to you for assistance over the years.

Renew your interests. Think about what you want to do with your time. The hobbies and interests that excited you in the past can be revisited and explored in depth. You could write a novel, learn a new instrument, become fluent in the language of your choice, try your hand at ballroom dancing or do whatever else interests you most. Retirement is your reward for all your efforts that went into getting you safely and hopefully sanely to retirement.

From my blog for US News & World. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.

Old Does Not Mean Slow

Taken from my US News & World Blog

As we age, we tend to slow down. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to physical deterioration and loss of mental acuity. It is the way of the world, and we need to accept that reality. But is this an accurate truism across the board?

Last weekend I joined my parents in celebrating their 80th birthdays with a gathering of family and approximately thirty friends acquired over the past fifty years. The average age in the room, excluding immediate family, was in the 80 plus range. As I mingled with attendees I recognized from when I was a kid, it quickly became apparent these people were not interested in slowing down. They were still very sharp and engaged with living. Wrinkles may have taken over their outward appearance, but their minds were wrinkle-free.

During the evening I crossed paths with Lonnie, who is over 80, and had just returned from a week of skiing at North Star. Alfred, 87, regaled us with minute details of the 39 cruises he has taken since retiring at 62. And George, who is also over 80, has discovered a second career after leaving medicine in the wine industry. Once a year he journeys to France where he tastes more than 300 different wines over a four-day period to select future purchases for his wine store.

How do they beat aging? I believe the secret to the continued sharpness of my parents and their friends is staying busy and engaged with living. None of these octogenarians defines retirement in terms of slowing down, relaxing, or sitting out life. They continue to be involved in a lifelong pursuit of worthy goals.

Their enduring friendships have been based on shared passions for playing bridge, tennis, and golf. They also attend local theater and concerts, travel, and host dinner parties with heated discussions about everything from politics to international events. They enjoy living each day and are always there for each other to share a happy moment or support a not-so-happy time. In their inner circle, happiness seems not so much about the individual but more about the group. For this group of seniors, retirement is not the end of life, but the beginning of the second act.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.

Why an active retirement is not just keeping busy

We all hope to one day enjoy an exciting retirement life filled with new experiences doing what we want to because we FINALLY can! If we are wise, we have planned for retirement ahead of time beyond just the financial and we have a good idea of what we want to be doing with our new found free time. In an earlier blog I outlined what I really need in retirement but your mileage may vary.

My outlook on keeping busy in retired life is evolving as I continue my retirement planning efforts. Comments to last weeks blog 4 fears about retirement helped me realize that avoiding boredom is not about the quantity of activities but rather the quality of what you do.

This week I attempt to dig a bit deeper to identify some of the components that can make up a quality experience. See what you think in an active retirement is not just keeping busy.