How to Plan for Retirement (Or Fix Things Afterwards) by Bob Lowry
*What do I do all day after retirement?
* Where should I live?
* What if I need more money?
* I get bored easily - now what?
* Why didn't I do this years ago?
All excellent retirement questions. In fact, after eight years of writing Satisfying Retirement these are the ones I am asked most often. If you have lots of time, you can explore the archive of old posts listed down the left side of this page where you will find all the original posts with my answers.
Or, you can stay right here and get the summary versions. I've included links to full posts if you'd like to explore a subject a bit deeper.
The short answer is, whatever you want. Retirement is the one time in your life when you have almost total control of your time. If you like to sleep late or get up at the crack of dawn, that is your choice. Are you most productive first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, or at midnight? Match what you want to do with when you can get the most accomplished.
Do you want to sit on the porch or hike through the woods, bathing yourself in nature's sights, sounds and smells? Or, are you happier at a coffee shop in the middle of a bustling urban setting? Is your idea of heaven a good book and a cup of tea, an old Humphrey Bogart movie, a Beethoven symphony at full volume, or total silence and a yoga mat?
Retirement means you build your day your way. Read all about it here: What do you do all day?
You should live where you are happiest. The reality may not be that simple. Budget restrictions or family commitments may affect your answer. Do you want to live closer to family or stay near friends you have now? Do you move for climate reasons? For a more complete answer, click here: Moving to be near family - a good idea? or try this post: The best place for you to retire
I suggest not moving to someplace different for at least a year after you retire; stopping work and relocating are two huge stress creators. Give yourself time to adjust to your new life first. With no more commuting and a more relaxed daily schedule you may discover that where you live now holds all sorts of opportunities and joys you had overlooked.
Actually that question can be answered one of two ways: adjust how you live and spend less, or generate some additional income. The first approach is the easier of the two. Spending after retirement normally falls anywhere from 20-50% of what you needed while working. You may not need more money at all if you adjust your consumption habits to match your new lifestyle. Check out this post: How much money do I need to retire?
If you really are cash poor there are several options you can pursue, from part time to full time work (unretiring is perfectly OK), turning a hobby into a money-making venture, or starting a business. For more details I refer you to this article, 50 ways to earn money in retirement.
Becoming bored when you have the time and freedom to do what you like and look for new passions or activities that fill your day with joy should not happen. It may mean you have to kick yourself in the behind, get off the coach, out the door, or to the nearest park. If might mean a period of being a little out of your comfort zone as you stretch yourself a bit.
I remember being bored when I was traveling so much each week. I had little to occupy me at night in all the thousands of hotel rooms and plane flights. AT home, I didn't have a hobby or passion that I could use to recharge.
Now, boredom is not an issue in my retirement. Yes, it took a while to find out what I really liked to do. I discovered strengths and interests I didn't know i had until I gave myself permission to try. Read this post for some more encouragement.
If you are asking that question then you have solved the riddle of the ones above it. Congratulations, you are enjoying a truly satisfying retirement.
By Bob Lowry