Planning Guide for a Happy Retirement

People look forward to their retirement years. One of the main goals of working is to be able to retire at an age where health and income are sufficient to carry you through the golden years. However, having a retirement plan is more than simple financial planning. While you need to have a plan for your finances, you also need to have a plan for managing your time to maximize your pleasure and satisfaction during this time of your life. The following 10 areas will help guide you into successfully planning for a happy and productive retirement.

Own your home.

Owning a home that does not have a mortgage should be a main objective of any retirement plan. Yes, there are still taxes to pay and insurance to buy, but the absence of a house payment or rent adds enormous flexibility to your retirement income. When you own your home, you can live your life without worrying that you might lose your home if something happens to reduce your income. The hundreds of dollars that mortgage payments or rent subtracts from your disposable retirement income can seem huge on the reduced amount of monthly income that most retirees receive.

Make time for family.

Working a job takes a lot of time from your week. If you have a commute, even less time remains for connecting to family. One of the benefits of retirement is the amount of bonus time that you should have. Forty to sixty hours per week are returned for you to spend on something other than full-time employment. This is the time to open your life for more family time.

Although your grown children are working, invitations for meals can offer times for bonding and remove the stress of preparing dinner after working a full day for them. Most people will gladly accept such invitations a time or two per week. Unless you are estranged from your children, this will be a treasured time for you and them. Generally, a home cooked meal will not set the budget back too badly compared with taking everyone out to a restaurant.

Plan trips for adventure and pleasure.

It is easy to fall into the trap that since you are not working, you do not need to get away. Plan your retirement budget to allow for at least a couple of trips per year away from home. A nice cruise or all-inclusive vacation type of trip can get you away from the day-to-day routine. It will also provide for new experiences and even a measure of adventure as long as your health is good. Most of the time, it will require you to set aside a few hundred dollars per month to fund this travel without breaking the budget. Add this amount to your monthly retirement needs when preparing your retirement financial plans.

You need the grandkids.

Grandchildren are your path to earthly immortality. Regardless of your religious belief, your DNA is being conveyed into future generations though the grandkids. You need to leave them with more than your genes. You have a lifetime of experience and experiences to share with them. The only way that this happens is by spending time with them. For younger grandchildren, you can act as a part-time baby sitter. As they get older, include them in your travel and activities. Your stories and their experiences with them will pass into future generations at the same time as your genetics.

Remove the things requiring upkeep from your life.

Maintaining things requires both time and money. Fewer items in your life that need maintenance means more time and money for you. Your retirement home needs a smaller yard and less bedrooms. Reduce your garden and ornamental plants to a minimum. If you cannot afford to pay someone to take care of items that need constant attention, consider moving them out of your life.

Explore new hobbies or rekindle old ones.

Having a hobby can add pleasure to retirement. This hobby also needs to be one that you can lay down and walk away from when needed. Do not let hobbies turn into obligations. Filling your hours with something other than empty time will give you more satisfaction in retirement. Strive to make the hobby fit into the constraints of your budget. A hobby that empties your wallet will become a burden instead of a pleasure.

Do things with friends.

In retirement, you have the time to hang out with friends. It is not just limited to evenings or non-work time. You can meet for lunch or work a puzzle together. If you enjoy games, this is a great time to dig out the old games to play during your visits with friends. You may even want to plan a trip or two with your better friends. Time spent with friends is usually one of the least expensive ways to have enjoyment in retirement.

Turn a hobby into income.

Because some people find that income is lower and expenses are higher than anticipated in retirement, extra income can be a blessing. Even a hundred dollars or so per month can make a dramatic difference in the retirement lifestyle. If you hobby is one that can produce income, you will have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy your hobby and turn a dollar or two at the same time.

Find opportunities to volunteer.

One of the problems with retirement is the feeling that you may no longer be important to society. A good way to solve this problem is to volunteer. Food pantries, senior feeding programs, public schools, churches, and a variety of other agencies are always clamoring for volunteers. Usually, the amount of time devoted to these tasks can range from an hour or two per week to nearly a full time unpaid job. Regardless of how much time you give, it is a great way to feel needed and productive.

Guard your nest egg.

Retired citizens face three potential risks to their retirement income. The first is scam artists who prey on seniors. The second is changes in the economy that can erode income from investment and savings accounts. The third is overspending. Staying on guard is the only way to keep these three from depleting your retirement income and ruining your retirement years. Keeping a strong budget in place is the only way to give you some security against these potential retirement spoilers.

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