Make sure you retire to something not from something

Have you been looking forward to your retirement for ages, counting down the months and years until you shut that office door behind you? You may be all too ready to skip off into the sunset with your gold carriage clock, luxury spa day vouchers or whatever your generous colleagues have bestowed upon you.

Or are you one of those people who absolutely love work and would happily go on until you’re ninety? The prospect of sitting by the fireside, knitting or gardening until there’s not a weed in sight, may be filling you with dread.

People who’ve had busy jobs and are suddenly faced with long, empty days can find the adjustment very hard. In our experience, what makes a crucial difference is to think of retirement as retiring to something as opposed to retirement from something.

Here are just some ideas…

Carry on working
This may sound somewhat ironic but retirement is often a good opportunity to start a totally new career, in something you’ve always wanted to try your hand at. The difference is you can have more say in what you take on and the pace can be less frantic. It’s also a source of extra income. You might even want to start your own business; tour guiding, dog walking, fixing computers or wherever you spot a gap in the market. Alternatively, there are many types of voluntary work where your involvement would be greatly valued e.g mentoring young people, assisting at a library or hospital or helping with conservation projects.

Get travelling
Now is your opportunity to grasp your freedom and travel the world. You’re no longer limited by a set number of days’ annual leave so why not start planning trips to all those countries you’ve always dreamed of? It’s not just students who can take a ‘gap’ year; taking a ‘transition year’ between work and retirement can be a great way to help you take stock. And unless you’re a fan of cold weather, why stay in Britain in the winter months when you could head for warmer climes – you’ll certainly save on the heating bills.

Take up a new hobby or sport
While you’re still working, it’s a good time to explore new hobbies for when you’ll have more time at your disposal – how about quilting, orienteering, painting on silk, jive dancing or joining a film society, for instance? You could also take up a new sport or perfect one you already enjoy, e.g work on your golf handicap or find new cycling routes. Whatever you choose, it’s an ideal way to meet new people and mixing with different age groups will help keep you young.

Retiring successfully
The key, in our opinion, for a good transition from working life to a fulfilling retirement is to start planning now. We did hear of someone who set themselves lists to live their ‘new’ life by; three things to do more of and three new things to do. So think about what you want to do, don’t be afraid to say no and remember, you have the liberty to choose.

Next time you’re asked, don’t say you’re retiring from teaching, banking or whatever, but that you’re retiring to a second life of exciting and rewarding opportunities.