August 26th, 2014 | Miller Advisors

Finishing the journey well: how to stay balanced after retirement

Life is a journey, we are born, we grow, we live, we work, we grow old and we die. Throughout this life journey we’re faced with milestones that can be tough to conquer.

The milestone from college to adulthood is one that many struggle with, but many also struggle with transitioning form the rigors of adult life to the changes of retirement and older years. If you’re facing this transition, or you have parents who are, here are a few things to consider.

Step 1: Communicate your fears

Know that as with any transition, it can be scary. There are a lot of unknowns, some intimidating changes and a radical shift in what has been known as daily life.

Communication is the best tool you have to deal with the fear that comes with the transition. Communicate with your spouse, siblings, or friends in this time about what you’re going through.

If you’ve got a parent going through the transition, be supportive, but not intrusive. If they need to talk, listen and love them, don’t dismiss them. If they need company, plan a monthly or weekly time that you can spend together, whether it’s over coffee and lunch or at one of your houses with the grand-kids.

 Step 2: Have a plan

If your plan is to just stop working altogether and live the “retired life,” this will not work for most people. Just like everyone tells college students to have a plan for what they will do when they graduate, adults need a plan for what they will do when they retire. What should your plan include? Friends, finances, free time and fitness.

Just because you’re retiring it doesn’t make you a hermit. People were made to be with other people, so you need to get out and spend time with other people. Maybe it’s a game of golf, a cup of coffee, church, community group or spending more time with the family. Spending time with other people will help your mind stay active and your attitude stay cheerful.

  • Many people worry about their finances when they retire. While some have the benefit of social security, for many this doesn’t cover basic needs. You can get a part-time job doing something you always wanted to do, you can start a small business helping others, or you can fulfill your dream and work on your hobby (crafting, knitting, woodwork, etc.) and sell your creations on Etsy or Ebay.
  • Free time is something that many people seek throughout their lives. As you’re planning for your retirement, keep a running list of things you want to do when you retire. Things like go on vacations, read books, write a book, spend time with your grand-kids and take classes in cooking. Make your list as specific as possible and you’ll never run out of things to do.
  • Fitness will help you stay in shape and enjoy your retirement well. Join a walking club in your community or online, try exercises like yoga and biking, and do exercises that will help you keep muscle tone and balance well into your senior years.

Step 3: Take it one day at a time

Maybe you’ve lived the life of a work-a-holic until now. If that’s the case, now you can implement some life balance and really enjoy your life. Plan at least 2 activities for each day that will give you a chance to relax like reading a book, meeting a friend for lunch, or visiting a local park.

So what’s the best news about transitioning from a busy adult life to a retired adult life? You can do it! As a retired adult, you have just as many possibilities and opportunities, if not more, than you did a busy adult. You just have to be proactive and have a plan for what you want your retirement and future to look like.

If you’re approaching this transition, or are struggling with it, here are a few resources to check out:

The Transition Network  (for women over 50), The First 30 Days, Belief Net , Care 2, and The Intelligent Optimist.

Each of these communities can give you support you need to successfully transition from a busy adult to a balanced retired adult.

Source: Laura Dickey

Image: Jill Clardy

This information is general in nature, is not a complete statement for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or a solicitation to buy or sell any security. Investments and strategies mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.