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What is Your Dream Retirement?

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What do retired people do? What will you do when you retire?

If you're thinking about what to do when retired and the challenge of adjusting to retirement, you are not alone. Everyone that reaches retirement age, and is healthy enough to have a choice about it, has many decisions to make.

Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the life you always imagined. To have this kind of retirement, you may need to think about and even visualize your retirement in advance.   If you feel the pressure about what to do and how to make the most of you golden years, don't let fear paralyze you and your retirement aspirations-- plan.

Think about what brings you real happiness and open your mind to new possibilities. Consider your budget and perhaps consider some ways to supplement your income - if required.

It could help to make a list to determine and prioritize things are important to your happiness and fulfillment:

  • Are there family members you want to visit or spend time with?
  • Are you craving getting out and having some adventures that you never had the time or focus to pursue until now?
  • Try to remember some of your happiest days in the past. What was it that you enjoyed so much? Is it something you would like to repeat?
  • What about travel? Are there places you always wanted to visit?
  • Is there a novel you always wanted to write?
  • Are there local activities you've always considered participating in, but never felt like you had the time?
  • Does spending low key and casual hours in a retirement community appeal to you?
  • How about life long dreams?
  • Another thing you may want to consider is righting a wrong from the past. Is there something weighing on your conscience that you must ‘make right’?

Travel is one of the alternatives mentioned above that is a popular choice for many people as they reach retirement age, even if it just means seeing more places and not necessarily being always on the go. There are so many experiences and natural wonders to take in both in the US and abroad.

Without daily responsibilities for the first time, and no one to look after, the sudden freedom you feel can bring to mind all sorts of ideas.

There are many "dream" approaches to retirement travel. Your source of travel inspiration might be:

- Enjoy a slow and leisurely relocation to a better climate
- Travel the country in a mobile home
- See the world with an ‘around the world’ air ticket
- Go on cruises to visit exciting and exotic ports
- Go on a religious pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Regardless of the specific place you visit, traveling can be a great way to spend your retirement as you see places you've only heard about for so many years. Other popular destinations include the wonders of the world and exotic tropical paradise islands.

Has family been a big part of your life? Has it not been big enough?

Perhaps you have children or grandchildren you haven't seen for months or even years. Watching people starting out in life and helping with advice or assisting in any way you can promises to be quite rewarding. Relationships in life can bring so much pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. Oftentimes, we spend most of our lives just trying to get by and survive. Those that are close to us - even friends we consider to be family - will always appreciate our taking the time to consider them when we retire.

What about the finances?

The economy changes and things get more expensive each year. If we haven't traveled recently, we find that going on trips can be expensive. If we haven't been regular at saving or successful at setting ourselves up for retirement, we may have little money with which to enjoy the last years of our lives. This may also be the result of some bad luck - no fault of our own. If we have enough, this is an excellent position to be in; but if we don't, we can really feel the pressure with no income coming in. It may be time to consider some unconventional ways to make money that we have never thought about before. This is also a good idea if you are not yet retired. Supplemental income can be a great way to enhance you life now, or save for when you retire.

One final thing to consider when you're thinking about retirement is what is popularly termed as the "bucket list."

This term comes from the idea: 'things to do before you kick the bucket'. Now, this obviously doesn't mean it should only be considered by those that are terminally ill as portrayed in the movie of the same name. This applies to college graduates, the newly divorced, and anyone that has an opportunity to look at one's life objectively and consider the most important - and even the most crazy - things they want to do before their life is over. When considering what to do when retired, this can be an excellent source of ideas. This can involve deep dreams and profound desires or just interesting things to do. It can involve riding motorbikes on the Great Wall or eating at a fancy restaurant in Paris. There are also personal things that can be done like telling someone you love then, that you're sorry or that you never forgave them. The bucket list is truly unique to each person.

Adjusting to retirement can be a challenge. Thinking about all the things one might do, can be over-whelming. When life no longer makes demands on us and our time is our own, this can prove daunting and give a feeling of: 'what am I going to do with all this time?'

  • Be sure you have enough money for the time when you retire. Money goes quicker as each day passes. Consider focusing on making some supplemental income if necessary.
  • Think about your priorities and the things you never had a chance to do. Think about the things that brought you joy in the past and all the places you may want to travel.
  • If you make your own bucket list, you may be surprised at all the things you can do. The question then becomes not: 'what do retired people do', but 'what will you do when you retire'.

Regardless of the challenges, may you find a way to work through them and enjoy the "retirement" that fulfills your dreams.


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