You know what they say… money can’t buy happiness. And life in retirement is no different.  It’s not all about how much you’ve managed to save during your working life, it’s just as important to plan a happy lifestyle for life after work.

And this can be tricky to do because we all get so busy with life and family that too often, people retire and ask “What do I do now?”

If you’re 5 to 10 years out from retirement, you need to start planning. Use your weekends or perhaps a holiday to start thinking about and picturing your ideal retirement. Here are a few tips to consider.

Staying active

Think about how you are going to stay active, which is so important for your overall health and wellbeing. The good news is you’ll have more time on your hands so perhaps you could finally join that gym or try a new sport and join a club. If you can do activities with a group of people, you’ll get the extra benefit of social interaction, which links nicely into tips number 2….

Staying social

A recent study found that older people who regularly socialise with friends, were significantly happier in life than those that don’t.  It has also been shown to improve mental health and boost positive emotions, and fights off potential negative feelings of loneliness and boredom.

For some this is easier said than done.  Remember also that your work colleagues are often a big part of your social network, so once you stop seeing them every day you may find it hard to maintain these friendships.

You may need to invest some energy into building new social ties with new friends who share your interests or live within your local community.  A great way to do that is by staying active within your community and getting involved in local groups.

Working and volunteering

Now, although you may have left full time work, you may choose to continue working on a part time or casual basis after you “retire”.  Part-time work can be a great way to supplement your income and help your savings last longer. You may even have a go at setting up that business you’ve always wanted to try or start a hobby that could turn into some extra income on the side.

And if you don’t need the extra income, you could consider doing some volunteer work in your community, not only for the social aspect but it also provides a sense of purpose and pride, by making a positive contribution to your community.

Travel

Of course a lot of retirees like to spend their time travelling and seeing new places.  Whether on luxury cruises or by joining the grey nomads around Australia. Whatever you preferred holiday option, consider the potential budget you may need for your planned travel, as it can consume a big chunk of your early expenses.

Family commitments

Having more time to spend with family can be one of the greatest rewards of retirement. Many retirees love to be involved with caring for grandchildren. Having finished work, they have fewer responsibilities to juggle and may welcome the chance to focus attention on their newest family members.

However, taking on too much responsibility for the care of others  – whether that’s grandchildren and/or elderly parents – can limit the time you have to look after yourself and do other things you enjoy. And when it comes to helping family out with money, be sure your generosity doesn’t get the better of you leaving you financially vulnerable.

Location

Where you live can often be one of the most important choices to make for your future wellbeing in retirement. It can have a big impact on your lifestyle and who you’ll spend your time with.  Whilst a sea change or a tree change might sound appealing for many reasons, you need to consider the potential impact of moving away from family and friends, and having to build new social networks.  Access to medical and health services can also be an important factor.

Alternatively you might want to stay where you are, but would consider downsizing into a smaller place.  This can allow you to move somewhere that’s easier to maintain and ‘lock up and leave’ if you’re planning to travel.  Financially, it’s a way to release some of the equity in your current home to help fund your retirement.

So, if you’re getting closer to that last day of work, start thinking about it now and make sure you retire with a plan.

Find out how we can help you achieve your plan and live the best retirement you can. Contact one of our advisers today for a no-obligation discussion.