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10 Tips for Planning a Healthy, Happy Retirement

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Planning for retirement is a life-long task. However, as the big event gets closer, the checklist gets longer and more involved. In the 10 to 15 years leading up to your retirement, you should start crunching numbers and ensure you’re on track to hang your working hat and call it a day.

Here are ten tips for planning a happy, healthy retirement. 

Pay Off Your Debts

One of the top priorities for heading into retirement is to pay off your debts. Ideally, by the time you’re ready to retire, you will be completely free of credit card debt. If possible, your mortgage and car loans should also be paid off. 

If you’re struggling with debt, consider evaluating the various debt-payment methods to see what steps you can take over the next few years to be in a more sustainable financial situation. 

Calculate Your Financial Needs

Consider how much money you currently spend as a baseline for your monthly and annual income requirements. While you may be able to make some cuts, you don’t want to limit yourself from achieving your retirement dreams, such as that big trip you’ve been looking forward to.

When calculating your financial needs, remember to account for inflation and taxes. It’s better to over-budget than to find you haven’t budgeted enough. This is a common occurrence with growing life expectancy rates and a standard retirement age of 65. While it’s difficult to think of living too long as a negative thing, it can throw a wrench in a lot of retirement plans, financially-speaking. 

Plan for Healthcare Costs

Another thing to consider when heading into retirement is planning for healthcare costs. Unfortunately, retirement comes with a decrease in income, while aging tends to lead to an increase in healthcare costs. You can offset this paradox with careful planning. 

Take some time to evaluate your Medicare options and compare Medicare Advantage plan reviews at Health. If you’re eligible, consider starting a Health Savings Account (HSA) to help pay for your health insurance premiums later. 

Evaluate Your Investments

As you near retirement age, it’s wise to work with a financial advisor to conduct regular investment check-ins. Take a long view of your investments and determine how you can maximize your contributions and get ahead. 

As you get closer to your desired retirement date, check-in with your financial advisor more often. Constant vigilance is the key to staying on top of your retirement portfolio and reaching your goals.

Set Goals and Intentions

While planning the financial aspects of your retirement is crucial, it’s not the only contributor to happiness in your golden years. One of the main challenges many retirees face is the feeling of a lack of purpose or direction. You can counteract this feeling by setting goals and intentions.

Consider the things that you’ve wanted to learn or experience that you’ve never had time for. It could be anything from piano lessons to traveling to parts unknown. Set goals for your ambitions and draft out a plan to get there. These focal points will give you something to strive toward, giving you purpose without pressure.

Create a Self-Care Strategy

Self-care is essential for healthy aging. Consider how you’ll take care of your health and wellness as you enter this new phase of your life. Your self-care strategy should encompass everything from exercise and nutrition to stress management and mindfulness.

Use this strategy as an opportunity to manage any existing conditions and practice preventative health with screening and regular check-ups. 

Explore New Social Circles

Another struggle for many retirees is a feeling of isolation or loneliness. Staying connected socially has profound impacts on both physical and mental health and wellness. Humans are social creatures, after all.

Consider engaging in community events and volunteer opportunities. Join interest groups and clubs that let you explore your passions with kindred spirits. Nourish your existing friendships and connections with regular meetups and standing dates.

Implement Structure and Schedules

In addition to having goals and a sense of purpose, it can be beneficial to add structure to your daily life post-retirement. Try to stick to a loose schedule or routine every day. 

Your daily routine doesn’t have to be a full itinerary outlining your life. You could plan to get up around the same time every day, go for a walk, enjoy your coffee, work in your garden, and go to the store on Wednesdays. 

Having structure keeps the days from flying by and leaving you wondering where they went. Your routine shouldn’t be set in stone; if you feel like doing something else, you change the schedule. 

Keep Fuelling Your Brain

Cognitive decline is a common concern with aging, and it can speed up when your mind isn’t engaged with work. Keep fuelling your brain by exploring new experiences and dedicating time to reading, doing puzzles, and lifelong learning.

Be Ready to Adapt

Finally, embrace the idea that nothing goes exactly according to plan. To enjoy your retirement, you’ll need to be ready for anything. Have contingency plans for worst-case scenarios, such as running low on money or an unexpected health situation. 

Make these plans and file them away with hopes that you’ll never have to use them. Remember to stay positive and enjoy this new chapter of your life, whatever it brings.