How to Find a Meaningful Existence When You Retire

Retirement is meant to be a time to enjoy life without the 9 to 5 toil. But after working for the majority of your life, it can be difficult to find a new normal. You may feel like you’ve lost your sense of purpose in the world, and living without a sense of purpose can actually be detrimental to your health. According to a study from Psychological Science, researchers found that of 7,000 Americans (from the ages of 20 to 75) tracked for 14 years, those who felt they had a direction or purpose in life lived longer than those who did not.

Just because you’re out of the workforce and you’ve raised your family doesn’t mean that you have nothing left to accomplish. The new retirement is a time when you can think about what you truly enjoy without worrying about earning regular income. Here are some excellent ways to reintroduce new goals and ambitions into your life so that you can lead a meaningful existence post-retirement.

  • Pick up or continue a hobby. If you loved to dance, paint, golf, sew or pitch clay pots prior to retirement, devote more time to your passion projects now that you have time. If you find you’re not physically able to do what you once enjoyed, experiment with new hobbies until you kindle a new passion to devote your time and energy toward.
  • Hit the gym. Physical exercise will help your mental and physical health, but being a part of a group fitness environment will also help with your social life. Gyms and group fitness classes are great places to garner new friendships and channel your energy toward fitness goals, giving you a sense of purpose that is all-around healthy. (If you are unsure of which exercises are appropriate for you, consult your doctor.)
  • Make your voice heard in the political arena. With your newfound freedom, voice your opinions in politics by attending city council meetings or volunteering for candidates you believe in.
  • Never stop learning. Though you probably never envisioned yourself returning to a college campus in your 60s and beyond, many institutions offer free classes for seniors to audit. If you’re homebound, you can take distance learning courses online. Continuing to educate yourself will give you goals to work toward and keep your mental functions sharp.
  • See the world. All of the travelling you put off to raise children or go to work doesn’t have to be a dream any longer. Go to new places, see the sights, taste the cuisine.
  • Give back to the community. Volunteering is extremely rewarding, and there are many worthy organizations in your backyard that rely on volunteer labor. Contact your local hospital, nursing home, homeless shelter, animal rescue or church to see who is in need of your help.
  • Take care of children. Whether it’s your grandkids or your neighbors, if you miss having little ones around the house, taking care of others’ children can be very rewarding.
  • In some cases, continue to work because it rewards you with social interaction and a little spending money. There are ways that you can do it on your terms.

You probably have planned and saved for decades to reach this moment, but until now, retirement has always been a figment of the future, not the present. Naturally, it will take some time to transition. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find your new sense of purpose right away. There are infinite opportunities out there for you to explore, so take this time, discover or rediscover what you truly love and enjoy it. You’ve earned it!

Wood Smith Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

“Finance Made Simple” blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice.  Each person’s situation is different.  Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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