5 Tips for Transitioning to Full-Time Retirement

Navigating retired life requires very different skills from the working world.

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When the time comes to retire, will you be ready to make the move? It has taken many of us 65 years to arrive at this crossroad. After years of planning and saving, some individuals will be anxious to transition into retirement with a bang, while others may fade into retirement as they are forced out of jobs. What we all have in common is that we have never done this retirement thing before. What if we are not very good at it?

Transitioning into a retired life that suits your personal tastes and requirements does not just happen. Here’s how to prepare yourself for full-time retirement:

Learn to entertain yourself. It’s fun to imagine what we will do in retirement, but those daydreams may not reflect the reality of living each day as a retiree. Retirees are not subject to the requirements of a job and have less responsibilities foisted upon them by others. But that sudden freedom can also be frustrating. How will we fill our days with worthwhile activities to occupy and engage us for the coming months and years? You alone will need to fill your days with the activities you most enjoy, while at the same time balancing your desire for peace and quiet.

Learn to relax. We have learned to work hard on the job, waste no time, and get projects done on schedule. Some people may find it challenging to flip a switch from being a hard-charging go-getter to a free-time-on-our-hands retiree. They may experience feelings of guilt if their day is not filled with productive activities. But it is important to realize that those busy demanding times are behind us. We now have the luxury of doing what we want, including doing nothing at all. Retirement is our time to finally escape and establish a pace of living that is most right for us. It is not always easy to transition from a major player on the job to a happily retired person.

Learn to take care of yourself. Once you are no longer required to fit into your carefully tailored business suits, you may find yourself somewhat lacking in motivation to stay in tip-top shape. But good health in mind and body are important components of a fulfilling and happy retirement. A healthy retiree can be better equipped to handle the challenges that come with aging, while at the same time making the most of retired life. It makes sense as a retiree to use some of your free time to develop a better fitness routine.

Learn to balance your time. One of the big attractions of retirement is the free time we will have to do what we really want to do. But it can be amazing how quickly that free time fills itself with activities and projects. You don’t want to find yourself in the same hurried world you hoped to leave behind when you quit your job. Remember to set aside quality time for the most important people in your life, including family, friends, and yourself. In addition to all of the hobbies and passions you will pursue, it can help to earmark some time to spend with those closest to you.

Learn to take things in stride. You will not always be able to do the same things you could in your youth. An aging body will bring new challenges, and difficulties cannot always be avoided. If you can accept this without overdue stress and look forward to the good things that life still has to offer, you will be better equipped for retired life. It may take a little longer and you may be a little slower, but that is normal. Do your best to take aging in stride and with good humor.

Dave Bernard is the author of I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.