Key takeaways

  • Planning for retirement should also include preparing for what activities will occupy your time. What are you passionate about that you can dedicate more time to?
  • Staying physically and socially active can help with quality of life in your retirement years.
  • Now that you have more time to do the things you love, getting a part-time job or volunteering might be a fun way to find a new purpose.
  • As always, continue to meet with your financial advisor to make sure you’re sticking to your financial plan.

What can I do in retirement?

When you think about retirement, it always comes back to your financial plan. How much do I need to save for retirement? Will I have enough money to live the lifestyle I want? Are my investments in the right place?

All of these questions are necessary for you and your financial advisor to talk through, but it is also important to enter retirement with quality of life in mind – what makes you feel happy (and healthy)? You just left your job – but you’ve also left opportunities to stay physically, mentally and socially active. With all this new free time, it might be difficult to plan how you’ll spend it.

At each stage of your career, your job gave a sense of purpose and accomplishment. There was something that motivated you to wake up each day and make it better than yesterday. Finding what motivates or interests you could make your days in retirement more exciting and keep you active. While there are many great excuses to fill your day with great movies and TV shows on your couch (you certainly deserve the break), here’s how you can make this stage of your life just as, if not more, fulfilling than prior years.

Stay active

Your long-time routine has changed – you’ve traded your long commutes, traffic jams and 9-to-5 work grind for endless hours of relaxation and leisure. There are plenty of great ways to stay active and create a sense of structure and purpose while in retirement.

One way is to get out and stay active through exercise. You can even create a fitness plan to track and monitor your progress. Maybe you have always wanted to try yoga or spin class, but you didn’t have the time. Now you do. If you, your doctor and/or personal trainer agree that working out would be beneficial for you, this is the time to go for it.

Another way to stay active and engaged is to try a new hobby or build on one you haven’t had time to enjoy. This can include joining a group that meets regularly to play a sport, cards or even paint. Maybe you’ll make new friends who share similar interests. If you enjoy gardening and like having fresh vegetables to cook with, now is a great time to add to your garden or start growing one – big or small. Wellness could include any activity you want; the important thing is to find an activity or hobby that keeps you engaged, happy and healthy.

Put your expertise to work

If you’re someone who might be missing the routine of working, you could occupy your time with a part-time job. If you are passionate about the previous industry you worked in and would like to give back to your community, it could be fun to explore guest speaking or teaching a course at your local high school or university.

Working part-time in consulting could be another route. Keep in mind, if you are receiving Social Security benefits, your benefits may be lowered if your income exceeds certain limits. In 2023, if you have not reached full retirement age (which is dependent on the year in which you were born), and you are receiving Social Security benefits, the annual income limit is $21,240.1 Income that surpasses that annual amount may result in $1 deducted from your Social Security benefits for every $2 earned above the annual income limit.

In the year that you reach full retirement age, if you are receiving Social Security benefits, your annual income limit is $56,520 and $1 may be deducted from your benefits for every $3 earned above that limit. After you have reached your full retirement age, you are not subject to a reduction in benefits due to income.2

Volunteering at a local non-profit could also be a fulfilling option to consider. If you have expertise in certain fields, like accounting or law, depending on your state and restrictions3 , volunteering could be a rewarding way to give back to your community.

Keep your finances in check

During retirement, it is also important to maintain good financial habits, like setting time aside to review and adjust your financial plan. Reviewing your budget, making sure you’re sticking to it and checking in with your advisor on your investment allocation and performance are important habits to keep while in retirement. This is also a good time to double check your account beneficiaries. Your future-self and family will thank you.

References

1.Social Security Changes – COLA Fact Sheet (Accessed December 2022)
2.Social Security Administration, “Receiving Benefits While Working.”
3.American Bar Association, “Emeritus Pro Bono.” (June 2021)

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