older couple hiking with dog

Don’t allow boredom in retirement to get the best of you

Originally published by Raymond James.

When you bid your 9-to-5 adieu, how do you plan to spend your time?

You’ve made a financial plan for retirement, but what about a fun plan? According to an article by The Senior, “Your Retirement | Don’t be a bored Baby Boomer,” two in three people enter retirement with little or no thought about what they want to actually do in retirement. But professionals agree it’s a key component to a satisfying “after-party.”

It’s not too soon to think through how you plan to keep yourself busy with all those extra hours in the day – and recognize the options are endless. Without a purpose, you may find yourself bored and unfulfilled. A little preparation will not only help you avoid this but also contribute to the happy retirement you’ve always envisioned.

These tips will help you explore the possibilities.

Dig deep

Many of us identify with our careers and titles, but how will we feel once those are part of our past? You’re still the same person, after all. It may take some deep thought about your true passions and the legacy you want leave, but this preparation will lead you on a path to fill your time with things that mean the most to you.

Maybe these will get your juices flowing.

What did you want to do as a child? Were there any missed opportunities in your career journey that you’d like to learn more about? Did you lack the time you wanted to volunteer when you had a career and young family to balance? Or maybe your friends are always telling you you’re so good at [insert skill here], but you never harnessed it? These are all hints that’ll steer you to a satisfactory retirement.

Get inspired

There are some pretty incredible examples of those fully embracing their encore years by doing extraordinary things. People in retirement are learning to surf, completing doctorate degrees and starting charitable organizations. Picture the possibilities. This is the time to think about trying something new and leaving regrets behind.

Case in point: Jimmy Carter. While he never intended to start an annual project, he and his wife helped Habitat for Humanity volunteers build and renovate homes for the less fortunate in 1984 – and have continued their efforts well into retirement.

Want to set a Guinness World Record instead? A Japanese woman who goes by DJ Sumirock earned the title of oldest professional club DJ at 83 years of age. She started DJ school when she was 77, thinking it might be a fun endeavor.

Does a physical pursuit suit you better? There’s no shortage of boomer-aged skateboarders. Both Lena Salmi and Neal Unger have gained notoriety as beginners in their 60s.

You won’t know if you don’t try.

While keeping active staves off issues like unhappiness and physical decline, it’s also OK to want to relax. Just do it purposely. According to U.S. News & World Report’s “The Art of Doing Nothing in Retirement,” there are a few steps to take to adjust to this new pace of life. First, let go of any guilt you may feel about making yourself a priority. But don’t let go of a routine altogether – instead, create one that helps you appreciate your slower lifestyle, and enjoy being in the moment.

Grow your bucket list

Creating a so-called bucket list is a good start to having something to always look forward to. But your list should continue to grow, not dwindle. When you check off one thing, add another. It should be an evolution of your wants and wishes. Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself – then re-reinvent yourself. You may just surprise yourself with a new passion.

Say you decided to take yoga classes – and now you love it so much you want to become an instructor. Let your level of enjoyment guide you to your next endeavor. You may also do so much traveling one year (should circumstances allow) that staying closer to home the next is what you crave. The most important part is being honest with yourself and what’s making you happy.

It’s easy to slide into expectations from your family and retired peers – but it’s your life. You can include your children and spouse in your plans without letting your wishes be overruled. And be sure to bring your financial advisor into retirement planning conversations. They can help you put together the financial pieces of the puzzle as well as ensure your insurance coverage fits your new hobbies and lifestyle.

Remember, this is your retirement. It’s a chapter you won’t get to rewrite, so follow your heart and your passion. You won’t regret giving it a try.

Sources: Guinness World Records; hypebae.com; theseniorlist.com; usnews.com; thesenior.com.au; makeagingwork.com; habitat.org

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