What Should You NOT Do When You Retire? 11 DONT’S

When your retirement is coming soon, you’re probably looking forward to all the things you want to do. That’s what retirement should be all about. But what are things you should NOT do when you retire?

I explain 11 DONT’s in this article, so continue reading.

1) Don’t Underestimate The Process Of Retirement

Not everyone is aware that retirement is a process once they retire. It’s one of the biggest life changes you will go through. Going from a working life with routines, structure, goals, social interactions, and purpose to retired life with a lot of free time and losing all that. 

A lot of people go into retirement, cold turkey. They aren’t aware of the major life change they go through and can feel lost, sad, and even depressed once they are weeks into retirement. Whether a life change is positive or negative, it always causes some stress. So, it’s normal to feel that way. 

Major life changes take time to adjust and figure out again to really enjoy it. And everyone handles it differently. Some people are better at it than others. But there are stages to retirement that everyone goes through. Some quicker than others. And being aware of the stages and the process of retirement makes you more prepared and aware of where you’re at. And what’s coming next. 

Five Stages Of Retirement

1) Pre-Retirement

This phase is before your retirement date. You realize that retirement is coming soon. If you’re in this phase right now, you’re lucky. You can prepare what is coming, and it will make your transition into retirement a lot better. In this phase, you have the opportunity to prepare for your retirement financially and emotionally, the best way possible. 

Read more: How To Mentally Prepare For Retirement: 21 Tips.

2) Honeymoon 

This is the phase of the first couple of days, weeks, or months of your retirement. You celebrate your retirement and experience the sense of freedom that comes with retirement. And that can trigger all sorts of emotions: excitement, fear, hope, anxiety. It depends on what type of person you are. Some people are surprised and didn’t expect all these emotions, and others sail smoothly through this stage. 

Read more: How Do You Celebrate Your Retirement? 30 Awesome Ideas

You want to enjoy your retirement celebration but also have some plan ready on what to do next. Even a plan that you take time to figure things out on what you want to do in retirement is a good plan.

A lot of retirees go into this phase without any long-term plans or needs for their retired life. Not being prepared on how to spend your time in retirement can cause problems later in retirement.

Read more: How To Plan Your Life After Retirement.

3) Disillusionment

For some retirees, the honeymoon phase can be followed by a period of disillusionment. The reality of retirement hits in. And the dreams they had about retirement, aren’t matching the reality of their retirement right now. For them, retirement can feel disappointing and an anticlimax and can sometimes lead to depression. 

Read more: 15 Helpful Tips: How To Deal With Depression in Retirement.

This disillusionment phase can happen to everybody. No one expects to be disappointed about retirement beforehand. But preparation financially, emotionally, and how to spend your time in retirement can help you out. And disillusionment will not hit you that hard or not even at all.  

When you’ve worked your whole life, it isn’t strange that your job has become part of your identity. And when you stop working, you lose a part of your identity that you need to rediscover again. And that is maybe something you didn’t expect doing in retirement. But that’s all part of the process. 

When disillusionment about retirement is true for you, you can take this opportunity to re-invent yourself and re-define your goals and purpose in life. Which can be an exciting time of self-discovery too.

4) Reorientation

This phase is where retirees are actively developing ideas and move towards a more balanced life. You’re accepting your current situation, and you’re orientating, thinking, and exploring new routes. You take action to the life you want to live. And that can be an exciting time for you. 

To live a happy retired life, you’re seeking a great balance of mental, physical, and social activities. And you have found a positive routine and a great way how to structure your day in retirement. 

Read more: How to Structure Your Retirement Day.

5) Stability

This is the stage of “real retirement.” You’re not planning, preparing, and moving towards retirement; you’re living it. You’re satisfied and happy with who you are as a person, where you’re at in life, and you’re satisfied with all the activities you’re doing in retirement. The free time you have in retirement is converted to self-fulfillment.

2) Don’t Have NO Plans For Your Time In Retirement

As I mentioned above, you need to have a plan on how to spend your time in retirement. Not having a fun plan can lead to disappointment about retirement. And your fun plan is as important as your financial plan for retirement.  

When you haven’t retired yet, you have time to think about the things you want to do. Make a list of your dreams and desires and discuss this with your partner. And figure out what you want individually and with each other. Make sure you’re on the same page to avoid friction. 

Read more: Should Couple Retire At The Same Time?

You can create a bucket list and live out your bucket list once you retire. Or you can take a pre-retirement of a couple of weeks or months before your actual retirement date to try out retirement and see if your retirement plan appeals to you. Or you can take a honeymoon once you retire and take that time to relax, unwind, and figure out what your plan for retirement is.  

To clear your mind and feel out your intuition, you need time and space. You can’t achieve that when you’re on a busy and stressful schedule. So a retirement honeymoon can help you out with that. 

Read more: 101+ Ideas For Your Retirement Bucket List.

3) Don’t Have NO Financial Plan

Not having a financial plan for retirement is NOT a good idea. You can’t retire when you don’t have a financial plan. 

You need to have a financial advisor on your side to help you out with your finances for retirement. Are you financially ready enough for retirement? How long can you last with your money and have you taken all sorts of costs into account? Have you run through different scenarios? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself and need to figure out with a financial advisor before you even think about retirement. 

Here are a couple of financial topics that you need to have calculated into your financial plan:

  • Healthcare Costs
  • Long Term Care Costs
  • Medicare Cover Plan
  • Budget for your fun plans in retirement (hobbies)
  • Holiday/ Travel Budget
  • Strategy for claiming social security
  • Inflation
  • Taxes
  • Monthly expenses
  • Yearly expenses
  • Unpredicted or unforeseen expenses

Read more: 12 Steps: Retirement Planning Guide for Married Couples.

4) Don’t Fill Your Days With Unsatisfying Activities

Retirement is the time for all the things you want and always wanted to do. You’ve worked very hard to finally achieve this time in your life, and therefore you should not waste it. 

Sure, you can fill up your days with all sorts of activities, but do these activities give you a satisfying feeling at the end of the day? That’s what is really important. 

You lose structure, routines, and activities from work once you retire. And you need to replace these things with new activities that are exciting and give you joy. Perhaps, you know right away what you want to do, because you have a favorite hobby to spend time on. Or you need time to explore all sorts of activities to find your passion in retirement. That is fine. But not going after what you want isn’t fine. 

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

You want to feel fulfilled after most retirement days. And you can only achieve that by figuring out what you love to do most and going after that. And spending as much time as you want on that activity you love most. That’s the only wat to make the most out of your retirement and live a happy retired life. 

Try Out Masterclass

A great way to explore new hobbies and passions in retirement is to apply for a class. And in my opinion, the best investment you can do for yourself is to get an All-Access Pass for Masterclass. You give yourself access to all online Masterclasses taught by the best in the world. You can get Masterclasses from Usher, Hans Zimmer, Gordon Ramsey, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, etc.

Whether you want to explore new interests or want to be better at your retirement hobby, Masterclass can bring you to the next level. It’s a great way to have something fun to do, you learn something new every day, and maybe your new passion is just around the corner.

5) Don’t Blow Your Savings

Once you retire, you’re on a fixed income. You need to last a lifetime with all you have saved up for retirement. And what you should definitely NOT do is blowing your savings (right away). 

It’s tempting and easy to spend money when you have more time to spend it. But you need to control yourself and stick to your budget. Of course, you can enjoy yourself an go after what you want in retirement. But if that means that you spend more money then you’ve calculated, it isn’t a great idea. You have to stick to your budget and only dip into your savings when it is really necessary. Don’t go impulse buying stuff or spoil your grandchildren too much.

When you like to spend more then what you have, there are other ways to do that. You can earn extra money with a part-time job or small business and sell your extra car or other stuff you don’t need. You can reduce your daily expenses, and use coupons and senior discount to save out money. 

Read more: 25 Things To Do When You Are Retired, Bored, and Broke.

6) Don’t Be Afraid To Go Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It’s the moments when you’re out of your comfort zone is where you feel most alive. And those moments are the ones that stick with you forever. 

Retiring is unknown territory for you, so you will be a bit out of your comfort zone. But you don’t have to be afraid of that. It’s scary but also exciting, exhilarating, and it’s the place where the magic happens. 

Also, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is often the quickest way to learn more about yourself. You never know what kind of qualities you have and what you enjoy if you don’t challenge yourself once in a while. It’s where you grow most as a person.

Benefits Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone:

  • it creates just enough good stress to ramp up your focus, creativity, pace, and drive
  • it helps you be more productive 
  • it boosts your creativity
  • it helps you to be more flexible when unexpected things happen in the future 
  • and it contributes to more happiness in your life

Exploring new things is the only way to find out if you like something or not. Maybe your passion is something you have never done before, so how can you find your passion if you don’t go out to explore in retirement?

You can see your retirement as one big adventure of exploring new things in life. And it helps if you create a beginner’s mindset where you have an attitude of openness, eagerness, curiosity, and a lack of preconceptions when studying a subject. Just like a beginner or child does.

Sticking to old hobbies and routines can make you feel bored. And stimulation is one of the things most retirees miss in their life, so make sure you stay stimulated in retirement. And therefore, you need to get out of your comfort zone once in a while. 

That doesn’t mean you have to bungee-jump from a bridge or go skydiving. If that’s what you want, go for it. But, it can be just as little as applying for a class, actively seeking new friends, or doing something else you haven’t done before. 

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

7) Don’t Be Antisocial

Social interactions are crucial for humans to be healthy and happy. Because interacting with others boosts your well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Socializing comes with many health benefits. You’re likely to live longer, and it also reduces the chances of certain diseases.

Once you retire, you lose the daily social interactions and stimulation from work. You need to actively seek new ways to be social to replace these social interactions.

A big mistake a lot of retirees do is that they decrease their social circle in retirement. Of course, it’s good to re-evaluate your relationships and only keep those relationships in your life that affect you positively. Unhealthy or toxic relationships are never okay to keep around too long. But downsizing your social circle too much can lead to loneliness. And that’s what you rather want to avoid instead of letting it creep in. 

Whether you’re a social butterfly or more an introvert person. You need to be social to the point that is comfortable for you. And there are all sorts of fun ways to be social in retirement. From taking a class, go on dates, visit family-members, organize parties, invite neighbors, or doing volunteer work. 

Read more: 20 Ways: How To Stay Social After Retirement.

8) Don’t Go On Social Media Too Much

Social Media is a great source and platform to contact faraway friends and family and see what they are up to doing. When you use social media platforms only that way, you’re doing great. But going on Social Media too much in retirement isn’t a healthy activity. You want to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible before it becomes a habit in retirement.

When you aimlessly scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms hours every day, you will get an unrealistic view of the world. Life on Social Media isn’t reality. And it is not the best source to get your information on important topics in the world. Because companies use an algorithm to put “the right” information in front of you based on your personal information and internet surfing behavior. Mostly these are ads, but it can also be political campaigns with strong opinions that might be not very accurate. 

Also, everything seems perfect on social media, and comparing your life with others is a very easy and unhealthy route to take. The feeling of unworthy can sneak up on you very quickly this way. And it takes a strong mind not to compare yourself to others if you spent many hours on social media every day.

So, use your well-deserved time in retirement wisely. Healthily use Social Media and fill up your time in retirement that makes you feel worthy and satisfying at the end of the day. 

Read more: How To Get A Retirement Hobby: 7 Tips.

9) Don’t Go Binge-Watching Netflix All-Day

Limiting your screen time is essential to living a happy and healthy retired life. Nobody feels satisfied after a day on the couch zapping through TV stations or binge-watching all sorts of series. Because the disadvantage of watching a lot of TV in retirement is that it makes you feel meaningless and useless. And that is where loneliness and depression can sneak up on you.

Often people who not seek social interactions or actively seek activities in retirement come into a negative spiral of closing themself off to other people and life in general. They become more and more secluded, retract themself from daily life and start watching more and more TV. Watching videos on Youtube, TV, or Netflix becomes their main activity in retirement, and they start to neglect other things that keep them healthy and happy. 

Binge-watching Netflix or other video streaming services is a great idea when you want a relaxing day to unwind and take things easy. Or a day when the weather isn’t that great. It’s a treat you can give yourself after a long and busy week. But it is not supposed to become a habit in retirement where you do it every day.

To enjoy your retirement as long, happy, and healthy as possible, you want to stay active and busy with mentally, socially, and physically fulfilling activities. It’s the combination of these activities and balancing projects and relaxation where the key to retirement success is. 

Read more: How Can I Stay Active in Retirement?

10) Don’t Have NO Life Goals

When you work, you have a purpose in life. The main purpose of a job is to earn money to pay the bills and to save up. That’s mostly for fun things to do in life and for your retirement. But once you retire, you lose a sense of purpose in life. You achieved a big life goal: your retirement. So, what is next?

It’s important to keep setting new goals for yourself to move your life forward in retirement. And to create purpose. Because without any goals, you have no direction in life and no purpose. And then you can feel lost, sad, and depressed. 

To live a fulfilling life, you need to have goals. Because fulfillment is a constant process of being satisfied with your life and achieving life goals. 

Goals In Retirement Are Essential Because:

  • You move your life forward,
  • You push yourself out of your comfort zone,
  • You can make dreams reality,
  • It fuels your ambition,
  • It makes you feel useful, worthy and accomplished,
  • It boosts your self-esteem,
  • It motivates you to be better,
  • You prioritize your time better,
  • It gives you the inspiration necessary to aim for things we never thought was possible,
  • You’re less likely to waste your days in retirement,
  • You can live your retirement to the fullest.

Read more: How To Travel The World After Retirement: 45 Expert Travel Tips

11) Don’t Neglect Your Health

The greatest wealth is health. And unfortunately, we often value health as much as we should only when sickness comes. Because you can have all the money in the world, but if you’re not healthy, you can’t enjoy it. And after spending so many years working very hard to finally retire, you want to enjoy it as long as possible. Right?!

So, make sure you do everything you can to stay healthy. Of course, it is sometimes a matter of being lucky or unlucky. But often we can influence and enhance our health in many ways. 


So, in retirement, you need to exercise regularly to maintain your strength, flexibility, and endurance. It isn’t only good for your body; it’s also a mood-booster. When you exercise, your brain releases a protein that will reset your memory neurons. And that is the reason why after exercising we often feel relaxed, see things more clearly and are happy. Also, endorphins are released in your brain, which gives you the feeling of euphoria.


Also, you want to keep challenging your brain to keep your brain healthy. Because maintaining your mental health is evenly important as staying physically active in retirement. If you keep your brain healthy, you prevent the risk of Alzheimer’s, and it also improves your memory, concentration, and general problem-solving skills. 


You have to feed your soul to stay healthy. So, eat as healthy as possible in retirement. And do as many activities as possible that connect to your soul and are close to your heart. 


A night of good night sleep is essential for your health. Because during your sleep, your body is recovering and restoring energy to tackle the next day of retirement. And high-quality sleep makes your heart healthier, can prevent diseases, reduces stress, improves your cognitive functions, and reduces the risk of depression. 

Puffy Lux

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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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