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5 Things A Newly Retired Person Should Do To Make The Most Out Of Retirement

Get the next chapter of your life started off right with our top five tips for the newly retired.

First, congrats on making it to retirement (or even thinking about retirement in advance.) The cliché vision of retired life usually involves relaxing under an umbrella on the beach or long days of golf, but retirement means different things to different people. Retirement, of course, refers to a time when you stop working in your career full time, but it doesn’t mean you have to just pack it in.

Retirement can present a great opportunity to finally have time to focus on something other than your career. It’s easy to forget that we don’t need to be defined by our work. Retirement for many can finally allow the freedom to explore more of our personal hobbies and interests. So before you settle into your newly retired routine, take a little time to reflect while also setting yourself up -- and embrace the next chapter in the most inspiring way possible. 

Finances

Most people will need to adjust to a fixed income upon retirement. It’s worth consulting with a financial planner to help create a budget and make sure you understand your resources. If you're not into meeting with a person you can try out a really helpful online financial aggregation service and keep track of all your financial assets in one place.

Social Security

You’ll need to decide when to start receiving your Social Security benefits. Those who opt for an earlier benefit, as early as 62, will receive a smaller amount. If it’s possible to wait until 70, you will receive your largest possible amount.

401Ks and IRAs

It’s important to understand how to manage your withdrawals from your 401K and IRA plans to ensure you’re living comfortably, budgeting for the duration of retirement, and avoiding getting penalized by taxes. You may want to talk to an investment advisor about readjusting your investments to best suit your financial goals. 

Health

The happiest retirements are the healthiest retirements. The first thing to do sorta aligns with finances, since health expenses aren’t getting any cheaper. By now you should have Medicare all lined up, and you may even have supplemental insurance as well. Whatever your insurance situation, make sure you’re on top of all the bills and rate changes to avoid paying unnecessary fees. In the past you may have been too busy to deal with an unexpected or questionable charge; now that you’ve got time, block out as much as you want to get to the bottom of any potential issues. Treat it like a part time job, which can save you money and make you feel more in control of your coverage.

You should also get ahead of any lingering medical issues. If you’ve neglected aches and pains in the past, now’s the time to get them checked out. Meet with your doctor to make sure you’re including daily fitness and nutrition that support your wellbeing. Local community centers, meetup groups, and wellness classes are a great way to stay motivated.

Make Connections

Loneliness can be a shock to the system upon retirement, especially if you spent many years surrounded by coworkers. You might even long for those meetings you used to despise just to regularly interact with other humans. It’s important to include social connections as part of your new routine during your retirement years.

You might consider joining new groups and activities to meet like-minded new friends, perhaps even devoting yourself to a cause that matters now that you have the time. You should also rekindle connections with friends and family you may have lost touch with over the years; odds are some of them are going through the same adjustment to retirement as well. Studies have repeatedly shown that longevity and happiness are associated with social connections. So don’t forget to make this a priority.

Important Paperwork

Take some time to organize your files and important paperwork, and share the location of where you keep them with loved ones. If you haven’t already, create (or update) your estate plan. You should organize all your important IDs, financial documents as well as keep an ongoing record of your passwords and logins. Check out our Essential Planning Checklist. An organized filing system will help alleviate stress in both the short and long term. 

Follow Your Joys

Now it's time for the fun part. Retirement gives you more time to dedicate to the activities you love. Maybe you want to spend more time with grandchildren or try new hobbies. There are endless opportunities to continue learning and growing. In fact, if you’re so inclined every state offers free or low cost college classes for seniors. There are ways to start small part-time businesses, volunteer, or fill your days with a variety of activities. While work gives you a routine and a sense of purpose, you now have the time to create your new routines and explore your passions. Take afternoon naps, catch up on books and shows you’ve missed out on, finish those lingering projects you’ve always wanted to complete, and take relaxing early evening walks with family and friends around the neighborhood. This is your time to do whatever makes you happy.

Written by Ingrid Alt

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