You’ve probably imagined that the first day of your retirement life is going to be wonderful. No alarm clock waking you up, no deadlines, nowhere to be. You can enjoy your morning coffee at your leisure, take a sunrise stroll around the neighborhood, create a new morning routine—essentially, you can do anything you want.
The former 40 hours a week you used to give to your employer will soon be yours to do with what you wish. That’s a lot of free time, and travel and hobbies can be expensive on hard to fit into a retirement budget. However, if you plan ahead with your retirement savings, you’ll have plenty of things to fill your spare time and plenty of funds to do it.
Time to fill during retirement
At first, not having to get up for each day for a job can be liberating. You can relax—perhaps complete some small projects around the house or have lunch with friends. It may feel like being on vacation but without a plan and ideas to fill the time your job used to take, even the best of us can get bored during retirement.
If you have adequate savings, retirement can be the chance to explore opportunities you missed while working. Perhaps there is a hobby you once loved but didn’t have time to pursue. You can join a group or club that didn’t fit with your work schedule. There are limitless options from trying a new sport to volunteering in your community.
Take some time to consider what you enjoy, what your interests are and find opportunities that match. Make a list of options so that as you approach retirement, you can get started on your new ventures.
Fund your hobbies and travel
While plans are important, you also need to remember retirement savings and expense planning often only account for regular living expenses. Unless you already belong to clubs, participate in groups or hobbies, or travel regularly, those additional expenses aren’t going to be factored into your retirement income.
It’s time to do a little simple math. Consider how much the things you would like to do in your retirement will cost and for how many years you’d like to be able to afford to do them. For example, a membership to the golf club might cost $100 annually, and you may plan to do that for the next 15 years, so that’s at least additional $1,500 you will need to put aside. It’s probably safe to assume that the dues will go up over the next 10 years, so you’ll want to factor that in as well. On the other hand, a trip might be a one-time expense for which you budget ahead of time.
One couple I advise recently retired. They always wanted to travel to Egypt, but they were worried about the costs. After a quick review, I showed them that they had plenty saved to make their dream happen. I’ll never forget how excited they were before and after the trip. They’re a great example for others working on a retirement planning strategy.
Make your retirement strategy work for you
Whatever your hobbies or interests, you’ll need to build extra savings into your retirement strategy to be able to enjoy them. You can also make a plan to have a part-time job or some type of self-employment in retirement to supplement your income. As a bonus, you’ll have the chance to learn something new, and such a job can fill your time and give you a sense of purpose.
With a little advance planning, you can make retirement the start of an exciting new chapter in your life.
Jeff Rose is an Illinois Certified Financial Planner. He blogs at Good Financial Cents and Soldier of Finance. He loves Crossfit workouts, writes about Roth IRA rules and craves In-N-Out burger. You can follow his updates on Twitter.