The rules surrounding retirement are being rewritten by those who are treating it less like an ending to a career, and more like a new beginning. For some, that may involve going back to school, relocating somewhere unconventional or even starting a business.
Retirement can be whatever you want it to be, as long as you start off on the right foot. Consider the following tips to achieve a surprising (and fulfilling) retirement.
1. Don’t retire with debt
28 percent of middle-income baby boomers devote more than 40 percent of their monthly income to debt. What's more, 23 percent have a mortgage with more than 20 years remaining.1 It’s hard to pursue passions of any kind, let alone relax, pick up new hobbies or travel, with debt holding you back.
2. Set yourself up for success
A greater number of Americans are retiring with less and less savings, with lingering debt as much to blame as spending or saving habits. In addition to growing your savings, start handling your debts. If your investments aren’t going the way you intended, then talk to a financial advisor for some advice.
3. Keep working: Really!
Two-thirds of baby boomers plan to work past the age of 65 … or never plan to retire.2 Find something you enjoy doing and feel confident in, knowing you are maintaining your financial status as well as keeping yourself sharp.
4. Reap the health rewards
Yes, debts and bills need to be balanced and focused, but don’t forget about your mental health. A study conducted by the Rush University Alzheimer’s Disease Center discovered that seniors who continue working or have a strong sense of meaning through employment or volunteering have a reduced risk of stroke, dementia, premature death and more.3
5. Never stop learning
While you may have finished with school a long time ago, why not pick up a class or two? Whether it’s to learn something you always were interested in, to pick up a new language or simply to stay current in your field of employment, education really helps the mind stay active and young.
6. Mentor a millennial
Members of the younger generations don’t hesitate to hop from job to job while they figure out what they are passionate about. Use your experience to help guide a millennial with career or industry advice.
7. Unretire into your passion
Never stop pursuing your dreams, whether this means volunteering with an organization you feel strongly about, starting a business or relocating to that spot you’ve always wanted.
There’s no right or wrong way to retire. Make retirement a celebrated new beginning, rather than an ending, and retire in whatever way makes sense for you, your finances and ultimately, your happiness.