For some, retirement can’t come fast enough; for others, the idea of no longer going to work each day is just too terrifying to contemplate. If you fall into the latter camp, don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re alone. Work, especially when you’ve been in the same job for many years, has a habit of defining who you are, providing you with ready-made friends, and creating the kind of routine that we human beings secretly crave. Retirement-blues is a very real issue but one way of avoiding it is to plan ahead for a path that eases you very gradually from full-time work into full-time fun. Try these 5 simple steps and see the difference they make to your mood.
Work – but on your terms
Almost all long-term employees are highly valued – for their years of expertise, their ability to mentor and encourage, and the example they set to younger workers. It’s highly likely that your employer will be as reluctant to see you go as you will be to leave – which is where an amicable halfway can be negotiated. Enquire at your workplace about part-time or contract work after retirement. But be warned: it can be flattering to be offered work after retirement because it can make you feel more valued than ever. Decide ahead of time and set your work limits clearly before you talk to the boss.
Work and travel combo
Retirement is all about travel but if you can’t let go of the job quite yet, perhaps you can build some travel into it. If you take work home now, why not extend that to taking work away with you in the campervan or to the hotel? Before you know it, the travel will hold more appeal than the job!
Embrace retirement as a time to use the skills you’ve gained during your working life to benefit others. A volunteer job can be every bit as demanding and appreciated as a paid position – it’s just that you can place your own limits on the hours you want to work. Organisations such as Citizens Advice can help put you in touch with the very people who reply on your skills to help others.
Make your partner your best friend
Before you take the plunge into retirement, build a stronger friendship with your partner. It’s very likely you’ve taken each other for granted for far too many years. Now that you’ll be seeing a lot more of each other, you’ll want to rediscover your compatibility by scheduling date nights out at the movies, taking morning walks together, getting stuck into a joint DIY project, or taking up a sport you both enjoy. You’ll soon find you’re filling a gap in each other’s lives in a way that’s positive and productive.
For some, one of the frightening things about retirement is the potential to be on a more limited income than you were. Battle those fears by giving your budget a make-over before you leave full time work. You’ll soon find that though the pennies may be fewer the expenses will be less. With more leisure time on your hands, there’s more you can do around home yourself, rather than employing a professional. There’s more time to grow some of your own food, and more time to prepare healthy low-cost meals. Let the gym membership lapse and enjoy a leisurely walk instead. Take time to order books from the library rather than rushing online to buy them. Browse the internet for a home-swop plan instead of an expensive hotel room. Leisure will bring you more low-cost luxuries than you ever dreamed of.