Managing your time as well as your money in retirement

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When was the last time you had too much time on your hands? Weeks are hectic, weekends are worse and during the holidays there are always things to get done around the house. Even if you go abroad it’s impossible to escape every email.

But once you retire your days will be your own. You’ll have time to indulge yourself in pastimes and pleasures and actually enjoy life away from the continual pressure of work. For many people this is a welcome thought, although some worry about how they’ll manage when the routine they’ve become so used to falls away.  

Plan your move into retirement

It can take time to successfully manage the transition into retirement and a lot of people find the shock of having so much free time difficult to absorb. If you’re not ready for it there’s a lot of slack to take up at once, especially if you stop working completely on the day you retire.

And this is one of the reasons why you might want to consider phasing your retirement so that you go from working full-time to part-time before stopping completely. Not only will it allow you to earn an income for longer and so make your retirement savings stretch further, but it’ll also give you time to get used to a new way of life.

There’s also the option of trying something new and either learning new skills or putting the ones you’ve got to a different use. Volunteer work, for example, comes in all shapes and sizes and an online search will quickly begin to show what’s available in your community.

From helping out in shops, providing professional services or mentoring others, there are all manner of projects that need an extra pair of hands. Volunteering will replace some of the time you’d previously spent at work and provides an easy way to meet new people. It’ll also add some structure to your week and let you take pleasure from giving something back to the community. 

Protect your most precious asset  

Whatever you decide to do in retirement it’s important to remember that you can’t buy good health, although you can go a long way to protecting it. Looking after yourself physically will make a massive difference to your quality of life and so it’s something to really think about.

Maybe you’ve always enjoyed an active lifestyle and so you’ll need little persuasion to spend time gardening, golfing or going for a walk. But if exercise hasn’t always been a part of your weekly routine then it’s worth exploring as you move into your later years.

The health benefits speak for themselves and if you can maintain a decent level of fitness it’ll stop you being out of puff every time you climb the stairs and give you a bit of extra zip when you’re trying to keep up with the grandchildren.

But the positives go way beyond the physical and having an active lifestyle will help you meet new people and maintain existing friendships. Whether it’s a weekly workout, a daily dip or just walking to the paper shop, exercise keeps you healthy and releases endorphins that promote a positive frame of mind. 

Exercise your mind as well as your body

And why just focus on physical exercise? The time you’ll have in retirement could open the door to new learning and new hobbies. From pottery and painting to film making and furniture restoration there are all manner of freely available courses.

Maybe it’s time to brush up on your IT, take up a musical instrument or learn a new language. The options are endless and getting in touch with your local council is a good place to start exploring what’s on offer.

So much of the planning that goes into retirement is focused on your financial needs and these are clearly very important. But there’s also a major transformation to manage as you stop working and have more time on your hands.

Giving a little thought to how you’ll use this time will help you get the best out of it and in turn make sure you enjoy your retirement to the full. And after a life of work isn’t that what we all want?