Many of us plan for decades for retirement, often focused around that magic number: age 65. But sometimes life has other things in store – like, say, a global pandemic. It’s been a challenging time for us all, to say the least. But one of the lesser known challenges it has brought is that Canadians are reconsidering the timing of their retirement. A whopping 8 million Canadians feel they’ll have to retire either earlier or later due to COVID-19.
But regardless of whether you feel rushed into retirement, or you need to save a little longer than expected, even amidst the pandemic, Canadians are optimistic about what retirement means. More than half view it as a new chapter in life, while another quarter feel it’s a time for rest and relaxation.
There’s a lot of focus on the financial side of retirement planning, but often overlooked is the dramatic lifestyle change, whether you’re retiring earlier, later, or right on schedule. Assuming you have the financial side in place, how can you transition into this big lifestyle change as seamlessly as possible?
Here are a few tips to slide gracefully into retirement:
1. Listen to yourself: If you’re headed into retirement, you’ve spent many years with yourself. Hopefully, you know yourself pretty well at this point. So the first step is to simply take this transition at the speed that’s right for you. For some, that might mean jumping on the first flight to Paris the day after your retirement party (assuming travel advisories have been lifted by the time you retire). For others, it might mean reading a few books or binging some shows for a few weeks or months before achieving any big retirement goals you might have.
2. Stay connected: Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all need some contact with the most important people in our lives. For decades, you may have spent more time around your work colleagues than your family and friends, so you’re used to having a lot of people around. In your new retirement lifestyle, make sure to maintain a level of contact that’s right for you, ranging from occasional coffee chats with a friend, to joining a club. Maybe the pandemic has driven you to become a video chat expert, so it could even mean video chatting with friends and family.
3. Find ways to fill your time that make you happy: For so many years, your job has provided a routine, a sense of accomplishment, and a schedule to fill 8 to 12 hours of your day, depending on your commuting time. You might want to prepare a retirement schedule, or at least a list of things you’d like to accomplish each day. Stick to a regular sleep schedule, have a to-do list, set big and small goals, and have a regular routine. You can find more tips on creating a retirement schedule here.
4. Consider part-time work or volunteering: Both of these options can provide a sense of connection with other people, fill your time, and give you a sense of accomplishment. Whether you want to volunteer at a health care facility, work with animals, or anything you choose, it can be a truly enriching experience. If you’d like to volunteer, but aren’t sure what your options are, there are plenty of ideas and tips for retirees here.
5. Be mindful of your partner: If both you and your partner are retired, suddenly you’re spending more time together every day than ever before, and that can take some getting used to. Psychologist Katherine King offers six tips for marriage after retirement, including: be patient and supportive with each other, don’t expect your spouse to entertain you, and rediscover yourself.
6. Plan for health care: Even if you feel really healthy and active at the beginning of your retirement, it’s important to plan for any “just in case” health scenarios. Your group benefits may end when you retire, so a plan like FollowMe™ Health and Dental Insurance* can help you cover many medical costs, both expected and unexpected, and your acceptance is guaranteed if you apply within 90 days of your work plan ending.
With these tips in mind, no matter when you’re retiring, we wish you the best of luck, happiness and health!
*FollowMe™ Health Plans are not intended to – and will not – provide the exact same coverage that you may have had under your group or existing health insurance plan. Guaranteed acceptance dependent upon receipt of the first premium payment and satisfaction of eligibility criteria.
Edward Jones, “The Four Pillars of the New Retirement,” 2020.
retirementtipsandtricks.com, “How to Structure Your Retirement Day, 2020.
newretirement.com, “The Secret to a Happy Retirement? A Schedule!” July 5, 2020.
psychologytoday.com, “Happy Together: Six Tips for Marriage After Retirement,” June 30, 2019.