As a financial planning firm we often speak about numbers. The world of retirement planning involves a lot of numbers, from interest rates, to return rates, to market performance to Social Security Benefit amounts. Certainly having the correct withdrawal rates, tax strategy and Social Security plan are important but so is your plan for your retirement lifestyle. According to a new report released by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), following an initial boost in health, retirement increases your risk of clinical depression by 40%.
In our opinion, this can be avoided for most people with proper planning. It may seem odd to plan for your retirement lifestyle but it’s certainly important. Simply put, in order to be proactive about avoiding retirement depression, you should have a plan to accomplish three things.
Make Sure Your Life Has Structure
When we’re working, we have an alarm clock and at certain times we have to be certain places. Without this structure, our lives can become meandering and less focused. For good mental health, it’s important to have a consistent schedule for certain things. Whether that means you go to pool aerobics on Monday mornings, Bible study on Wednesday afternoons or coffee with a friend every Friday morning, these are all things that can provide the structure that everyone needs.
Make Sure Your Life is Active
The same study by the Institute of Economic Affairs also found that the chances of being diagnosed with a physical condition raises by 60% in retirement. Think about your work, and think about how much moving you do. Even if you sit in an office every day, you probably get up, go to the printer, water cooler, or walk in and out of the building. In retirement, unless you’ve already decided to do so, you won’t have to leave the house but to do your everday errands. In the TIAA Voices of Experience 2016 survey, 76% of retirees who said they engaged in 10 or more activities a week reported being “very satisfied” with their retirement, compared with just 52% who engaged in one to four.
It’s good to be proactive and intentional about finding some sort of activity that requires you to be active. This will be good for your physical health and your mental health.
Make Sure Your Life is Purpose Filled
In our experience, this is the most important of the three “keys to success in planning your retirement lifestyle”. When you have a job, you have a purpose. Your purpose is to do that job well and you probably understood that purpose to one degree or another. When you retire, you need to make sure you have things in your life that will get you out of bed in the morning. Typically having fun and relaxing are not enough to maintain the vim and vigor for a healthy retirement. Figure out what you care about, what you want to accomplish and never stop being productive. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards.
As a financial firm, we want to go over the numbers with you. You’re certainly going to be more happy if you are able to afford food, a roof over your head and some luxuries in retirement, however that’s not all there is to it. We encourage you to sit down and think about how you’re going to have structure, stay active and have purpose during retirement.
Here are some resources for getting involved and staying active:
A website that connects people with a causes that need them
A website where people can post various activities and join in on random things people are doing.
All For Good
Whether you’re a nonprofit or just on a mission to do good, All for Good is a free resource for rallying others to your cause.
15 ways to stay active during retirement