Lucky you! In today’s column I’ve decided to offer you The Basics, Part One. We all know that sometimes when we are faced with transition in life, it really helps to get a few handy tips to feel prepared. That said, let me introduce my 10 Great Tipsfor a Successful Retirement.
[I’m sharing them with you in two parts because I think that facing a list of 10 anything is entirely too long to absorb all at once*. Besides, learning half of the list will build anticipation as you look forward to next month’s Observer!] Once you have been introduced to all ten tips, remember that they apply to everyone, regardless of your retirement dates. The list is easy to understand, and it comes with a simple two-word instruction: START NOW.
TIP #1 RETIREMENT IS A NEW BEGINNING In fact, I’ve suggested that the word itself should include the tag line, Imagine the Possibilities! To make it your retirement, it should be designed by you. That’s why it’s time to think about who you are NOW ... after all these years. What will you do when you have the time to do it? So many of your goals included making money or gaining experience or getting the promotion ahead of Eric Berkowitz down the hall. Now, what’s next? And how do you decide? Start by asking yourself what makes you feel fulfilled. What do you miss that you can do really well, and how can you bring it back into your life? There is so much ahead for you to embrace and enjoy. Write down your current goals and create a ‘curious’ list to get started.
TIP #2 CULTIVATE FRIENDS BOTH IN AND OUT OF WORK When you leave the workplace, you may be leaving most of your friends. Sure, occasionally you can meet them for lunch or a drink, but it will be very hard to nurture and keep those friendships.
Look around and establish new and interesting friendships. Spend time with people who like the same things you do. (You’ll know that better thanks to Tip #1!) Find someone who can teach you something new, then offer to share something you do well. (No, still no Beer Olympics!) And be sure they are people you can laugh with.
Staying connected is one of the most important parts of a successful retirement.
TIP #3 CONTROL YOUR EXPECTATIONS It may be hard to realize but here are a few expectations in retirement that need to be adjusted:
Your adult kids may not call you every day.
You may not be asked to chair the Condo board.
You will be automatically given the senior discount.
Your travel may be limited to just once or twice a year.
You may be overlooked if not using email or text.
You decide what you want the future to look like and how to spend your time. Get creative, stay flexible and make plans that include sharing with others.
TIP #4 STAY MENTALLY STIMULATED There is always something new to learn. Sometimes you may just want to sit in on an Adult Learning Class (for example, there’s China’s Modernization or Learning, Memory, and the Brain). Inquire about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and other opportunities near you. You will be surprised at the different courses being offered and the stimulating discussions that can occur. And if you have a special interest or talent, offer to teach a class yourself! Photography? Genealogy? You can be the teacher or the taught. (No, not strategies for the Beer Olympics!) In addition, there are groups called MeetUps and other community gatherings based on specific interests. Do an internet search and check them out. It’s an inexpensive way to have fun and help you stay sharp and excited to get up in the morning.
TIP #5 GET PHYSICALLY FIT NOW Actually, this tip could be called, “Avoid FOMO**!” In the past, when a person retired at 65, he or she had maybe five to seven years of an active life ahead. Today, retirees have 15-30 years of choosing what they do and when they do it. If you are not in the shape you want to be, it is not too late to start. Walking is exercise, and you can do it inside or outside. Join a gym. LuluLemon outfits are not required, and neither are bootcamps or high-level aerobics. Just keep moving. You don’t want to struggle while on vacation or playing chase with your grandkids! Create an exercise routine that will keep you in shape and be the best you can be!
That’s it, Part One of my 10 Great Tips for a Successful Retirement.
Now that you’ve read it, get started! By the time we get together next month, I hope you will have incorporated all these tips and started enjoying life a lot more, as well as feeling proud that you have been practicing for retirement!
I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send me a note c/o The Observer Editor, Barbara Dab, at email@example.com with some tales from the front lines.
*Ok, yes, an exception is The Ten Commandments! **FOMO = Fear of Missing Out