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16 Things You Could Do On The First Day Of Your Retirement

16 Things You Could Do On The First Day Of Your Retirement

Retirement is a beautiful time in your life. You’ve done the daily grind, you’ve lived a life, raised kids, and had some adventures. It’s time to settle down for your golden years, reflect on your choices, and have some carefree fun. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do with your free time, here’s a short list of ideas to get you started!

1. Get a part time job

Idle hands are the devil’s playthings as the old saying goes. Sediment lifestyles are poisonous to the mind and the body and if you’re having trouble finding a reason to get off your chair and move around then maybe a part-time job can help. Something that’s low pressure where you can interact with other people, make a couple of bucks, and get out of your house for a bit. It can also contribute to your income along with your 401k and pension if you have those things and a little extra money is never a bad thing.

2. Spend some time and money on your hobbies

When you’re young, life is just so busy. We have to work, we have a social life to maintain, and sometimes we just want to take some time to ourselves. Once you’re retired, the fast living has come to an end and you have a lot more free time. Why not restore that classic car you’ve always wanted? You could write that novel you’ve always wanted to write. If you’re an aficionado of BBQ, you can get a smoker and work on that perfect rib rub. The world is your oyster and the things you enjoy have been neglected long enough.

3. Exercise more often

It’s important to exercise all of your life. However, it’s especially important once you’re older. Even though you don’t have to work anymore, you still have a myriad of diseases headed your way that are associated with being old. Heart disease is more prevalent than ever. Obesity and diabetes are pretty big deals too. Getting some exercise can extend your life, make you feel better, and help stave off the woes of growing older. Your metabolism isn’t getting any faster so you should probably do something about it so you can enjoy your golden years even more.

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4. Do that long overdo work on your house

Does your roof leak? Does your insulation need replaced? Do you not want to pay anyone to do it? Well I happen to know a certain someone with a lot of free time and not much to do. That person is you. Now that you’re retired, you can turn your house into the castle you’ve always wanted it to be. Replace the counter tops, put that full service bar in your basement, and make that sun room a beautiful place for your grand kids to play. Plant a garden, work on your lawn, and get rid of that dying tree in your yard. You don’t need that tree in your life anyway. You have time to perfect your house so why not do that?

5. Or you could always move

If your current house isn’t worth all the trouble, then why not move to the place you want to be? Some people like living in the city with stores and entertainment a mere few blocks away. Others prefer the country with huge yards, clear skies, and a quiet neighborhood. Whatever your tastes are, you should make good on them. These are your golden years and you should spend it where you want. Then once you move, head one space up on this list and you suddenly have something else to do!

6. Start a business

You’ve spent the last 20 to 40 years being a part of a business. We’re sure you’ve picked up some insider info on how it all works. You could always take that experience and start your own business. It’ll give you something to do and think about and you could even be providing jobs for other people someday. If you’re looking for some good ideas, check out number two on this list. You have hobbies and interests that could easily be turned into a business idea. Then you’ll get paid for doing something you love. That’s not a bad way to spend your later years.

7. Get back in touch with your family and friends

Being a highly motivated worker with a spouse and kids is a lot of work. You very likely have loved ones that you haven’t spent much time with over the years. Retirement is a great time to give them a call and go get some coffee to catch up. There may be people that you didn’t have time for as a worker but could be very positive parts of your life now that you don’t work anymore. You have second cousins and distant family that you may have never met. Isn’t it time to change that?

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8. Volunteer

There are very few things that give you the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping your fellow human beings. No matter where you live, we’re sure there are people nearby who need help. You can volunteer at the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. You can volunteer to clean up parks and local landmarks. Churches and schools in your area always have something they could use a couple of extra hands on. If you’re super adventurous, you could even go help out overseas somewhere. The world still needs you. You just need to find out where it needs you!

9. Teach others your wisdom

You’ve lived quite the life. You’ve seen things and done things. You worked hard and managed to make it all the way to retirement. Chances are there is a field or area of expertise that you could easily teach. Some schools and universities are looking for teachers. You can hold seminars at your local library or even teach a class at the local learning annex. There are several generations of younger people that could use a lesson or two from someone with your experience.

10. Get smarter

If teaching isn’t your thing, why not be taught? You’ve got a lot of time which means you could go back to school and get that degree you’ve always wanted. Or if you have a degree, you could always go for the next level in that degree or even start a second degree. It’s probably been two or three decades since you’ve been in school. Things have changed since then and becoming educated is never a bad idea.

11. Babysit

Many parents in your neighborhood would love a night out — and if you still like having kids around and enjoy spending time with them, babysitting might be for you. If you need to make some extra money, this could be the perfect way to enjoy a child’s company and have a job at the same time.

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12. Travel

This is something a lot of retired people do anyway but it’s still a great idea. There are a lot of ways to travel. You can buy a motor home and go on a road trip, buy some plane tickets to an exotic place you want to go, or even go camping. You deserve a vacation and now you have the time, money, and motivation to do so. Do you know what goes well with oysters? Pina Coladas and beaches, that’s what.

13. Make sure you’re really okay

It’s about time you took a visit to your doctor and got a little more than your monthly check up. You should have your heart looked at, your body scanned, and some more in depth tests done. You’ve just worked for 20 or 30 years at a stressful job. Your diet probably hasn’t been all that great and you may have been a smoker for a while. These things take an unimaginable toll on the human body. Go see your doctor and make sure you’re going to actually enjoy your retirement. Visit your dentist and take care of those chompers. Make sure you don’t need glasses. You don’t need to call off of work and get a doctor’s note anymore so take advantage of the opportunity!

14. Give up the grudge

You’ve likely made some friends over the years and it’s equally likely that you’ve made some enemies. You may have some loved ones that you haven’t spoken to in years because of a disagreement. Now that you have some free time, isn’t it time to figure out what those disagreements are and figure out how to fix them? These have the potential to be the calmest, happiest times of your life. Why let old grudges wreck that?

15. Be more social

Just because you don’t work doesn’t mean you can’t go places and do things every day. You could join a club like a book club or fishing club, throw some dinner parties, and other social activities. Go out there and meet people. It’s the perfect time to do so. A lot of retirees can end up old and alone because their social lives were their jobs. You can easily avoid this by finding things to do with other people. If there aren’t groups in your area, start one!

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16. Relax

If there is one thing people don’t do enough of anymore, it’s relax. It’s your first day of retirement. You just finished working 20 to 30 years. You’ve raised kids. You’ve been to concerts, parties, amusement parks, and planned family vacations. You’ve had friends and family pass away which means mourning and funerals. It’s been busy and stressful. Now the kids are out of the house and you don’t work anymore. Sit down, put on a favorite movie, and just stop for a day or two. You have the rest of your life to do everything on this list but the first thing you should do is sit down, take a deep breathe, and understand that the hard part is over. You’re free. Enjoy yourself.

Featured photo credit: Stonewood Financial via stonewoodfinancial.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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