How to Retire Happily in Your Golden Years
When we dream about the “golden years,” we imagine that we’ll retire happily— a beachside, maybe, that offers free maid service and serves up delicious drinks to your cabana-side table. And if that’s really how you want to enjoy retirement, it could be possible (though you might have to pay for the maid).
However—before you can get to your retirement fun, you’ll have to do some retirement planning.
What Are the Golden Years?
The idea that your retirement years are “golden” is actually a newer concept that you might expect—in fact, the term was first coined in 1959 during an ad campaign for a large-scale retirement community. And while the idea is nice, it might seem like a lot of pressure for some. But there’s no reason to put such high expectations on your retirement.
How to Enjoy Retirement
With a little planning, consider your retirement years an opportunity to live life your way. Just remember that to make retirement fun, you’ll need to know what “your way” truly is. Decide “what are the golden years” for you, personally. Then consider these four steps to retire happily.
Enter With Adequate Savings
To retire happily, you’ll want to set yourself up for success. And that means having a pretty good idea of how much money you need to retire. There are several retirement calculators on the internet that can help you figure this out. But in general, your goal should be to replace about 70% of your annual pre-retirement income.
Retirement accounts can help you achieve this goal, including your 401k and Roth IRAs. And don’t forget to include social security income. Luckily there are plenty of resources out there with financial tips for making the most of your retirement so take some time to research what will work best for your situation.
1. Map Out How You Will Spend Your Time
When you’re busy mapping out your retirement plan, it can be easy to focus all of your attention on the money, and while a strong savings account will definitely help you retire happily—it’s not the only thing you should consider. Part of deciding how to enjoy retirement also includes determining how you’d like to spend your time.
According to AARP, for some retirees continuing with part-time work is a good way to spend part of the day. This can be great for your budget, but many people also appreciate the validation and social opportunities that certain jobs can provide. There are plenty of other ways to spend your time though. Perhaps you have a bucket list of things you’ve been meaning to do? Places you’ve been meaning to travel? Projects you’ve been meaning to start? Now’s the time to start thinking about those things.
Consider planning out a schedule. It might seem silly at first, but setting up a routine for yourself can help you own your time better and get into a new rhythm of doing things.
2. Pick An Affordable Location
Many people choose to relocate when they retire. This isn’t a terrible idea if you have no ties to your current community or if you’re in search of an active retirement community. But how do you pick a state for retirement? While there are plenty of criteria, selecting an affordable retirement states could be on the top of your list. Some of the top affordable retirement states include Texas, Connecticut, and Florida. But there are many others.
Consider the type of activities you love most and the type of weather that it’s best to do those activities. Even if you don’t have family in the area, finding the right community could help you retire happily.
3. Make Retirement Fun
This might seem obvious, but don’t forget to make retirement fun. There are always a lot of things to consider when making major life decisions—especially when finances are involved. But it’s important to make your retirement fun, too. After all, you’ve spent your life working towards it. And while you might not be sure right now how to enjoy retirement, the more conversations you have with yourself about it the better off you’ll be.
What are the golden years to you? To retire happily, you’ll want to have a well-thought-out answer for that. Because a lot of factors might go into planning your retirement—and you might feel pressured to make other people happy, too. But at the end of the day, deciding how to enjoy retirement should really be up to you.
Contributed to The 55+ Society
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