We look forward to retirement so much. It is a time to finally escape the rat race and relax; to no longer worry about debt and kids’ education. But is it really a blessing? For some, retirement seems more like a curse. Too much free time but with much less vitality to enjoy retirement to its fullest.
Travelling around Australia is harder when you have ongoing age-related health issues. Spending quality time with friends may be difficult if they have not yet retired or have moved away. How do you build your social circle back up?
Yes, you can join yoga classes or become a member of a golf club. Of course, you should start walking more and exercising regularly. You know this! Building social connections and staying active to settle into retirement is not a new phenomenon.
The question is not what and how, but when.
The main reason retirement is seen as a curse is because you go from being surrounded by people, to being alone. Having retirement conversations with friends and family members early will give you an indication of who will be available and who you will be happy to spend your time with.
It’s never too early to join group strength and conditioning sessions or a walking/cycling club. These activities are low-impact, low cost and social. You can also host regular book club or game/movie nights. Establishing these activities a few years before you retire will mean you have a ready-made routine of activity once you retire.
Another “curse” of retirement is having too much time. Many retirees start looking for ways to stay busy once they retire, when you should be planning your transition into retirement at least 10 years before your retirement date. This will also ensure you are prepared for sudden unplanned retirement due to poor health for example. Another thing to set up years before your retirement are activities that will keep you busy for several hours during the day. For example, volunteer your time for charity during the weekend or evenings, then increase those hours once you retire.
You’ll have built up strong relationships with your colleagues and made new friends to socialise with outside work. Or you could start off as a helper at your local Scouts group one evening a week and progress to scout leader when you retire and have more time. You would have built up experience and rapport, and scout groups are always looking for long-term committed volunteers.
Finally, relationships often fall victim of the “retirement curse”. When a couple suddenly find themselves spending all day every day with their each other, it can be quite an adjustment. Don’t wait until retirement to realise you no longer have anything in common. Start going on regular date nights and spend more time together as a couple rather than always doing something with family and friends.
Write a list of activities that interests you both and try them out. You may both enjoy bowling, but while your partner would be happy joining the bowling club, you may only enjoy it occasionally. The more activities you try together, the closer you will be to finding one you both enjoy equally.
The key to all of this is to start early and try different activities until you find the ones you are happy with. Chop and change as much as you want until you have established the perfect balance of activity, relaxation and quality time with your loved ones.
If you are nearing retirement, contact us to discuss your future plans and how we can help set you up for success.