Retirement is a period of life that most of us look forward to. But it can also be a challenging lifestyle adjustment, particularly if you’re someone who’s used to keeping busy. So if you’re after ideas on how to fill all the hours you used to spend at work, here are a few to get you started.
1. Lend a helping hand
There are plenty of ways you can give back to the community – whether it’s putting your professional skills to use or trying something completely new. For example, you might consider volunteering with a local charity, at a hospital or with an environmental organisation. You could also tutor or mentor kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, or teach music or craft at a local school.
2. Work your brain
Retirement is a wonderful chance to learn something new – from taking a tafe or university course to learning a new language, or trying out brain-trainers like Sudoku, cryptic crosswords or bridge.
And while the research still isn’t definitive, there’s some evidence that staying mentally active in retirement can even help reduce cognitive decline and protect against the onset of dementia.
3. Stay connected
When you’re not seeing your colleagues every day, it’s easy to feel isolated. A great way to meet like-minded retirees is to join a local group that shares a common interest, whether it’s a book club, bushwalking club or choir. You’ll be able to learn and have fun, while staying connected with your community as well.
4. Keep fit
If retirement means your lifestyle is now less active, it’s important to stay fit and healthy through regular exercise. Walking, golf, swimming and cycling are all good ways to get out and about while staying in shape. If you’re not really an exercise junkie, there are other ways to keep moving, like taking up dance, tai chi or yoga.
But if you’re already leading an active life, consider setting a goal like an ocean swim or hiking expedition. It will help motivate you to stay fit and keep your body and mind healthy.
5. Go on an adventure
After years of hard work, it’s time for an escape. There are holiday options for all tastes and budgets, from overseas package tours and all-inclusive luxury cruises, to DIY caravanning across Australia.
But before you pack your bags, ask your financial adviser to help you put together a budget so your dream holiday doesn’t break the bank.
6. Sow the seeds
If you’ve got a green thumb, then why not take up gardening and turn your own backyard into a lush paradise? It doesn’t just have to be flowers; you could grow fruit and vegetables and even save some money on groceries.
If you don’t have a yard, you can still create a garden indoors. Simply put some pots and hanging plants in a part of the house that gets lots of sunshine, like your kitchen or balcony.
7. Find a furry friend
Even if your kids have flown the nest, you can still find someone who needs your daily love and care. It may not have been practical for you to own a pet while you were working, but retirement may be the perfect time to discover the joys of having an animal companion. And if you get a dog you’ll need to walk it daily, which has the added bonus of helping you to stay fit and active.
But first: future proof your finances
Whether you’re just starting to think about retirement or you’ve already left the workforce, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your financial adviser. They’ll help ensure you have the income you need for your retirement years, giving you the financial freedom to enjoy your new interests and hobbies.