As you get older, it’s natural to start wondering how to have a happy retirement. You may ask yourself questions about when and where to retire, whether your relationships with others will change, and what happiness looks like without a day-to-day job and routine. Here are tips that could help you make the most of your well-deserved retirement.
It can be helpful to estimate the age you plan to retire and then work toward it. Your timeframe may affect your investments and financial planning, and having a goal can help you stay focused on planning for a happy retirement.
It can get a little more complicated if you have a spouse or partner and want to coordinate with them. Start talking about it early, because you may have different ideas about when to retire.
When planning a move, retirees these days have their pick of domestic and international destinations. Whether you’re thinking about moving down the street or to another hemisphere, moving can be a major production, and it can take time to plot your moves.
Agreeing or compromising with your spouse on a vision for retirement
It may take patience, communication, and compromise to land on a life plan that suits you and your partner.
If you’re lucky, you and your partner are in complete harmony about your retirement plans. But it doesn’t always work out that way. Many couples disagree about the age when they plan to retire and how much savings they’ll need.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to make sure you both agree on how you want to spend your time—and where to spend it. Many people look forward to moving in retirement, for instance, but what can you do if one person wants to move to a cold climate to be near family while the other wants to avoid cold weather at all costs? It could be urban versus rural, domestic versus international, or any number of options.
Opening the lines of communication and beginning to negotiate a compromise where both of you feel like a winner is a great place to start. It may even be worthwhile to visit a therapist or counselor to learn new ways to interact and live together. You both worked hard to get to retirement, now it’s time to find a way for both of you to enjoy it.
Make the most of your time in retirement
Retirement can be a dramatic lifestyle change, in some cases. How do you envision spending your new free time? You may be able to embark on new activities and adventures or spend more time on hobbies you already love.
If you have a spouse or partner, it’s a great opportunity to do things together and build more shared experiences. Taking the time to explore some ideas before retirement can help you transition with a purpose.
The freedom of retirement can be scary, boring, or exciting—maybe all 3 at the same time. To help with the adjustment, you could take on new responsibilities, rediscover family relationships, or make new friends.
Division of responsibilities at home
With more free time, there’s more time for chores or projects. Housework doesn’t always have to fall along such starkly gendered lines. However it shakes out in your house, with more time to pitch in and more time to spend with a spouse or partner, retirement is a good time to revisit roles and responsibilities.
Establishing new roles in your relationship
Before retirement you may not have spent much time with your spouse or partner during the typical 9–5 workday. Now that you both may be spending a lot more time together, it’s important to get on the same page about schedules and routines.
Anecdotes of newly retired spouses being aggravatingly underfoot or bored at home are quite common, like alphabetizing the spice rack on their first day of retirement or deciding to pull holiday decorations down from the attic to repackage and reorganize them by room.
How will you think about retirement, approach it, or adjust to new schedules and routines? For many people, it takes some negotiating to figure out how to live together again under new circumstances, even if you’re in the same shared space as you were before retirement.
Reconnecting with friends and family
Work takes up a lot of time and attention. Without a full-time career demanding your energy, retirement can be a time to reconnect with family and strengthen your connections. Whether it’s connecting virtually through social media and video chat or taking trips to see people you haven’t seen regularly, retirement can be a time to revitalize those relationships.