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Being Happy in Retirement
Retirement, like much of life, can be a complicated balance. AARP offers some suggestions for upping the odds that you will be happy in retirement:
First, make sure you feel ready to retire. This is not the same as deciding whether you can afford it. This step involves thinking about how you will feel leaving your job. Will you miss the work or the people or the clients?
Ask yourself what you will do in retirement. Retirement was pretty easy to fill when most people died fairly soon after. But you might easily live decades in retirement. How will you fill the time? Have an idea before you pick up that gold watch. You might want to consider a new career, like consulting or teaching part-time. You might want to volunteer for causes that matter to you. You might want to continue a hobby or take up a new one. The important thing is to think about how you will spend your time in ways that are meaningful to you.
Think about the positive ways retirement will change your life. You will be able to go to a movie or shop for groceries or schedule a doctor appointment any time, since you no longer will have a regular job. You can pursue a new skill or travel or do whatever you want to do.
Determine what your children’s roles will be. Living close to your children as you age can be a benefit, especially if you experience health issues. And spending time with your kids, grandkids and even great-grandkids can be fun and help keep you engaged in life. Just make sure you set some guidelines; you probably don’t want to be swamped with babysitting requests.
Give some thoughts to the difficult parts of retirement. How will you find social interaction when you are no longer going to work? How will you and your spouse adjust to being together all the time? And how will you cope when one of you is no longer around?
Finally, think about whether you can afford to retire. You should have been working all along with an adviser who has been helping you prepare financially for retirement. There are many things to consider, including health care costs, costs of basic living, and your ability to do “extra” things like travel and entertain. If you cannot afford to live the retirement lifestyle you want, perhaps you should keep working a bit longer.