When you’re a new retiree, staring at that blank page where your work schedule used to be, time might seem so abundant that you forget just how valuable it really is. But if you treat retirement like an endless weekend, you might be surprised to look up in a month, a year, or a couple years, and realize you don’t feel as fulfilled as you thought you’d be. All those hours puttering around the house might suddenly feel like a precious resource you’ve wasted.
Being a good steward of your time is a skill that will only become more important as you progress in retirement. Here are some ideas to help you manage your days with a sense of purpose and contentment that will improve your Return on Life.
1. Create a new daily routine.
You’re going to love those first few days without an alarm clock rushing you towards your work commute. But your days are going to start lumping together into a repetitive blah without structure and purpose.
Your new retirement routine doesn’t have to be as rigid as your old working one. The goal should be to create a flexible routine that gives you time for a variety of activities, both alone and with the people you love. Start by adding some simple anchor activities, like a morning walk or an afternoon cup of coffee with your neighbor. Then block of time for your favorite hobbies, like a Friday morning round of golf or a weekly trip to the library. As your schedule starts to fill up, you’ll gain a clearer perspective on how much time you have, how you’re using it, and how to use it better.
2. Prioritize your passions.
When you were working and raising a family, it’s likely that you had to put your hobbies and interests to the side as you focused on other responsibilities. In retirement, you can give those passions a more prominent place on your schedule. Work with a coach to get better at your favorite sport and enjoy the games you love even more. Devote more time to your favorite craft and turn hobbies into real skills. Take weekly volunteer positions with organizations that are making a difference in your community. Start scheduling all the bucket list trips you’ve delayed over the years. Or develop that business idea that’s been incubating for your whole career into a new company that you can lead as CEO.
3. Nurture your relationships.
The more people you share your time with in retirement, the more rewarding your retirement is going to be. Set aside time in your new schedule to deepen your connections to your friends and family. Call up retired friends and your old colleagues and schedule some lunch dates. Get your old foursome back together on the weekends. See if your grandkids need a volunteer coach or a tutor. Mentor the next generation of professionals who are just starting out in your field. If you’re married, sit down with your spouse and discuss how both of you are envisioning an ideal retirement: the things you want to do together, and the individual passions you want to pursue separately. Stop putting off the big vacations that never fit into your work schedule and treat your whole family to a dream trip.
4. Leave room to experiment.
Most successful retirees will tell you that retirement isn’t a one-time life transition: it’s an ongoing process that you will refine over time. Allow for some trial and error. Take chances on new opportunities and new experiences. Spend some time doing things you’ve never dreamed of trying and you might find that your retirement is more full of promise and possibility than you ever realized.
Let’s meet to discuss how our Life-Centered Planning process and interactive tools can help you get more out of your time and your money in retirement.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC, Advisory services may be offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, or IFG Advisory, LLC., a registered investment advisor. Integrated Financial Group and IFG Advisory, LLC. are separate entities from LPL Financial. This article was prepared for Paul Peeler’s use.