With helping clients for 27 years transition from working, to not working, there are some steps to consider when preparing. Most are excited, some are nervous, and a few are scared. Usually though, it’s not the finances that has someone scared, but time and how to fill it. After working 40-50 hours a week for years it can be difficult to pivot away from that activity to something else.

Here are some ideas to consider as one approaches retirement.

1. Can you ease into retirement?

Flexibility is key and may be the ultimate driver of happiness for many people. Having something to do part-time still gives us a purpose to get up every day while opening up hours of free time when not working full time. This can also assist with protecting your savings and delaying any calls for distributions from your investments. Longer-term…reducing the need for cash from your investments can be a nice benefit of part time work or consulting. Some of my happiest clients have been easing into retirement for years with no real goal of stopping.  They have time to travel, hang with family, long weekends, combined with the ability to make a little money when other family members are tied up working anyway.

With that being said, away from the finances having something to do every day can still be very rewarding. Being busy can keep the mind and body going.

2. “You can’t enjoy wealth if you’re not in good health” – Anonymous

This one is obvious, but now with extra time available in the day, be sure to make getting your body and mind back in shape. Some of the more frequent activities we hear about from our retired clients include: pickle ball, hiking, walking (around the block) or walking (forest preserves), stretching routines, pilates, yoga, morning reading on the porch with coffee, swimming at local gym, tennis, golf, lifting weights, and jogging. If you don’t do any of these now, pick just one and try it for a week.

3. Plan smaller trips in the beginning

Some clients have the image of a larger European vacation on their minds when they initially think of celebrating being retired. In reality, I’d say the majority actually do something pretty small regardless of asset level. Most tend to visit a family member or friend who’s moved away over the years and they are just looking to catch up. With all the extra time, no better time to go see a friend you don’t often get to see. Others may opt for the national parks or visiting a new city within driving distance.

This is one of those flexibility items that is great about being retired. Even smaller trips can be incredibly rewarding emotionally as they provide purpose, allow you to stay connected, and can be relatively low cost. Having no time restriction is a major win and smaller trips or activities are easy to schedule. In the event that you may be nervous of not having a normal work paycheck in the beginning too, a small trip or weekend getaway is a fun way of easing into being retired.

4. Keep up with friends and your community

Stay involved as much as you can. You’ve spent years together with either work groups, neighbors, friends from kids past activities, etc. Don’t ditch them now that you’re no longer working (you can ditch your boss 😊). Be careful not to fall into the trap of too much TV, endless honey-do lists, re-organizing all the closets, etc. You’ve had friends for all your life…here’s an opportunity to expand those relationships.

Another area to consider is volunteering. There are many organizations out there in desperate need of help. Think of what keeps you motivated and see if there’s a group around that can use your talents.

There was a recent documentary on Netflix called “Live to 100: Secrets of Blue Zones” and without giving too much of it away, there were common traits of those who lived longer lives around the world. Just a hint…sense of purpose and community were strong traits of living longer. A couple of clients recommended this program to me and I’d agree, it’s worth checking out.

5. Plan to Rise Above®

You probably didn’t expect to see our tagline as an item. Yes, the final item to consider when approaching retirement is that you also need a plan if you want to rise above the noise and stress of the markets, household finances, the news media, where will monthly income come from, how to maximize lifestyle in retirement, protecting your heirs, etc.

There are countless studies that remind us that those with a plan not only fare better financially in retirement, but also emotionally feel more confident about their situation. If you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants so to speak, consider talking with an advisor to help you build a plan that will address your big picture issues.

Phil Guerrero, President & Wealth Advisor

Phil Guerrero, President & Wealth Advisor