When the world’s your oyster, what will you do?

Fishing? Travelling? Lending your expertise to a charity? How you intend to spend your golden years is every bit as important as how you save for it.

What makes you happy?

For some people it’s being close to their family, for others it’s sinking that clutch 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th to steal the win.

Chances are, what makes you happy now is how you’ll be spending a large chunk of your retirement.

But (and there’s always a but) when that activity stops being something you do in your spare time after work, and starts taking centre stage, will it still be as enjoyable?

The expectation is that retirement will bring a period of bliss to one’s life. But the drastic changes it produces can be jarring.

With that in mind, here are five things to keep in mind ahead of your own retirement.

1. Start discovering new hobbies and sports now

You’ll have an extra eight hours a day to fill in when you stop working. That’s pretty much doubling the free time you have each day.

You’re going to need to find some new activities to fill in that extra time and keep your body and mind fit and healthy.

Golf fills up four to five hours a day. Sailing clubs are almost always happy to introduce keen deckhands to local yachties. And it costs next to nothing to whet a fishing line down by a river bank with your grandkids.

For more studious pursuits, language lessons in some of the easier languages (such as Spanish, French, Italian or even Indonesian) are now extremely cheap to learn online.

Learning for two to four hours each day in the months leading up to an overseas trip will also make the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

2. Know when you’re ready

Just because you reach the magic age of retirement, doesn’t mean you have to retire.

While you may be financially ready for retirement, it can be emotionally and socially jarring.

So, if you’re still getting a lot of satisfaction from your work and enjoy being around your colleagues, there’s no reason you can’t work well into your 70s.

To make the transition into retirement easier, consider working just one or two days a week. This will ensure you keep you work friends and clients, while building new relationships at the same time.

And the longer you work, the more funds you’ll have when it’s finally time to hang up the boots.

3. Don’t lose your sense of purpose

Many people picture their retirement laid back on a tropical beach in Bali or Thailand, knocking down mojitos between leisurely swims each day.

But to be honest, that’s likely to become monotonous after a while. Especially after you’ve spent the last 50 years working towards a goal.

So, to ensure you’re not spending money for money’s sake to will away the days, it’ll pay to keep your mind active.

For example, if your heart is set on heading overseas, you could learn the local language for free through a language exchange program. This will ensure you’re not culturally isolated, endear you to the local community, and help give back to the local population.

Closer to home, you may choose to volunteer one day of your time and expertise each week to a local charity or community club.

4. What does your partner want?

This is an often overlooked question when it comes to retirement.

You might see yourself travelling in a campervan together around Australia. They might see themselves spending two days a week looking after the grandkids.

The two are hard to reconcile.

Making sure you both compromise is the key to any successful retirement plan.

Also, keep in mind that you’ll likely spend more time around each other than you ever have before. So for some couples it helps to make sure you have different activities planned each day.

After all, you want something exciting to discuss over the dinner table each night.

5. How long will you live?

How long’s a piece of string, right? But here are some stats to help you plan.

A woman aged 65 in 2015 can expect to live to 87.3 years old on average, while a man can expect to reach age 84.5.

And while it’s not for everyone, some people feel that leaving a legacy to their kids and grandkids is important.

This is where budgeting will play a big role, and where we can help you further.

Large expenses such as overseas travel, car or caravan purchases, white goods, or flashy new gadgets can put a sizeable dent in your funds.

So if you’d like to put together a detailed plan that will help you make the most of your retirement, come in and have a chat.

We’d be happy to talk through a number of strategies that will ensure you’re doing the most you can to live a happy and fulfilled retirement.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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