How To Create A Fulfilling Retirement When Every Day Is Saturday

The following is a guest post from Ann Vanderslice, President and CEO of Retirement Planning Strategies. She helps federal employees understand their benefits, maximize the value of their benefits, and plan for retirement, as well as organize income planning and IRA distributions.

It’s the dream retirement many people anticipate for decades. Hang out around the pool all day. Play one round of golf after the other. Finally read that teetering stack of books on the nightstand.

Leisure and Recreation

In retirement, every day is Saturday – only without the dread about what Monday morning back at the office might bring.

But is endless recreation enough to satisfy still-vibrant retirees who have both the health and the mental capacity to continue to learn, explore and contribute to the world? Maybe not.

Hiking - Austin Ban

As people near retirement, they have a great opportunity to map out a strategy to create a fulfilling, rewarding rest of their lives. Studies show that retirees with a plan have the easiest time transitioning into and being the most satisfied in retirement.

For many people, planning for retirement focuses almost solely on the financial aspect. They worry about saving enough so they don’t run out of money.

But retirement also represents a lifestyle change, as people accustomed to heading to a job each day suddenly find themselves without any meaningful reason for getting out of bed. And all that free time, which seems enticing at first, can quickly become boring.

Here a few factors to consider for those seeking a more fulfilling retirement:

  • To work or not to work. It’s not unusual for people to continue to work in retirement, at least part-time. In some cases, the extra income is needed or at least adds a little more security to the retiree’s financial outlook. But some people simply don’t feel fulfilled if they aren’t contributing something by working. Often, I hear people say they’ve been working since they were teenagers and the thought of stopping just makes them uncomfortable.
  • Volunteer – but volunteer wisely. Plenty of groups need volunteer help, such as charitable organizations, schools, libraries, animal shelters, museums and more. But beware of letting them take advantage of your availability. You can have your calendar filled before you know what hit you. Pretty quickly, you may end up feeling like you put in a 40-hour work week. Take the time to identify the causes and issues important to you. Make sure the organization is aware of the skills you have to offer so you aren’t just licking envelopes. And don’t overcommit your schedule. You do want to leave yourself some time just to kick back.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Retirement can be a great time to take a college class or learn how to play a musical instrument. It’s proven that those who are lifelong learners have a greater sense of optimism and a lower chance of dementia. So if you’ve always wanted to learn more about philosophy, wanted to take a cooking class, or to learn a foreign language, now is the time.

Final Thoughts

It’s certainly important to have a financial plan for retirement. But to truly have a happy and rewarding retirement, you’ll want to make plans for your ideal retirement lifestyle as well.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

2 Comments

  1. James & Ann – This is a lot of food for thought. Mr. Groovy and I’ve got less than a month of retirement under our belt. We just returned from a 10-day road trip. We probably won’t be totally unpacked until the weekend (what’s the rush?) and then my brother’s visiting next week. Pretty soon it’s more traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas so we’ll probably settle into a routine come January. Volunteering and learning are both definitely on the list. Work? Not if I can help it. Well, not in the traditional sense, anyway. But we’re not ruling anything out.

    • Sounds like you guys are off to a rollicking start. Good stuff! The key is to stay engaged with whoever and whatever activities assist in your continued growth and development. Definitely hearing more about your transition into retirement and learning as much as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *