Six Steps to the Perfect Retirement
Retirement may be one of the greatest changes in our lives and offer us one of the greatest challenges. It’s something we only do once and as such it may be hard to know exactly how to approach this new stage in our lives.
If this sounds familiar then these six things to think about when planning your retirement may be a useful starting point.
1. Live Positively
Be alert to how you think about the world, about yourself, about other people and challenges that come your way. See problems as challenges; see the fun in younger people; have a laugh at yourself and situations you face; engage with happy people. At the end of each day think about how much did I laugh today; how much did I moan; how much did I mix with people who bring a smile; how much with people who complain; what did I do today to make others happy? How can I make tomorrow even more positive for myself and somebody else?
2. See the Whole Picture
Retirement needs to be more than just ‘playing more golf’ or ‘having more holidays’. Address your retirement years holistically. Plan to be as active as you can in mind and body. Retiring to do ‘nothing’, which might be a temptation after a long and busy working life, will do more harm than good. Our bodies and our brains need activity and most of all they need purposeful, satisfying activity. Do not confuse freedom with idleness. Also, avoid trying to cram everything into the first six months and then running out of steam.
3. Look for Balance and Variety
Balance exercise for the body with stimulus for the mind; time away with time at home; social time with personal time; sound with quiet; town with country; rest with exercise; indulgence with moderation; looking after oneself with caring for others; work with play.
4. Don’t Change Too Much at Once
Some change can be exciting; too much change can be stressful. It is sometimes tempting in retirement to ‘up and off’ – the cottage by the sea at that place we’ve always loved, life in the country, a house abroad. But, we may not just be moving house. We can also be leaving behind friends, family, communities we were used to and/or accessible services. Moving can mean we have whole new contexts to come to terms with at just the time when familiar circumstances may be more important than ever before.
5. Plan Ahead
Have a vision of yourself doing positive, exciting things in the future. The inspirational Jane Tomlinson who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 27 decided she was not going to die before she had demonstrated to her young children just how much she could achieve and provide for them as a model of how to live. She spent the next 17 years accomplishing amazing athletic achievements and raising vast amounts for good causes. Having our own vision of ourselves achieving positive things (in our terms) in the years ahead, even though we are much older than Jane, gives us a very good chance of living remarkably ourselves.
6. Keep Learning
The world moves fast and we should challenge ourselves to keep up with it. Using our brains and our bodies is the best way of keeping them functioning. There are now so many wonderful learning opportunities available. Many now do degrees in their 60s, 70s and 80s and love the stimulation of learning alongside young under-graduates. The internet is a fantastic resource that we can have in our home, providing an amazing source of information on every given topic. Local adult education courses and Lifelong-learning opportunities offer a vast variety of scope for us to learn new skills and new knowledge at a stage in our lives when we are likely to have the time and resource we never had previously.
Planning your retirement is something that deserves thoughtful consideration and there will be a lot to take into account that you may not have previously considered. Our Vision Guide offers further advice and information to help you begin thinking about and designing a plan for your retirement.