After a life of hard work, you are finally ready to retire. Some people are very excited about the prospect of spending the rest of their days on their front porch sipping iced tea with their beloved spouse, but others are a little more apprehensive, and that is perfectly natural. After all, this is uncharted territory, and you will face a lot of new changes.
If you feel this way, you are not the first, and you certainly will not be the last. Many people have these feelings, and most have found solutions to these new changes. Whether you are afraid of living in an empty house, you fear you will grow bored sitting at home, or have any other concerns, there are ways to navigate these changes and challenges.
You Become Empty Nesters
Now that you are retired, you will be spending a lot more time at home. If your kids are away at college or have otherwise flown the coop, then you and your spouse may be empty nesters. At first, the idea of having the place to yourself might be freeing, but after some time, many empty nesters experience feelings of loneliness and sometimes grief, a condition known as empty nest syndrome.
These feelings are natural, but you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to friends and other seniors who are in the same position and ask how they cope. Expressing your anxiety may also help you feel better. Another thing to consider is that just because your kids moved out, it doesn’t mean that you will never hear from them. Stay connected with your kids on social media and arrange video chats on special occasions or just to catch up. You can even set up a recurring event that you can look forward to like dinner at your place every Sunday night.
Some retirees may be fine with the kids out of the house but feel that they have too much space that they don’t need. Instead of leaving it as a deserted bedroom, you can change the room into a home office, crafts room, man cave, lady lair, or even an exercise room. If you want a few extra bucks on the side and you are comfortable doing so, you could also rent out the room every once in a while.
You Might Decide it’s Time to Move
Of course, some retirees may decide that it’s time to downgrade and move to another place. This decision may be based on your finances or the fact that you might no longer need to be near the services you used to, such as your kid’s school. You have many options when you decide to make this significant change, but careful planning is paramount.
Because of differences in your lifestyle, a thoughtful budget should be created before you begin looking. Some things that must be considered are additional medical expenses that could accrue down the line, as well as figuring out your new cost of living now that you are not working. You may want to move to a warmer climate or a location known for its retiree population, but beware of hidden costs along with property and sales tax rates. Does that all fit into your budget?
You also want to look at the services in the area. Is there access to public transportation if you are unable to drive in the future, and are you near high-quality healthcare services? Do your research or talk to other retirees who currently live in the area to get all of the facts.
When you decide to downgrade, you have many housing options to consider. These days, many people are into the idea of tiny homes which offer all of the services of a home but in a smaller package, and some of these homes cost less than $30,000 to own. You also have the option of moving into a retirement village. You don’t have to be elderly to live there, and they offer many benefits, including amenities, activities, and predictable finances.
You Might Decide to Work Part-Time
Now that you have retired, you are going to have a lot more free time, so what will you do to fill the days? This might be a good time to use that new craft room and start a business out of your home. You can also take this opportunity to visit the attractions and places that you never had time for such as museums and that trip to Europe.
Although they remain busy, some retirees do choose to get a part-time job to either pass the time or experience a career they were always interested in. So, if you have always loved flowers, then you can get a job with a florist, or if you love animals, then you could be a part-time pet sitter. When searching for these jobs, you can inquire locally, talk to neighbors or friends, or reach out to past colleagues.
If money is not an issue, and you still want to get out of the house, then consider volunteering. You have many options when it comes to volunteer work, including serving food in a kitchen, mentoring children, or joining Habitat for Humanity. Again, this is a chance to do something that you enjoy. In addition to making a difference in your community, volunteering offers many benefits for retirees, such as keeping an active mind and keeping in shape as you go back and forth with your daily tasks.
Yes, retirement will bring many changes to your everyday life, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the best of it. A balance of activity and relaxation will ensure a smooth and rewarding transition.
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Guest Author Bio
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, healthcare, and politics. You can follow her work on twitter @HamiltonJori, and through her portfolio at Writer Jori Hamilton.