Call it what you will. In reality, retirement is little more than a career change.
It is rare for a person to move from a job with a regular paycheck into a stay-at-home life with little more to do than sit on the couch and watch television. You may not be moving into another full time job or even part-time work, but for most retirees happiness comes with finding useful ways to fill the void after leaving the nine to five grind.
According to clinical psychologist Jill Steinberg it’s the people who don’t think about what they are going to do in retirement before they leave their job who have the most trouble making the transition. But there are steps you can take after you leave full time work to develop your life’s “second act.”
In an article for Everyday Health, Katherine Lee offered tips she says will help you create a new life that is as happy and stimulating as you want it to be.
1. Take your time
This might surprise you. Life is a transition and it doesn’t happen overnight. So after you leave your job take the time to relax, travel, or to do something you have wanted to do. In doing so you have some all-important “me time” and you’ll also have time for ideas to percolate in your brain.
2. Define retirement
Retirement’s different for everyone but you probably have some ideas about how you would like to spend retirement. Write them down. List the ones you believe are most important for you first. Be specific. Don’t just write down “travel.” For example, write, “Take a gondola ride in Venice.”
3. Take an honest look at your financial situation.
Most people discover they need to supplement social security and savings with at least some part-time employment. That is not a sign of failure. More than anything else it’s a sign of the times, so you’re probably not alone.
4. Keep moving and stay active
Make time for regular exercise. Not only is it good for your body, it helps your mind stay sharp as well.
5. Maintain an active social network
This should be an important part of your retirement plan. Consider the social network you have now and how you would like to build it. This is a network of friends who can to you with the overall enjoyment of life.
6. Keep your skills current
Remember your skills are a selling point that can separate you from the pack and could open doors for you. Don’t shy away from classes that could strengthen the skills you already have and lead to certifications that may make you more attractive to potential employers.
7. Be flexible
It’s important to have a plan but we all know plans don’t always work out. Wanting a second act in the workforce is good, but when your first choice for a second career evaporates take a good look at your transferable skills that could be keys to opening other doors of opportunity.
8. Finally, a successful transition to retirement isn’t always easy
Don’t resist the idea to seek help from a retirement specialist for professional advice and guidance in making the transition.
It’s been said “unretirement” is the new retirement. The fact is few have the financial reserves to live a retirement life without at least part time work.
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