On average, retirees spend about 18 years in retirement, according to the United States Census Bureau. However, some retirees experience an even longer retirement. These 20-some-odd years will hopefully be some of your more relaxing and enjoyable. Still, for some seniors, retiring is like quitting smoking cold turkey – it’s hard to do and can cause many different emotions, some better than others.
You’ll want to live these years stress-free, so you should know these five ways to get used to being in retirement.
1.Structure your weeks
At first, you may enjoy your freedom to sleep in, stay in your pajamas all day, and watch TV until the moon comes up. But eventually, you may find yourself growing tired of a structureless day. To offset this, plan out your weeks so each day has a designated task.
For example, one day each week can be your designated errand day to run all your errands. Another day could be a day spent with your grandkids and family. Giving yourself a relaxed weekly schedule will help you avoid that dreaded cabin fever so many retirees fear.
2. Improve your relationships
As mentioned above, some of your days should be spent with family and friends. However, doing this does more than just give you a reason to get out of the house.Depression is relatively common among retired seniors because many live at home alone or become homebodies who never see friends or family.
Making new friends and improving existing friendships and relationships is a great away to prevent depression and enjoy your retirement.
3. Adjust your budget and income
As you enter retirement, you’ll likely start withdrawing from your 401K, IRA, or other retirement savings vehicle you’ve been storing money in during your working years. Depending on how well you prepared for retirement, your lifestyle and monthly budget may change from pre-retirement – and that’s okay!
Adjust your budget and monthly income to what fits your new lifestyle the best. Don’t compare yourself to other fellow retirees; do what’s best for you. If you’d like a sense of normalcy, set up an auto-deposit every other Friday from a savings account. That way, you still feel like you’re getting your regular paychecks. But be sure to adjust your “paychecks” to your newly revised budget. Don’t give yourself too much or too little.
4. Mark off your bucket list
It’s finally here! The stage of life you’ve been working towards for likely more than 40 years – retirement! Now is your chance to do all the things you’ve never had time to do in the past. Without that nine-to-five job holding you down and hopefully with a pretty hefty nest-egg, you can start marking off your bucket list.
For example, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint, now’s your chance. If you’ve always wanted to travel the country in an RV, there’s nothing stopping you now. Your options are limitless. Use this time to do something fun; that’s sure to get you used to being in retirement.
5. Pick up a side hustle or volunteer
As mentioned earlier, retiring can be like quitting an addictive habit cold turkey. One way you can ease into retirement without culture shock is by picking up a side job or volunteering somewhere. Having a place to go into work each day without a strict schedule can be the perfect way to get used to retirement. Eventually, you can take on fewer hours or even quit once you’re more accustomed to owning your own time.
For example, you could work from home selling crafts on Etsy or tutoring kids via webcam. You could volunteer at your local community center or church. While volunteering doesn’t earn you any extra cash like a side job, it still gives you that sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Retirement can be a confusing, stressful time – at first. But once you’re used to being in retirement, you’ll see that it’s everything you dreamt of.