How To Plan Your Life After Retirement: 11 Tips

Planning your life after retirement is equally important as planning your retirement financially. You want to spend your time on the things you love to do, stay healthy, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement as long as possible. But how do you plan for that?

You plan your life after retirement by:

  1. Celebrate retirement
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Having an enjoyable hobby
  4. Plan socializing activities
  5. Create a bucket list
  6. Replace work routine with new routines
  7. Follow your passion
  8. Set goals
  9. Communicate with partner & family about your ideas
  10. Staying active
  11. Finances align with your plans

In this article, I explain these 11 tips thoroughly, so after reading, you know exactly how to plan your life after retirement. 

1) Celebrate Retirement

The first thing you want to plan for your life after retirement is how to celebrate retirement. It’s a huge accomplishment, so why not have a celebration? And it’s up to you how you want to celebrate this milestone in your life.

You can organize a retirement party, give yourself a retirement gift, plan a trip, redecorate your house, or have dinner at your favorite restaurant with your spouse. That’s all up to you! 

I’ve heard retirees taking a one-month or two-month honeymoon at the start of their retirement. To create time to relax, unwind, and think about how they want to spend their time in retirement. If you don’t know what you want to do in retirement, you can consider giving this a try. This will prevent you from rushing into things too soon without giving them enough time and thought. 

For inspiration on ways to celebrate your retirement, you can read my article: How To Celebrate Your Retirement: 30 Awesome Ideas.

The retirement celebration can be a great start to your new life in retirement. So make sure to kick off your retirement in the best way possible! 

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2) Exercise regularly

Everyone wants to enjoy their retirement as long and as healthy as possible. And therefore, you need to stay fit and exercise regularly. Creating an exercise routine is a must when you plan your life after retirement. 

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, every adult should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of powerful aerobic activity a week. And you can consider brisk walking, swimming, and mowing the lawn as moderate aerobic activities. And powerful aerobic exercise includes activities such as running and aerobic dancing. In general, it’s best to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.

Perhaps, you already are physically active while working. In retirement, you can upgrade your routine or plan it more frequently throughout your week. 

And if you don’t have an exercise routine yet, then there are many things you can explore that keep you fit and are fun to do too. You can even turn it into a new hobby in retirement.  

Great exercises for retirees:

  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Running or jogging
  • Yoga
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Tai Chi
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Gardening
  • Golfing
  • (Power) Walking
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Weight lifting
  • Sports; soccer, (flag) football, basketball, baseball

 Benefits of regular exercising: 

  • Improves your mood – According to Harvard Medical School: “Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that is the body’s natural painkillers, and mood elevators.”
  • It can help you manage your weight – Your metabolic rate increases when you exercise regularly. And this will burn more calories and help you lose weight.
  • It’s good for muscles and bones – With exercising, you strengthen your muscles and maintain strong and healthy bones. When you get older, you tend to lose muscle mass and function. And that can lead to injuries and disabilities. Exercising regularly is essential to reduce muscle loss and to maintain strength as you age.
  • It increases your energy levels – You probably know the feeling that after exercising, you’re more energized than before your exercise. Even people with persistent fatigue and other serious illnesses experience a boost of energy after exercising.
  • It reduces the chances of chronic diseases – Studies have shown that a lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease. So by exercising, you reduce this change. And it decreases blood pressure and blood fat levels.
  • It improves brain health and memory – When you exercise, your heart rate increases, and that promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. And exercising causes the hippocampus to grow. This part of the brain is vital for memory and learning and increases the mental function in older adults.
  • Helps you sleep better – A study found out that 150 minutes of moderate-to-powerful activity per week improves the quality of sleep by 65%. 

3) Having an enjoyable hobby

The next thing you want to plan for your life in retirement is looking for an enjoyable hobby. For some people, this means exercising or having a parttime retirement job. And for others, it means doing volunteer work or working on a creative project at home.

Retirement is the time to spend it on the things you love to do. You’re in control of your schedule, so make sure you make the most out of your time in retirement. 

Finding a hobby in retirement is for some people easier than others. But here are some tips that might help you in finding an enjoyable hobby in retirement:

  1. Reclaim your childhood hobby
  2. Transform what you enjoy into a hobby
  3. Get inspiration from books, magazines, movies to see what sparkles
  4. Take an assessment to test what you like to do with your time in retirement
  5. Create a hobby on what you want to change about yourself or have a desire to learn
  6. Consider everyday activities as potential hobbies
  7. Try out new things and explore until you find the best hobby for your retirement

When you need a little help to find the best hobby for you in retirement, you might want to read these articles:

4) Plan socializing activities

When I started blogging about retirement, I’ve learned about the shocking numbers of depression amongst retirees. Studies show that the chances of getting a depression increase by about 40% after retiring. People tend to decrease their social circle in retirement, and you should actually do the total opposite. Expand your social circle. 

Social interaction has an enormous effect on people’s mental and physical health. Multiple studies have shown that socializing has both physical and emotional health benefits. In other words, people need daily social interaction to feel happy. And while working, you’ll get enough stimulation from social interactions daily, and once you retire, you lose this. 

And that’s why you actively need to seek news ways to stay social in retirement. So, it’s essential that when you plan for life after retirement, you plan enough social activities during the week. It will make your life richer and boosts your happiness.

I’ve written an article about 20 ways on how to stay social in retirement, which you can read here. I can highly recommend reading this article so you’ll get a good picture of the many ways you can incorporate fun socializing activities in retirement.

5) Create a bucket list

Retirement is the time to do things you love to do and to chase your dreams. Because when is the time to make your dreams come true? Sorry to say, but it’s now or never!

And a bucket list is a great tool to put all your dreams and wishes for retirement on one big list. It’s a good exercise for you to really know what you find important in life and what things are you really want to do before you kick the bucket. 

Some people get overwhelmed with a massive list of things and like to keep it organized and clear, so they have a list of 10 things they want to do in life. Others love to have a big bucket list. But the disadvantage of a big list is that you can be distracted and don’t know where to start and that can lead to staying inactive. And that is the total opposite of what the bucket list is meant to be for. 

This article below can help you out in creating your retirement bucket list. It has 101 inspiring ideas, and I share tips on how to create your retirement bucket list:

Once you finished your bucket list. You can prioritize your time in retirement better. You have a goal to work towards, so you’ll have less chance to waste your retirement days. And the most chance to make the most out of your retirement. It will be a lot easier to make a plan for your life in retirement, once you have a bucket list, and you know which item you want to tick off first.

6) Replace work routine with new routines

When you stop working, you lose daily structure and routines. And to enjoy your retirement, you need to have satisfying and fulfilling replacements for work and find happiness in (new) interests, relationships, and activities.

So, when you’re planning your life after retirement, you need to replace these work routines with new healthy habits and create structure in your daily retired life. An organized life is a stress-free life and a more happy life.

Why routines are essential in life:

  • Creates efficiency
  • Reduce the urge to plan
  • Creates structure in life
  • Saves time, the most valuable resource in retirement
  • Instills good habits
  • Breaks unhealthy habits
  • Helps to get important tasks done
  • Reduces Procrastination
  • Builds momentum
  • Boosts self-esteem
  • Saves money
  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Helps to achieve goals

And the best way to start is to create an intentional morning routine because a morning routine will set the mood for the rest of the day. When you wake up and have positive routines and healthy habits, the changes you’ll continue your day in the same way. Morning routines are very powerful, so make sure you create one that boosts your happiness in your retirement days. 

And creating a healthy sleep routine with enough quality sleep is also important to be well-rested and to make the most out of your day. The best approach is to stick to the same sleep and wake schedule and to get the most comfortable mattress out there.

You can read my article: How To Spend A Day In Retirement, where I explain how to create a great morning routine and how to structure the rest of your day in retirement.

7) Follow your passion

Doing something you’re passionate about is a fulfilling way to spend your retirement. And therefore you need to follow your passion in retirement.

Earlier, I described creating a bucket list. Most of the time, this list is filled with fun activities you’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes your passion is also part of the list, but not always. Because your passion is something much deeper. It’s an energy, and following your passion is fueling your soul and gives your fulfillment and more overall happiness and satisfaction in life. Doing a fun activity gives you pleasure. That’s superficial, and the feeling disappears quickly. 

When you want to live a fulfilling and meaningful retirement, you need to follow your passion. It’s the only way to get fulfillment in retirement, and therefore, you need to dig much deeper if you don’t know what your passion is.

Read more: 14 Tips: How To Find Your Passion In Retirement

8) Set goals

In life, we are used to setting goals. A couple of life goals are: getting married, having a family, getting promoted, or achieving a specific business goal. And eventually, your goal is to retire. But after that, it’s also important to continue setting goals in retirement. Only it will be more on a personal level: a dream you want to chase, a bucket list item you wish to check off, or a creative project you want to finish.

By setting a goal, you create direction in your life. You challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone, which can lead to magical things. And it’s the only way to live your retirement to the fullest. 

When you plan for life after retirement, you need to set one goal before your first day in retirement, so you’ll have directly something to work towards and look forward to. Once that one is complete, celebrate it and set new goals for your retirement.

Read more: How To Get Fulfillment In Retirement: 16 Tips

9) Communicate with partner and family about your ideas

You can’t plan your life after retirement without proper communication with your spouse and close family members. Primarily you want to be on the same page with your spouse about how your life after retirement should look like. It can prevent a lot of friction and frustration when you plan life after retirement together. 

Because the biggest mistake for couples is not communicating well about what their view on retirement is. Many pre-retirees assume that their outlook on retirement is the same as their partner without talking to their spouse, which can cause friction later on. 

To be successful in retirement means that you find satisfying and fulfilling replacements for work and find happiness in (new) interests, relationships, and activities. But the content of these new activities in retirement can vary per person.

For example, you would like to go traveling in retirement, and your spouse would like to be around the grandchildren as much as possible. To avoid disappointment and conflict, you want to keep each other in the loop, communicate regularly, and find common grounds and the right balance of activities together. 

Couples who live a happy retired life have found the right balance between doing fulfilling activities together and doing things apart in retirement. 

Make sure to read these articles below about how to plan for retirement as a couple and whether or not it’s best to retire at the same time:

10) Staying active

Have you ever heard about the Blue Zones in the world? 

There are five ‘Blue Zones’ in the world where people live the longest. The places are Ikaria, an island in Greece, Okinawa, an island in Japan, the Barbagia region of Sardinia (Italy), Loma Linda, a small city in California, and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica. 

The people in these Blue Zones live a similar lifestyle; their plant-based diet has many parallels. All the places are relatively warm year-round, small, remote, and close to the ocean. And the people living in the Blue Zones are driven by life-meaning and purpose. They keep investing in family, keeping their minds engaged, and staying active until they die (at high age).

What we can learn from them is that staying active and engaged is one of the keys to living a longer life. And to be successful in retirement is to stay mentally, physically, and socially active.

Read more: How To Stay Active In Retirement?

11) Finances align with your plans

When you’re planning for retirement, you’re basically planning your retirement financially. To have enough savings to retire comfortably. But to thoroughly plan your retirement financially, you need to know how you want to plan life after retirement. If you want to do a lot of traveling, then you need to have a lot more savings then when you plan to do a lot of volunteer work in retirement. 

So what I’m trying to say is that your finances need to align with your plans after retirement. You want to avoid retiring with a head full of dreams and big plans without the money to do it. And therefore, it’s best to know what you want to do before you retire and have a financial plan that backs it up.

Perhaps, you come to the conclusion you need to work a couple of months or years longer to afford your dream in retirement. Does that dream weigh up to those extra months or years? Or maybe you desperately want to retire, and you choose to search for new and cheaper dreams in retirement. Either way, make sure both your retirement plans are aligned.

These articles might be interesting for you to read as well:

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 200+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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