6 Things You Should Do Before You Retire

Who hasn’t dreamed about all the things you’d like to do once you’ve retired and you have more free time?

But why wait for retirement?  Here are six things you shouldn’t put off.

1. Travel

Travel is often number one on the list of activities people want to do when they retire and they’ll finally have the freedom to visit all the places they’ve dreamed of all these years.

You’re probably at the point of having several vacation weeks a year.  Why not make plans to go on one or two long-awaited trips now?

Many travel experiences are easier when you’re younger – and cheaper too.

It can be much more difficult to travel when you have certain health conditions and physical limitations. Even if you’re still healthy and in great shape you probably won’t have the same level of energy and endurance.

2. Hobbies

People tend to put off their hobbies and personal interests. They have a low priority when you’re busy with work.

Try out some new hobbies or other activities now to see if you find them enjoyable before you jump in whole-hog at your retirement.  It may take a while to find something you can really enjoy.

Also, some hobbies, such as photography or skiing, require start-up expenses in equipment and lessons. It might be a good idea to make that financial commitment while you have a salary.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one activity that’s typically put off when we’re busy, but lack of exercise is a major cause of many chronic diseases that we can become susceptible to when we age.

Incorporating an exercise program of at least 30 minutes a day leads to a healthier lifestyle once you retire.

Retired life will be more enjoyable if you’re not dealing with health problems, and medical expenses will often be greatly reduced.

4. Rekindle your important relationships

If you are married or in a long-term relationship you are going to be spending a lot of time together once you both retire. Take some time now to work on that relationship. Start a weekly “date night” if you aren’t already doing so. Take turns planning your outings to keep things fresh.

The same principle applies to your closest friends. Think about whom you like to spend time with and enjoy the most. Make plans with them now so you can have stronger bonds when you transition into retirement.   Work at making new friends who also enjoy your favourite activities.

5. Downsize your home

One way to trim expenses is to sell your oversized home and move to a smaller, more efficient place now, rather than waiting for retirement.

If you don’t need the extra space because your kids are out of the house, and costly home maintenance is taking over your weekends, why not downsize now?

Relocating to a more affordable home in the same region is a great option. Check out “adult” communities where ownership starts as low as age 45.

Not only can this slash your housing costs now, it’ll free up cash for you when you finally do retire.

6. Live on a reduced budget

Once your major expenses of children and home mortgage have disappeared, why not start living within your future means with a reduced budget that would reflect your lower retirement income?

Run the numbers.   Could you live on less and still enjoy your retirement?  You don’t really know until you try.  You can determine your cash flow and be prepared to trim your expenses if you need to.

The bottom line

Don’t postpone your life until you retire. Making retirement your lifelong primary goal could end up in disappointment once you get there.

Don’t wait for conditions to be just right.  They may still be imperfect once you retire – and then what?

Variables such as health, money and time all affect how engaging this time of life can be.

Make the best life you can right now and at retirement you’ll have a different kind of fun.

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2 Responses

  1. Gin says:

    Great list and advice! Sometimes we wish we knew things in hindsight so it is great to get the benefit from that experience laid out up front 🙂

    • Marie Engen says:

      Hi Gin. Often, we get so focused on saving for retirement and thinking about all the things we’ll do when we have more time that we forget that our lives need some balance.

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