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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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Joseph Hindy

A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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