Managing Your Retirement To Do List

One of the great pleasures of embarking on retirement is having the time and freedom to attack your to-do list. Who among us has not compiled a wish list of the many things we want to do once we finally retire? All those adventures and activities and interests we have been too busy to pursue while working and raising a family can now ascend to top priority. Starting right now we get to do what we want. What better than working our way through one after another of those long delayed but highly anticipated pending projects and special plans?

Having a retirement to-do list can also help smooth out the transition into full-time retired living. Those first months and sometimes years when we find ourselves solely responsible for filling the hours with meaningful activities can be daunting. Having a compilation of things to do not only helps keep us busy but can make retirement a positive experience from day one.

What’s on your retirement to-do list?


For many the first order of the day once retirement rolls in is getting on the travel train – or plane or boat or whatever your preferred method of transport. Now that you have time and while you are still in good physical condition the world beckons. Some have a specific destination in mind, a place they have read about and researched and pictured themselves visiting for as long as they can remember. Others take advantage of the expertise offered by services that specialize in recommending the perfect travel itinerary based on your personal interests, style and desired activities.

And some prefer the flaneur approach, heading out the door with no destination in mind happily wandering toward new and unexpected discoveries. Whatever your particular inclination, travel is an exciting and fulfilling piece of your second act.

Get Fit

It might be easy finding an excuse not to exercise when you have no available time with all your energies going into doing the job and fulfilling family duties. No more. Now you are retired and have time to take care of yourself. And if you hope to make the most of your second act you need to do so. Adding fitness goals to your retirement to do list is a winner for all concerned. Not only will you look and feel better physically but your whole mental outlook improves. With more energy you can do more of those things you love. You can spend quality time with those who matter most. Your to do list has a good chance of getting to done. Getting fit is not just for you but also everyone in your life.

Fix-it/make it better

How about all of those need-to-fix situations around the home and garden? I am talking about the gate that never quite closes right or the neglected drip sprinkler system, the cabinets that look dated and worn or the fading wall paint, those things that you are aware of but just have not found the time or motivation to address. Retirement is the perfect time to break out those dusty tools and forgotten talents and make things better. Even if you have never done it before the self-help available on YouTube and Google can make you a tool man/woman before you know it.

Beyond the basic fix-it aspect is the creative part of doing things yourself. You may find you have a talent for interior decorating or garden design. What about writing a book or trying your hand at painting? Set the creative you free and see what happens.

Scratching these fix-it items from your retirement to-do list, one at a time, can be satisfying on its own. And remember there are no deadlines – take your time, do it right and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Try something new

The nice thing about a to-do list is it is a living document. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself adding two new items for each one you remove! And that’s okay. Remember you have time, lots of it. You may discover things you never thought you would be interested in until now – make room for them on the list. Your neighbor might share an experience that you find intriguing – feel free to give it a try on your own. Our new motto should be “don’t be shy, give it a try”.

Tastes may change as you continue along your retirement journey. You may discover new passions you did not have a decade ago. My wife is becoming quite the quilter, something she was never interested in until retired. I am becoming somewhat of a history buff something I never would have been interested in years ago. Retirement is a great time to feed your curiosity.

Since I am a few years into retirement my original to do list is pretty much done. But the additions I have made to this living document should keep me busy into the foreseeable future. There is nothing better than scratching off a completed item unless it might be adding something new and exciting to work toward. You never know what might find its way onto your retirement to do list and that is half the fun!

How to Build Your Nest Egg after 50

Written by Gabby Revel

When we’re young, retirement is some vague concept floating on the edge of our consciousness – maybe. For many caught up in the throes of youth, retirement is not a thought that comes anywhere near the surface of cognitive thought. That is, until we wake up one-day staring at the tail end of age 50.

Reality sets in with a vengeance then, and retirement looms large like an insurmountable mountain that’s building an avalanche to bury us in the next 10 to 20 years. Realizing you have little to no nest egg built up means nothing at age 20; at age 50, it’s a good precursor to a coronary.

The times, they are a-changin’

If you’re staring at a nearly empty nest egg, you’ve got a lot of changing to do if you’re going to catch up on your retirement savings. The time has come to get serious about your finances, and you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to play around. You need to sit yourself down, take a full accounting of your assets and liabilities, and calculate your net worth.

Think about what expenses you will have after retirement.  What expenses do you have now that you may not have in retirement? When looking at these, you may find areas in your current situation to cut back without compromising your lifestyle.  What would you be willing to sacrifice if the budget gets squeezed and what is your “essentials”?

Comparing where you are today with where you wish to be comfortable in retirement is an important part of planning your retirement strategy.

Once you’ve taken these steps, then run – don’t walk – to your favorite financial adviser. He or she will tell you what you need to do in order to catch up your nest egg and get on track for retirement. These steps won’t be easy and won’t be a lot of fun, but you’ve had your fun in life. It is time now to get serious.

Playing catch up

Don’t be surprised if your adviser tells you that you’ll have to continue working for a period of time longer than you’d hoped. He or she may suggest that you consider continuing to work on a part-time basis for a while after you’ve reached the upper limit of your normal retirement age range. This strategy will give your more time to feather your nest egg and increase your Social Security benefits.

Your adviser’s advice will probably include taking advantage of some perks offered by Uncle Sam to those over the age of 50. If you have a 401(k) through your employer, look into making the maximum contribution allowed. This will also let you take advantage of any matching funding your employer offers.

If you don’t have a saving plan through your employer, your financial adviser can help you set up a private fund or Roth IRA.

Jump into the market

If you aren’t familiar with stock portfolios and mutual funds, you should consider a little research on the subjects before you talk to your financial adviser. In order for you to catch up your nest egg to where it should be, stocks will probably represent a substantial chunk of your budding retirement portfolio.

How much you invest in the stock market will be determined by how much risk you’re willing to take on. The stock market offers the most opportunities for substantial growth to pad your burgeoning nest egg. Your financial adviser will discuss the risks involved and help you make an informed decision on the composition of your retirement investments.