Objective information about retirement, financial planning and investments


What Lifestyle Changes Will You Make in Retirement?


This is a guest post by Miranda Marquit, a financial journalist and freelance writer. She contributes to several financial web sites, and her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Miranda’s blog is Planting Money Seeds.

When many of us think of retirement, we focus on the nest egg. Have you saved up enough? How much needs to be set aside each month in order to reach your financial goal?

Unfortunately, too few of us consider what to do with all of that money during retirement. You know you probably need a good-sized nest egg to retire comfortably, but have you considered how you will use that money to your best advantage? Your lifestyle will change during retirement, and you need to be prepared – and know how you will spend your time, as well as your money.

Are You Emotionally and Physically Ready to Retire?

While you do want to make sure that you know how much money you need to retire, you also don’t want to neglect your lifestyle. In theory, it’s nice to say that you’ll quit working and that you’ll relax, but the reality is that many retirees don’t know what to do with themselves after they retire.

Indeed, a study in the United Kingdom indicates that mental and physical health can suffer after retirement. Without the physical activity that comes with work, and without the social interaction, many retirees become depressed and lose some of their physical abilities. If you don’t have a plan to replace various aspects of your job, the deterioration could be rapid.

Your main lifestyle change will be switching from work to trying to find something else to do. Some of the ways you can replace the social and physical aspects of your job during retirement include:

  • Work on a hobby.
  • Join a seniors group or frequent the senior center.
  • Become involved with a civic organization.
  • Travel and make friends.
  • Volunteer.
  • Learn a new skill or go back to school.
  • Become a consultant.

These activities can provide you with purpose, as well as help you feel as though you are accomplishing something worthwhile. Some retirees even decide to work a part-time job, just to remain involved with life. It can be especially invigorating to get a part-time job in a field that you might not have worked before. In these cases, it’s not about the money – your retirement savings might be more than sufficient. Instead, it’s about quality of life, and enjoying your lifestyle.

Do You Need to Downsize?

What happens if you know you are ready to retire, but haven’t quite hit your retirement savings goal? If this is the case, you need to decide whether you want to tough it out at work, or whether you want to retire now and make some lifestyle changes.

One of the ways that many retirees change their situation is through downsizing. Even retirees who have a large nest egg might be interested in downsizing. Sell your home and use the proceeds to purchase a smaller home, or pay for housing in a senior community.

You can also sell some of your possessions to reduce the clutter in your life and even raise a little extra cash. This can be a good way to retrench so that your retirement lifestyle is affordable on whatever nest egg you have. And, if you plan to travel extensively, you’ll want to downsize so that you don’t have as much stuff to worry about while you enjoy your newfound freedom.

Bottom Line 

What you will do, and how you will remain engaged are important aspects of retirement. Unfortunately, too few of us think about the lifestyle implications of retirement. Think about the changes that retirement will bring to your routine, and how you might feel with the lack of social interaction that often comes with a traditional job. Then, figure out how you can arrange matters so that you truly enjoy your retirement.

Miranda is a financial journalist and freelance writer. She contributes to several financial web sites, and her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions. 

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  1. Retirement requires planning. You have to not only plan for your financial needs but for your mental, physical and emotional transition to a different lifestyle. You have to stay socially active, mentally sharp and physically fit when retired. People pack their things into a box, have a farewell party and think they are off to retirement bliss. Think again. You have to plan, plan, plan. On that note I recently found the site retirementandgoodliving that has good information on finances, health/exercise, hobbies, retirement locations, volunteering, part time jobs and many other retirement related topics. Worth checking out.

  2. One of the ways I think you can prepare for the lifestyle change of retirement is to start adapting years before retirement. There’s no reason you can’t travel, volunteer, start a side business or whatever during your working years as well. It doesn’t have to be 100% work with a sudden transition to full retirement. I don’t think that’s what you’re suggesting at all, but I think people would be better off if they viewed their entire lives as something to enjoy rather than taking the viewpoint that you work for 40 years before you finally get to relax.

    • Roger Wohlner says

      Matt thanks for your comment and I totally agree with you. In fact I suspect those that ease into retirement may be happier than those who just stop working at some point.

  3. Great discussion! Stopping work entirely can be a shock to many people so having volunteer activities or the like can be especially helpful. Or, you can start a business doing what you LOVE and it won’t seem like work.

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