Many of us look forward to retirement, and are excited about the prospect of quitting a job and getting ready to spend time relaxing. But could quitting your job be hazardous to your health? According to a recent study from the Institute for Economic Affairs in the U.K., you could actually see long-term health declines after you retire. The study points out that you could see a short-term boost in mood, but over the long-term, retirement can lead to a drop in physical and mental health.
There have been numerous studies in recent years that indicate the importance of social interactions as we age, and one of the reasons that retirement might be hazardous to your health is that you could lose a major source of social interaction once you no longer have a job.
When you have a job, you have a reason to get up in the morning. You have a purpose, and you have social engagements with others. You might even be required to move around a little bit, keeping your level of physical activity up. Once you retire, there are fewer reasons to get out of the house. A job isn't always about the money; sometimes you also need to consider your quality of life.
Replacing your job with something else. In order to avoid the problems that can come with retiring, it helps to have a plan to replace your job with something else. What else do you enjoy doing? What can you do to keep busy and form social ties once you have moved on from your career?
Planning what you want to do with your time is an important part of retirement planning that is often neglected. Some of the things you can do instead of work at a traditional job include:
- Go back to school
- Travel as part of a tour group
- Work part-time
- Start a second career in something new
- Adopt a new hobby
- Learn a new skill
- Develop a talent
- Start a new business
These items may provide you with mental and physical challenges. Many of the things you can do to improve your quality of life in retirement can also encourage social interaction. If you feel as though you are meeting interesting people and accomplishing meaningful work, it is more likely that you will stave off feelings of depression and isolation.
Of course, what you do depends largely on how much money you have saved up for retirement. If you want to travel the world or start a new business, you might need a decent-sized nest egg to keep up with your costs. If you don’t have a large nest egg, you might be required to work part-time, or do a little consulting or freelance work on the side in order to stretch your retirement account further.
As you plan your retirement, don’t forget about what you will actually do. Simply trying to hit a number for the size of your nest egg doesn’t carry the same impact as making a plan. Figure out how you want to spend your time in retirement, and then calculate how much money you will need to make it happen.