You really should retire to something, not just retire from something. You know that you have decided to retire early while you are still young enough to enjoy the heck out of it. Surely you know what you are retiring from and why. Having a notion of what you are retiring to is also a necessary early retirement planning activity. One that everyone should complete.
I would say that I just want the freedom to do whatever I want to do. To spend time in the garden, exercise, travel, pursue opportunities that interested me, learn new things, meet new people, etc. I had done the necessary steps of making sure that I had budgeted for my hobbies and our travel wishes. I thought that was enough. However that wasn’t going to occupy all of my retirement days.
Now I do want and enjoy free time where there are no obligations just as much as the next guy, but I needed to look at what I was really retiring to so I wouldn’t end up one of those unfortunate retirees who say they are bored and wished they had never retired. That is why you should plan to retire to something, not just retire from something.
What I Did To Retire To Something
I made a simple schedule for my retirement weekdays. My schedule is open but as an example it would set scheduled times where I would exercise, read, do research, errands, gardening, recreation, socializing, etc.
What I try to do is map out my day listing the things I want to do including time slots for whatever needs to be plugged into them. I am busy from 8 AM to 5 PM every day. This includes my hobbies (automobiles, mountain biking, fishing, etc.), socializing, and any chores, gardening, etc. I am never bored and the TV is never turned on until well after 5 PM unless I planned or decided to watch a movie that day. It isn’t a hard schedule either, meaning nothing is carved into stone. I am retired so of course it is totally flexible.
Before I retired early I took note of my hobbies. I happen to have more than 1 hobby. I included in my retirement budget the money to do those hobbies. Just know that if you plan on spending 8 hours a day on your hobby, it will eventually and I would think very soon feel more like a job and not so fun anymore.
I knew that having some interests outside of work and family is very important and had my hobbies all lined up, understanding the costs before I entered early retirement.
3- Hold Weekends Sacred
This is something I really adhere to and believe it is an early retirement tip to pass on to you. During the week my family and friends may all be working. That is the time to schedule all of things I do myself so that I am open for anything on weekends. I make sure all chores, anything that needs to be done, is done during the week. That includes appointments and any shopping.
There is nothing better than being able to get what I need from a store in the middle of a weekday when most people are at work. Once the weekend comes, my schedule is wide open for weekend things: family, friends, recreation, etc. Full on Leisure Freak.
Everyone’s idea of a retirement travel desires are different. Whatever it is for you, make sure your spouse or significant other agrees and you have budgeted for it. If your ideas of retirement travel are road trips across different parts of the country and your significant other or spouse dreams of traveling Europe, your budget is not going to match what it will take for relationship bliss.
Most people can’t travel every day of the year. We schedule our travel just like we did when we were working. It gives us something to look forward to and we can plan to get the best rates. However, we also like to be free to take advantage of a great deal at any time. So I plan for those travel trips that make sense and stay flexible and maybe a little spontaneous when a good deal comes up.
For me family ranks at the top of or retirement plans. We could pick-up and move somewhere cheaper but we want to stay close to our kids and grand-kids. Before you retire make sure you consider this so that you and if your spouse or significant other are on the same page.
Work these things out before you pull the plug. Moving away someplace less expensive might not end up less expensive if you are paying big bucks to travel back and forth to see your family all the time. That is pretty much what we considered for the decision we made.
I make a point of maintaining a social life. Whether it is at your favorite coffee shop, your church, or the gym, you need an outlet for conversation and human interaction. Early retirement could become a drag if you become a recluse (unless that is what makes you happy) and lose contact with what is happening with people you care about or your community.
Volunteer, join a local club that interest you, do whatever you can to get out there and show-off your early retired Leisure Freakiness. I made many new friends at an independently owned local coffee shop. I also did volunteer work to help my town’s parks and recreation team maintain mountain bike trails that surround my community. There are many opportunities to stay engaged.
I have always planned on living the “retire early and often” lifestyle in retirement. So I am always open to interesting opportunities that I consider something I would love to get involved with or learn about. I have had the pleasure of accepting a couple of these opportunities since my first retirement.
Even though I have no specific positions or areas of interest to focus another opportunity pursuit while I am enjoying retirement number two, I am always open to the fact that sometime during this journey there may come another.
8- Stay Curious
Make a goal to always stay curious in retirement. When anything you have interest in comes up then take the time to research the snot out of it. Strive to always learn new things. This not only exercises your brain but by constantly gaining knowledge you stay relevant. I will note something down that I am wondering about and then make time to learn everything I can about it. Some of it is useful for business or employment and other times it’s about my hobbies or the world.
As a retiree we have the time to explore all kinds of concepts and make learning an adventure in itself.
There is no disputing that having a plan to retire to something will make early retirement much more enjoyable.