3 Secrets to Retiring Well

by Jon Dulin

secrets to retiring wellI read an article recently in Money Magazine regarding retirement. The author pointed out three secrets to retiring well. They include:

  1. Embrace Change: As life happens, sometimes our plans need to change and we have to rethink retirement. Accept this and you will be much happier.
  2. Stay Engaged: Keeping active is important after you retire. Being able to do things, be it working a part time job that you truly love or taking up a new hobby, it’s important to stay engaged.
  3. Be Flexible: This is related to the first point. Be flexible on when you plan to retire or whether or not you plan to move. by keeping your options open, you will be happier.

Embrace Change

I agree with all of these points. Most of us do not like change, but let’s face it, in life, things always change. It’s better to learn to accept change and go with the flow than trying to always resist it. When you try to always resist change, you think and act negatively. This has a big impact on your overall life and health. The world isn’t ending if you have to work to 65 instead of 60. Accept this and focus on spending time with friends and family.

Stay Engaged

Staying engaged is also huge. I’ve seen both sides of this. I’ve known people that retired and did nothing. When they were 75, it seemed as though they were in their 90’s. On the other hand, I’ve seen retirees in their 90’s that seem as though they are in their 70’s because they are always up and about, moving all around. My Dad retired by going from full time to part time for a few years. Once he fully retired, he has stayed active. He pays golf all of the time and does small projects around the house and works int he garden. Staying active allows you to fully enjoy your retirement.

Be Flexible

Lastly, I think being flexible is big. Maybe you are on track to retire early but you just can’t stand your current job any longer. But quitting and taking a position you really want may force you to have to work until 70. For me, if my current job was really that unbearable, I would rethink my retirement plans and consider working until 70. Likewise, if a child comes along, you may have to delay retirement. Be staying flexible, you can ensure you will remain happy now and into the future.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let retirement be some fixed idea that everything in your life has to fit around. If you do this, it will bring you a lot of stress and you won’t be happy. Instead, allow for life to happen and be flexible with your plans. I can relate all of these tips with taking a vacation. A vacation is much more fun when you stay active and explore. Just sitting around all day for a week isn’t much fun. Likewise, you have to be flexible. Maybe it will rain one day or one exhibit you want to see will be closed. Don’t let that one day spoil your entire trip. Be flexible and move on. You will be much happy in the long run.

Readers, what are your thoughts in these secrets to retiring well?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

John S @ Frugal Rules February 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

I think these are some good tips. I think many have the idea of retirement as sitting on your butt and doing nothing. I have a family member who has done this and, quite honestly, it’s sad. They have so much to contribute, yet they do nothing but watch TV and go on their computer and I think it has aged them more. I view it as a time to be active and doing the things I did not have the time to earlier in life like volunteering, travelling and other projects that keep me active.
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Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy February 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

The key is to learn how to efficiently adapt. Life enjoys throwing out those unexpected curve balls, and dealing with a certain level of uncertainty and spontaneity is a useful skill to master.

(As an airy-Gemini sun sign, I naturally tend to adapt to my circumstances!) :P
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krantcents February 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I have a whole plan for retirement to keep me engaged and physically active. If I didn’t I expect I would age quickly.
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My Financial Independence Journey February 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I would say that finding ways to stay active and engaged (socially and mentally) in the world is critical. It’s not a tip, as much as it is a moral imperative for a good retirement. I can see this in my older relatives. The ones who are engaged with life are doing so much better despite being older than those who are not engaged.
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Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank February 12, 2013 at 7:19 am

I think you have to know how to live within your means if you are ever going to retire successfully. Too many people think it is their time to shine and they blow all their life savings in the first couple of years and then have to fall back on the pension.
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Mary Rhodes February 14, 2013 at 8:37 am

I think you’ve nailed it in the coffin that retirement is this fixed idea. I personally want to have mini retirements here and there rather than when I’m old and wrinkly and unable to climb the Himalayas etc.
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Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin February 14, 2013 at 10:42 am

Great advice! As John pointed out I believe the biggest problem with retirement these days is people’s perception of retirement. For any sane rational man or woman, sitting around doing nothing all day long will get old after 7 days. I believe people should view retirement as a chance to start doing what you want without having to worry about finances. Maybe you can start that garden you always wanted or become a founder of a non profit.
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MakintheBacon$ February 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

I think because I am so busy right now juggling several things, it would be odd if I decided to stop everything completely when I retire. I hope to take up new and different hobbies,(knitting, maybe?) do some more traveling and perhaps keep my part-time job (if my body can handle it) when I am retired. I
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STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) March 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

These are important tips not just for retirement but for how to approach life in general. At 62, I love what I do and have no plans to retire. I have spent a lifetime learning tax, estate and business law so the fun part is really being able to help clients and to make there life better or to help solve their legal, tax and financial problems. I am very grateful that this is my life’s work, so why would I stop doing this?
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