Preparing for retirement is a fine balance between calculating the numbers and formulating your own personal goals.
According to a recent survey, only 25% of retirees were “very confident” that they had enough funds to finance their retirement.* With only 10.6% of over 65’s currently in employment,** that points to a huge number of retirees who are not mentally at ease with their financial plans and the life that they have ahead of themselves.
Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Population Ageing found that those who were retired were twice as likely to report symptoms of depression compared to those in employment.***
This is why planning the numbers and the goals is crucial to getting it right. There are plenty of factors to consider when it comes to this, so we have configured a step-by-step guide to help you mentally prepare for all that retirement has to offer.
Financial Planning Comes First
When it comes to retirement, you should be sure that you have a financial advisor on your side helping you through the numbers. This includes calculating a number of factors such as your pension, investments and your property.
A recent survey discovered that 78% of British retirees entered the process of retirement without a plan created by a financial advisor, despite the monumental importance of pensions and retirement planning.**** When considering how you will navigate the rest of your life, it is crucial that you take the time to work with an advisor who has your best interests at heart and can guide you through the management of your assets.
Maintain Strong Social Connections
One of the positives to be taken out of the last few years is the focus being placed on maintaining social connections. According to one Gallup poll, the happiest retirees are the retirees with social connections, so to maintain your mental health it is important to take part in social events where you can. This can include volunteering at the local community centre or library, going to game nights, weekly outings, or longstanding meetings for clubs and organisations.
Similarly, setting yourself up with efficient technology can be a good way to keep in contact with relatives who live a little further afield.
Budget Your Day-To-Day Life
Living a happy retirement can include doing a fair bit more during the day than you would have done when you were e
Employed. This is especially true for those who wish to keep active and experience a bit more of the world than they had done before.
It is important to budget your day-to-day spendings as much as possible. This is not to say you should stop yourself spending your hard-earned money where you want to. On the contrary, retirement is the perfect time to treat yourself in ways you had not been able to before. But budgeting still plays a big part in achieving this. Take the time for regular check-ins with your financial advisor, as this will help you keep your finances in check and your budgets effectively realised.
Be Sure To Learn New Things
They say the best time to learn new things is when you are young and impressionable, but for many retirees, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, experts have found that learning new things at an older age can not only keep your mental state sharp, but it can also prevent cognitive decline and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.*****
If you are looking to jump into something new, then consider taking free college courses, joining a senior centre or simply taking out books from the library on a regular basis. There are plenty of ways to learn different things and, what’s more, taking classes can aid you in attaining those social connections which are so important. No matter what you choose, retirement is the perfect opportunity to find the space to learn those new things and open yourself up to a world of possibilities, whilst also improving your wellbeing and cognitive state at the same time.
Think Ahead To The Future
Of course, if you are a recent retiree, you have likely seen the moment of retirement as the moment you don’t have to be strategic about the future anymore. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although it can be difficult to talk about, you have to be aware that once you go, you are shifting the responsibility of your entire estate onto your family. Having a financial advisor to aid you through inheritance tax planning can be a good way to set both you and your family’s mind at ease.
Without the right plans in place, it could be very difficult (if not impossible) for loved ones and friends to inherit from you in the way that you would like, which is just going to make it a tougher time than it already is. With a financial advisor, however, you can draw up the correct strategies to ensure that they’re in the right place to handle your estate and make the transition of assets as easy as possible.
Keep Invested In The Present
Whilst you take the time to think ahead to the future, it is also integral to your mental wellbeing that you keep invested in the present and set yourself day to day goals. During retirement it can be easy to let the days drift by, by having goals based around your values or interests you can maintain a sense of purpose and belonging.
These do not have to be big, life-changing goals. On the contrary, small things such as decluttering your home, reading a few chapters of a new book or even taking a daily walk in nature can be enough to keep you mentally active. With this last option in mind, a good way to push yourself to venture outdoors is to adopt a new pet from a local rescue centre. Studies have also shown that caring for something other than yourself can help to ease anxiety and boost your self-confidence, making a pet a perfect companion for a happy retirement.
Carry Out Regular Health Checks
It is essential to take care of your body and your health when you are in retirement. The NHS health check programme helps to prevent heart disease, strokes, dementia, as well as kidney disease and diabetes.
If you are between the age of 40 and 74 and have not already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, then you will be invited to check for these age-related illnesses once every five years, with full support and advice given to help reduce the risk. This can not only help you to set your mind at ease, but the support that is given to you can help to alleviate any symptoms of isolation or anxiety that may come with a diagnosis.
Get Out There And Explore
For many people, retirement is the time to dust off the bucket list and see parts of the world that you had never been able to before. This can be anything from a getaway close to home to a vacation somewhere a little further afield. It is entirely up to you, but there are certain aspects of travelling that you should take into account before setting off. Firstly, your health is an important factor to keep in mind, and seeing a doctor can be particularly beneficial to understand your health status before you go.
As mentioned before, attaining financial advice is also useful, even when it comes to travelling. Financial advisors can pinpoint areas of your finance in a way that you would not be able to achieve by yourself. This is important, as having a clear picture of your savings will allow you to form a maximum budget which can be put towards your stress-free getaways.
Be Ready For Anything
Whether it’s social connections, finance, health or adventure; there are many things to consider when you start to plan a happy retirement. It is especially important that you take the time to sit down and work them all out on paper. This should not be something done by yourself, but rather a collection of people including your family, your partner and your financial advisor.
As mentioned previously, the numbers will play a big part in your goals for a happy retirement, and external advice is the best option for a clear and concise picture. However you choose to spend your retirement, you should be comfortable in the knowledge that your finances are well controlled and each of your goals are being met. If all goes to plan, your retirement will not only be successful, but it will also be one of the happiest chapters of your life.
Most of us look forward to the point at which we can shelve the briefcase, hang up the hard hat, or draw down the shutters for the last time, but it’s very common to reach that point and be met with an unexpected sense of disorientation and confusion. Planning ahead and preparing a solid foundation for this next phase in your life is key, and it’s not as difficult as you might think.