When one retires many things happen but it’s the reality of changing our lifestyle that hits us first. We go from a regular daily schedule that required us to juggle several balls, to having full days open. As women we’re up early, we used our lunch hours to run errands, and by the time one is off work there’s the kid’s activities, homework, dinner, laundry etc. Even though I wouldn’t trade it for anything, when the opportunity for retirement came about 10 years early, I took it.
I had 4 months to adjust and make plans; there were many questions. Can we afford this, what will I do with myself, what will this do to my health insurance, how or will this affect my marriage? Is this really what I want to do etc.?
What has retirement meant for me? It has been time to slow down the hectic pace of all those years, time to do all those things I had always wanted to do like, learn to make a good pie crust, paint the inside of my house, learn to fly fish, join a 9 hole golf group, read, start learning more about healthy eating and holistic health, time to keep in touch with friends and relatives that the main contact had been Christmas Card greetings and time to get back to me, I’m willing to be a little selfish and take care of me, because now I can.
The steps I took to prepare for retirement: First and foremost you must get your head around it, once you have accepted retirement then there are a few things that need to be done. I thoroughly went through our budget and began to cut here and there I was amazed at just how much I was able to cut from our budget. This extra money was a financial plus. This in itself was a relief and a sense of accomplishment, I traded in our larger SUV for a new smaller SUV, this lowered our monthly gas bill substantially. I changed our cell phone plan, and our car insurance, and I paid off some bills. The next step was to make a new monthly budget and a commitment to stick to it then I made an “I’ve always wanted to do that list.”
You can’t retire cold turkey you have to plan for physical and mental realities. Your initial days need to be busy to wean oneself off the hectic or regular schedule/routine. Try planning a two week trip soon after your last day of work to get into a more relaxed mode. Then your “list” it needs to be a lengthy one, of small to large projects from painting the house, planting a garden or taking classes, to restoring a car, you get the picture. I also found if you still wanted a little added income then seek a part-time job, talk to your CPA first to see just how much money you can make before you get hit with taxes. There are many things that only require a few hours a week, like helping with catering jobs, babysitting, helping an elderly person in their yard or with house work, just be creative.
My days are full and I am the most relaxed I have ever been. I still do the many things I did years ago just now I’m not hurrying to get it all done. I can take my time at the grocery store, or the garden store, it so nice to browse, and I don’t have to have to rush to a dentist or doctor appointment or even getting the oil changed. I have time to plan nice dinners, go to lunch with friends and get a facial and massage when I want too. For me retirement means owning my own time.I made the right decision I have no desire to go back to work!