Making the Most of Your Retirement

We all know that staying physically active is important at any age, as is of course, keeping mentally sharp.

Throughout our adult lives, this is a constant; what we may fail to realize, however, is that staying active during our retirement years is not only important, it’s imperative.

Retirement: A New Phase of Life

The retirement experience of baby boomers will be quite different than those of our parents and grandparents. Because of increased longevity, many of us will spend as many if not more years in retirement as we did working.

Realizing that retirement is not merely a transitory state, but rather another critical phase of our lives can set the stage for making decisions that will make the most of these years.

Failing to Plan May mean Planning to Fail

Having the mindset  that retirement is a long-term proposition, just as our working lives have been, can lead us to an important discovery before we receive our final paycheck: this upcoming phase of life needs to be planned for. In fact, having a 5 or 10 year plan in place can help us focus our energy on what will be important  during the next quarter-century, plus.

While planning is critical, staying active during our retirement years will eventually come down to what we plan to do with the extra hours in the day that will come along with them — these every day choices will ultimately determine the quality of these years. Following are some ideas to incorporate into our post-work lives:

  • Continue to be an early riser. A recent article in US News and World Report suggests that although it will be nice not to HAVE to be at work at a certain time every morning, rising early can add several hours of mental stimulation to our day. Whether through taking online classes, learning a new language or taking up where we left off playing the piano or painting when we were younger, hours devoted to such tasks can add to the quality of our daily lives in tremendous ways.
  • Have a sense of purpose. According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, older adults who had a clear sense of purpose outlived those who did not. Devoting hours to volunteering can give us a sense of purpose, as can returning to work on  a part-time basis.
  • Keep physically active The old adage move it or lose it is certainly never more true than it is after retirement. Physical activity i not only keeps us our muscles and joints more agile as we age (important in staving off bone-fracturing falls), it also helps with our overall mental and emotional fitness.
  • Maintain a strong social network It’s important to find new ways to socially interact with others during retirement — by default, the workplace provided us with plenty of opportunities to establish and maintain a network of social relationships. Once we reach retirement age, we may have to be more creative. Some new activities that will help in this regard is to join a gym, go back to school (many colleges and universities allow seniors to audit classes free of charge), or become more politically involved in your local community.

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