Making the decision to retire is not always an easy one, and many factors, including health, lifestyle, family concerns, and finances all need consideration. In the last half of 2020, more people retired than was expected due to the pandemic-fueled downturn in the economy. Not everyone was able to take the time to think carefully about this important event. If you have the luxury of planning ahead, spend some time answering these questions by yourself or with loved ones.
What does retirement look like to you?
Retirement is an important life transition, so it is a good time to evaluate what it is that you want going forward. Your very first question might be “what does retirement look like to me?” Are you hoping to spend more time with family? Do you expect to travel? Are you planning to move?
If you are shifting from a full-time career to not working at all, it will also be important to think about the kinds of activities you want to participate in to keep your mind focused and your body strong. Fortunately, even during the pandemic there are scores of resources for classes and programs that you can attend online. Check your local senior centers and community colleges for free and inexpensive options to learn something new. Give yourself some freedom to explore.
How Do You Want to Be Remembered?
Another thoughtful question from the U.S. News article linked above, is “how do you want to be remembered?” Giving thought to the legacy you want to leave behind will likely lead you to what you value most and help you set goals and priorities. Maybe you will volunteer, or write a memoir, teach your grandchildren to bake, or climb that mountain you’ve been thinking about for years. Whatever you set your sights on, take your time, and let it evolve into what it is you truly enjoy.
Retiring can also bring many health benefits such as a reduction in stress and having the time to eat well and exercise. In the words of an ancient Roman poet, “Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings.” If taking care of yourself hasn’t been a priority for awhile, making even small changes to your lifestyle, such as cooking at home more or walking each day, can bring you lasting results.
Prioritizing your health and contemplating what a life in retirement might look like for you can start anytime. The more you can plan ahead for this important life change, the more you can simplify some of the other decisions you will have to make along the way, regarding finances and retirement housing options. Exploring these questions can get you off to a good start.
Follow this blog for more information on planning for retirement in 2021.