3. Define what retirement means to you

In my prior article, Take Inventory of Yourself and Your Spouse, we discussed your health, age and likely lifespan.  This was important to understand what assets will be necessary to last a lifetime.  In this article we will discuss those things that will make retirement enjoyable

The first day of retirement

Imagine waking up your first day in retirement.  It’s 8am, 9am, 10, 11, Noon?  Your pick.  Now what?  Take a shower, grab some breakfast, take your dog for a walk, you get back home then what?  Go fishing? Get together with friends and go hiking?  It’s all up to you.  Before you retire, you need to visualize what you’ll be doing that will make life fun.  In this article, we’ll explore options available to you in retirement and many won’t cost you a dime. Now, if you already know exactly what you want to do in retirement then just jot it down and skip on to the next article here.

List the things that you want to do in retirement

As you can imagine, there are a gazillion things you can do in retirement.  All you’ve got to do is find those things that will make your life fulfilling.

Consider activities that give you a sense of accomplishment.  What I mean are activities that produce a result that you can be proud of and share with others.  For example, you might try building furniture, restoring a car, write an e-book or learn a new language.

Get involved in social activities.  You can find lots of groups to join at sites like www.meetup.com, www.citysocializer and www.eventbright.com.  Interacting with other people that have similar interests as you will make retirement more enjoyable.

Stay physically active.  Taking long walks can be very healthy for you but can also be very boring if you take the same route every time. Spice things up by exploring new neighborhoods or by taking nature walks.  If the weather is not conducive to taking walks then get a treadmill, setup a TV and enjoy your favorite shows while getting exercise.  Swimming is another great way to stay physically fit.  Remaining physically fit in retirement will be the key to a maintaining a good quality of life so make sure to pick something you enjoy doing and stick to it.

Plan vacations then take them.  Get a local (state) map and a world map.  Start with the local map first and, with a highlighter, mark the places you would like to visit.  Draw a line connecting these places starting with where you live.  This line will be your journey. Research all the places that you picked along that line and create a list of things to do once you get there.  Don’t worry about how long it will take because you’re in retirement now – you’ve go loads of time.  For your next trip pick a different state and do the same.  When you’re ready to travel to another country the planning will need to be more thorough.  Research visa requirements, regional safety alerts, local currencies, languages spoken, etc.  My suggestion would be to either take a cruise, or bus tour, to the areas you are interested in to get familiar with them.  Then fly back to those countries/cities that interested you the most and stay for a week, or longer.

Start a blog or a podcast.  Building a blog can have many benefits. It can be a great way to share an interest with the world and get others who have a similar passion join your conversation.  It can be an outlet to express your opinions about anything.  Politics, sports, religion, tv shows, products, anything.  Done right, it can also be a way to earn extra money.  If this interests you then make sure to checkout the section of my site dedicated to making money.

Below are some additional ideas of things you can do in retirement.  Make sure to build your own list of what you would like to do during the best time of your life and have it ready for future steps in this series.

  • Pickup bird watching
  • Go fishing
  • Build and fly kites
  • Build model cars/airplanes
  • Do photography
  • Go to the library and read books
  • Start a hobby
  • Learn about history and travel to historic destinations
  • Volunteer
  • Visit relatives
  • Build and enjoy radio controlled cars/planes
  • Update your home (paint, install a new deck, redecorate, etc.)
  • Study wines, then enjoy them
  • Write a memoir
  • Learn to cook
  • Learn embroidering/knitting
  • Take-up chess
  • Start painting (not the house, on canvas)
  • Make crafts and sell them on www.etsy.com
  • Learn a musical instrument
  • Convert your old VHS tapes to DVDs
  • Build a family tree

When your are done, you should be able to answer these questions:

  1. When I get up every morning I am looking forward to the day because…..
  2. I get so much satisfaction in retirement because I’ve accomplished so much including….
  3. Life is never boring, I’m constantly challenged and excited by the things I get to do.  For example…
  4. I am so proud of myself for completing so many things I never thought I could do. Here are just a few…
  5. I feel fit and am enjoying life because I consistently do physical activities like….

Next article will be about creating 3 scenarios for retirement.  You will build one scenario describing the basic things you want to do in retirement that will make you happy.  The second scenario will start off with the basics but add some more activities that will require greater resources and make you happier.  The last scenario is where you go all out and come up with your dream retirement where you will be the happiest.



P.S.,  Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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