Retiring from a life-long career, whatever it may have been, is one of the biggest steps a person takes during their lifetime. It can be an enormous lifestyle change at the best of times. The ramifications are various and often challenging to say the least. But if you prepare yourself ahead of time, the consequences and the leap from employed to retired won’t be quite as jarring.

Apart from the financial rewards a job imparts, going to work provides you with so many other important aspects of a full life. It’s also a social outlet, provides personal challenges, gives you cognitive stimulation and makes you feel useful.

There’s often nothing else quite like that feeling of job satisfaction or “a job well done” in many people’s minds so when it’s over, many retirees feel lost. It’s therefore very important for your mental health and your spirit to find ways to maintain and nurture these elements of satisfaction once you leave the workforce.

I’ve never been afraid to state the obvious. So what follows are some suggestions – many of which are admittedly very obvious but nevertheless support frequent repetition – about how to continue to feel worthwhile by staying socially connected, mentally and physically active and keeping your finances sound.

Socialize

Once retired you may still wish to join in with your old colleagues and work friends on social occasions, so endeavour to stay connected either by phone, email or through social media. Just because you no longer work together doesn’t mean you no longer hang out together, should you please. Many companies have social clubs in place but if yours doesn’t, why not start one up or at least set aside an evening or lunch hour every month or two to meet up with old colleagues and work mates?

Even if you don’t want to keep as busy as you once were, it’s nice to plan outings with positive people in the same situation as you. Walking, cycling clubs, golf and tennis clubs, art galleries and book or bridge clubs, theatre groups and the like all usually hold social events, so make a decision to join in if it’s an activity that interests you.

Here’s an idea. If you’re a dog owner, why not visit a local dog park where you’ll meet some fellow pet lovers? You’re sure to have at least one thing in common with the people who frequent them: a love for man’s best friend! Obvious? Yes. True? Absolutely. Frequently overlooked? You betcha!

Find New Hobbies, Sports or Other Activities

Retirement often means more free time in your week for reading, hobbies and other activities or sports. Now you may finally have the time to perfect your culinary skills, or your golf swing, perhaps master a new language or musical instrument. Retirement may even prompt you to return to school and resume or take up some studies that have always interested you.

Volunteer

There are many organizations that need volunteers. Discover what resources your province or community has available to help you connect with centres and non-profit organizations with whom you’d like to avail yourself. Volunteering is another way to enhance your social life too, possibly filling in the gap after leaving the workplace.

Finances

When you retire, your financial picture and obligations usually change. For starters, your income will probably be lower, but you’ll no longer have work-related expenses which may have amounted to quite a lot of money every month. On the other hand, you may now incur additional costs for your health care and to support your recreational activities or your travels or continuing education.

Whatever the case, you’ll need to review your budget and goals in light of your new circumstances. It’s a good idea to meet with a professional, such as a wealth advisor, to assess your total financial situation.

Eliminate Debt

One of the best pieces of advice any advisor can give you before you actually retire is to be as debt-free as possible. If you want peace of mind in retirement, you should start to reduce your debt load well in advance of your planned retirement date.

Start by paying off your credit cards (since they charge high interest rates) and smaller debts. In over your head? Talk to a budget or credit counsellor if you need help.

The trusted team of financial advisors at Coastal Community Credit Union, Coastal Community Private Wealth Group, or Interior Savings can assist you in achieving your retirement goals, so if you haven’t already consulted one, why not make the call and set up an appointment today?

You can also take our Retire Ready questionnaire and get a free copy of our Retire Ready eBook to help you evaluate where you stand and for more tips when it comes to your future retirement.