Retirement is not as easy as it looks

The traditional definition of retirement is increasingly out of touch with how people are choosing to spend their post-career lives. Rather than thinking of retirement as an ending, it’s increasingly becoming a way for people to transition into new phases of their lives — phases that are every bit as engaging, challenging and rewarding as work.

A Holistic Approach to Time Management

One of the definitive things about the present age is that it has eroded the way in which people spend their days. In years past, there was an emphatic separation between work life and personal life. Nowadays, the two tend to blend together — a trend which has forced people to change the ways they use their time.

Time management is closely connected to well-being, and it requires a holistic approach which integrates the various facets of physical, mental and emotional health. Fostering creativity, being productive, sleeping well, eating well, exercising regularly and making time for leisure all play a part in maintaining health and happiness.

If you’ve succeeded in finding ways to manage all those things during your working years, you should continue to do the same thing as you transition into retirement. Retirement can be every bit as purposeful as your career; finding ways to be productive helps you maintain balance in your life.

Financing Your Retirement: New Challenges

The raw numbers show just how steep the financial challenges of retirement can be. If you plan to maintain your current lifestyle, experts suggest that you have a nest egg of 10 to 20 times your pre-retirement annual income. However, most Americans have far less than that, and many have very little if anything in the way of retirement savings.

Current trends also indicate that new challenges will greet the current generation of workers nearing retirement age. Studies show that about one in seven Americans are financially supporting an elderly parent as well as their children. With life expectancies increasing, millions of new retirees will need to find a way to provide financial support to aging loved ones in the years ahead.

Looking ahead to retirement is something you should start as early as possible during your working years, and it’s important to look beyond yourself to accurately assess your future financial responsibilities. For people focused on working their way up the corporate ladder or achieving more meaningful and immediate success, retirement often becomes a distant distraction that doesn’t generate much more than momentary and infrequent contemplation.

But beyond maximizing your 401k contributions, what can you do? For many people, money is a finite thing. Come retirement, they will have what they have and they will have to get by on it. Right?

Strategies and Resources for a Fulfilling and Rewarding Retirement

The idea of retirement being financed by a static pool of resources which will diminish as the years wear on is changing. The upside to longer lifespans is an increase in productive capability; 70 really is the new 50, and more people are treating it that way.

Use retirement as a way to pursue personal and financial goals that were overlooked during your career years. Start a business; invest in real estate; monetize existing assets; downsize. Take advantage of the growing pool of resources dedicating to helping retirees find a new niche in life. Such resources include:

  • Mentorship programs. A growing number of social and professional mentorship programs for retired people are cropping up all around the country. These opportunities provide you with extensive educational and networking resources, and some programs are specifically geared towards people over the age of 50. Check with your local business associations to see what’s available in your area.
  • Networking platforms. No matter what type of venture interests you, building your network will help you succeed. Retirees looking to continue working in some capacity after they’ve completed their primary career phases can take advantage of both online and in-person opportunities to meet other like-minded people.
  • Nonprofit organizations. If you want to work towards helping make your community a better place, there are plenty of volunteer programs and nonprofit groups that can help you find your niche. Many retirees prefer helping locally; inquire with your local volunteer network or community outreach program to find opportunities in your area.

Retirement should be an exciting and enjoyable time in your life. By thinking of it as a way to expand your horizons, you can enjoy the kind of lifelong health, happiness and financial security that you spent your working life dreaming about.