The good news is that a typical retirement allows for seven hours of leisure activity each day. The bad news is that, according to U.S. News & World Report, the average retiree uses more than half of it watching television!
Meet Dave Hughes, an expert on retirement lifestyle planning. A friend introduced me to Hughes, who is the author of “Design Your Dream Retirement” and the website RetireFabulously.com, where he focuses more on the non-financial aspects of creating a happy, healthy and fulfilling retirement.
In “Design Your Dream Retirement,” Hughes asks, “Who will you become after you retire?” This is an important question. After working for 40 or more years, our identity can become tied to our job title, career status and daily work life.
Then there comes a Monday that you don’t go to work – you’re retired. The transition is hard, even for those who have a retirement philosophy, and it can be deadly for those who are not prepared.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted the U.S. Health and Retirement Study that looked at rates of heart attack and stroke among men and women.
People who had retired were 40 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who were still working.
The increase was more pronounced during the first year after retirement and leveled off after that.
Experts agree that four aspects of life are essential for fulfillment and good health into our 80s and beyond:
Play. Physical activity, especially with others, is good for your body and soul.Mental stimulation. Keep learning. It’s good for brain health.Social interaction. Retirement can break our social network and result in isolation if we’re not careful.Creativity. Creative pursuits keep us young and vibrant.With the prospect of filling our days with exercise, learning, creative pursuits and friends, the next question is: Does your partner or spouse share your vision for retirement? Hughes suggests couples explore these questions:
When will you retire?How much money do you need to retire?How much will you spend each month?Where will you live?How will you live?How will you spend your time?Will you travel?What family responsibilities will you agree to take on?At the end of each chapter in “Design Your Dream Retirement,” there are questions like these, which makes it a great book to engage with rather than just something to read and put down. I suggest you start a retirement journal or notebook along with using the free companion, “Retirement Visualization Guide.”
It’s time to begin the journey of planning your retirement or, as Hughes calls it, your Renaissance, a renewal of life, vigor and interests.
Former Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance. www.personalfinancecoaching.com.