Even when financially prepared for retirement, many people are unprepared for the psychological and social changes that occur. Caravanning or travelling is one way many people are choosing to enjoy their retirement days.
Here are some tips for retaining a sense of purpose and pleasure in life after work, especially as we are living 20-30 years longer than people did 100 years ago. “They say 70 is the new 50. I like that”, writes Eva Bennett.
1. Make a bucket list
This helps to give you a sense of purpose and a reason to get up every morning. It is never too late to start a bucket list, but the earlier you start one the better. So start a your list of all the places you’d like to see and the things you’d like to experience.
Studies have shown that less than 40 per cent of people retire when they planned to. I have found, time and time again, that the people who had a bucket list of a variety of interests while they were still working, transitioned into retirement more smoothly than those who didn’t have one.
Men in particular, can lose their sense of identity and self-worth when they retire from full- time work, so developing a bucket list along the way, can ease this perception and give meaning to this new stage of life. Re-invent yourself. Use the skills and talents you have developed over the years to share with others by joining groups and volunteering.
2. Use your money wisely
When you know what you want in this new stage of your life, your financial planning will be more effective, especially as we are living longer. One thing I have learnt, both through other people’s stories and my own experiences, is that as we get older, using our money for experiences rather than material things becomes more meaningful and adds to our quality of life. Especially when family members and close friends have passed away and we re-assess just what is important in our lives.
For example, if you plan to go caravanning, make sure you choose options that are within your means and will allow you to be financially comfortable. If a brand new big rig is out of your reach, buy second hand, rent or stay in cabins that are available in caravan holiday parks.
3. Keep your mind fit
Just because we stop working, doesn’t mean we need to stop learning. We don’t ‘lose our marbles’ because we are getting older, especially if we keep using our brain. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for problem solving and trying new things if you take to the road for any length of time – it’s half the fun!
A wonderful provider of learning opportunities for seniors, is U3A –University of the Third Age. U3A offers a variety of courses, all conducted by volunteers – a great way to share the special skills and talents you have.
4. Keep your body fit
To slow down the ageing process and keep you healthy, one of the best physical activities you can do is, taking a daily walk, unless it’s pouring rain of course. A 30-40min walk in the fresh air keeps the body parts moving, clears the head and can prevent dementia. As you travel, exploring local walks and attractions on foot is a pleasurable way to sightsee.
While walking, focus on deepening your breath and focussing on what is good in your life. This helps to keep you more positive and reduce depression. Walking with a friend, walking the dog or being part of a walking group adds variety to your walks. You can also add variety by doing other physical activities like playing tennis, bowls, golf and swimming.
5. Have fun
Our social health is as vital as our physical and mental health. This 5th secret is the ‘icing on the cake’. When we join groups, meet new people and share interests it is easy to have fun. We are much less likely to get depressed and life in retirement becomes something to enjoy, rather than dread. Plus you will slow down the ageing process, feel younger and maintain better health.
Article from Let’s Go Caravan & Camping