My last post talked about the bleary outlook of saving for retirement in America and how I am going outside the norm and finding my happiness in my journey to financial freedom. It is interesting that it’s not only a struggle to finance a comfortable retirement, but also once retirees actually retire they are not prepared financially or mentally for their new “retired” life. They have regrets and could have been more prepared. I don’t want to go into retirement unprepared!
My “retirement” is right around the corner since I’m close to having financially freedom. Yay! I plan to leave the corporate workforce behind and creating a new lifestyle that centers around doing things that are enjoyable every day. Thankfully I won’t be in a position to have to work for a living anymore. I can’t wait to leave behind the politics, bureaucracy, performance reviews, and all the pointless meetings.
I believe most people think of retirement as something you do when you hit old age and are no longer able to work, and for most people retirement probably is when they are older and physically or mentally cannot work. However, for me, retiring early was a goal I set for myself several years ago when I saw my dad work until the day he could no longer get up from bed, and he died only a few months later. After seeing that, I swore to myself that I would retire before that happened to me.
Now that I’m finally approaching my goal, it’s time to make sure I’m ready!
New Habits for My New Lifestyle
Early retirement can be a huge lifestyle change if you aren’t prepared for it, and so there are some habits I need to start developing now to ensure I’m ready. These habits will keep me on track to ensure I am happy, healthy and wealthy. They can benefit you too, whether your retirement is 5, 10 or 25 years from now.
Here are the most important habits to start today to ensure a successful future:
- Get Physically Fit: Work on your health! Health and fitness play a huge part in being successful as we age. The highest expenses as we get older are doctors, hospital visits, and special care. Invest in your health now, it will keep expenses down in the long run, and keep you happier as well.
- Get Your Finances In Shape: Budget and track your expenses! What do you spend your money on currently versus in the future? Housing, healthcare, food, etc. – identify your needs versus wants. Know where your money will be coming from (retirement accounts, investment accounts, social security) and plan accordingly.
- Mentally Prepare: Identify what you are going to do every day to keep you busy in retirement. It’s a big life adjustment to go from a consistent routine every day based on someone else’s schedule to setting your own schedule.
- Determine Your Future Needs and start living that life now: Financial – How much will you spend? Relationships – Who will you spend time with? Time – What will you do?
Preparation is Key
If you aren’t prepared, retirement can be a difficult transition. Since I am a planner at heart, I enjoy preparing and planning for the big day when I can make my own schedule 7 days a week. The key to a healthy, happy retirement is setting goals for yourself now and developing an action plan to get you there. Everyone has different goals, but the basic ones I mentioned above – get fit, save money, and make a plan are the stepping stones to managing stress and having more fun.
Thankfully I’ve also found some social groups online with people that have the same goals as I do. Often, the path for my goal has been difficult because I was living differently than most people, and I did not fit the Corporate America mold. I feel like it is much easier to reach a goal you know others are striving for as well, so I have found it extremely helpful to follow a community of like-minded folks. It also makes me feel like my goals are not unrealistic and can definitely be obtained if I work hard and am persistent with following through. (Now why can’t I devote so much energy to my workouts!?!?)
My advice: Stay focused on your goals and you will be on your way to a happy and healthy future!