HOW TO ENJOY LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT: Three Great Questions to Help You Prepare

By | December 30, 2016

While the day you retire may be the “end” of a successful career, it is also the “beginning” of a new and wonderful life.  There are many ways to enjoy life after retirement.  It’s also possible to get stuck pondering what to do in retirement.  So, here are three great questions you can begin wrestling with now – before you retire – so that when you do take that plunge, your plans are ready for an enjoyable retirement..

  1. What do you want to experience in retirement?Enjoying Life after Retirement

Before you read on, take a moment to pause and just reflect a moment.  Imagine waking up that first morning after retirement, with no alarm clock buzzing in your ear. You are laying there with the contentment that nobody is screaming at you to get a task done, nobody is waiting for you to finish a report, there are no deadlines looming, and there are no fires to put out.  How do you feel?

Now, what does your ideal retirement look like?  Maybe you dream of relaxing conversation with friends.  Maybe you immediately think of traveling and experiencing new cultures.  What experiences excite and invigorate you?

Whatever you decide your experience will look like, remember the grander the dream, the grander the price tag.  Be sure you have financially set yourself up for success for the goals you’d like to experience once retired.

  1. How will you grow in retirement?

Hopefully, your answer is not to grow wider, but rather think of ways you can grow deeper.  Beware that it can be very easy to overeat in retirement because there are no set schedules to follow, and you may not have set boundaries for your food intake.  You may have thought that “grow wider” comment was a little odd at first, but remember that once retired you’ll have a lot of extra time to find your way to the refrigerator.  You need to be sure to counter that with exercise and wellness, because you have time for that, too.

Maybe even more importantly, think of how you want to grow deeper, perhaps spiritually.  Retirement is a great opportunity for personal development.  If you’re like me, there are many books on the shelf that you plan to read “one day”.  That one day comes, finally, when you are retired.

Perhaps you want to spend more time in nature communing with God.  Do it!  Maybe you want to take up a new hobby and grow in that way.  Maybe you’ve finally got the time to pursue music or art, to take a class, to write a book, or to enter public service.

Setting personal goals is important so that you don’t go aimlessly from one thing to another and really not accomplish anything.  It can be helpful to have a planner or a schedule to follow, so that you do get in the things you’d like to do each day/week – reading, exercising, volunteering, or whatever they may be.

  1. What will you contribute in retirement?Enjoy Retirement: Make It Count

Everyone wants to feel needed, and with the extra time available to retirees, there are so many options available to fulfill that passion.  Many people are fulfilled by contributing to society financially, finding just that right cause.  If you have the resources, that’s great, maybe you can leave a legacy.

There are also ways to contribute with your heart, your life, and your time; and once retired you don’t have the time excuse anymore.  So look around you, discover a need, and consider what you might do.  What if your greatest contribution is yet to come?

Take time to ponder each of these questions, and jot down your own responses.  Ask what your ideal retirement picture looks like, and give it time to come into focus.  Don’t wait until the last minute to begin dreaming about and planning for your retirement days.

Remember, retirement is not the end of your life but the beginning of something new.  No matter the age you retire, you are likely to have 20+ years of life to live.  Don’t waste a moment of your happy ending.  Keep yourself busy and involved from day one.

Maybe you can think of more helpful questions to ponder.  If you do, I’d love you to post them in the comments below so the conversation can continue.


10 thoughts on “HOW TO ENJOY LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT: Three Great Questions to Help You Prepare

  1. Kenny Lee

    I am still in my 30s and retirement is a long way to go. But if I were to think of what life looks like after calling it a day, I don’t think I’ll be sitting on the beach doing nothing.

    No. We need a purpose or goal to keep our fire alive. I’ve read that working on something purposeful after retirement is important to keep our mental and physical health intact. So I guess I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, only on a smaller scale.

    1. Dana Hagstrom Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Kenny. I remember my 30s and wish that I had started to prepare financially for retirement then. My options now would look a lot different. There is no sitting on a beach doing nothing for me, either. I agree 100% that we need to keep ourselves busy, especially in retirement. I’ve heard people say that if I retire, I’ll die. We can prevent that by keeping focused and enjoying the time freedom to be our own bosses and do what we’ve always dreamed of doing. That “goal” or purpose you describe. Best of luck to you!

  2. Norman

    And I think that you should, I believe that everyone should enjoy their retirement but in order for that to happen that takes proper planning. Many don’t think about this until they get there, then they figure out that they should have put a plan in place and for many it seems almost to late for them to enjoy their golden years, but if we think ahead and make the necessary preparation we will be well on our way to a wonderful happy and restful retirement.

    1. David Hagstrom

      Thanks for your comment, Norman. It’s good to hear you are thinking ahead and making plans. If we can help in any way, feel free to contact Dana or myself by e-mail (see the About section for our addresses).

  3. Jacob

    Hi. Nice article. For me,I think other than planning for your retirement funds, there is not really a need to think of what you should do after retirement. I just want to let it be naturally oriented. If I want to do volunteering, I would just do it etc. I would try not to make my life as goal oriented as before when I was still working. In another words, I would want it to be as carefree as possible. My question for you is do you think retirement is still possible in stressful countries like Singapore or Hong Kong etc.

    1. David Hagstrom

      That’s a great question, Jacob. I’m not familiar with life in either Singapore or Hong Kong. My guess — take it for what it’s worth — is that it is for some. I fully realize that from a worldwide perspective, reflecting on such questions about retirement reflects the perspective of relative wealth.

  4. Anna

    Loved your article and your questions really got me thinking!

    You make a really good point about being careful to maintain a healthy lifestyle during retirement. It is so easy to fall into bad habits when you don’t have a set routine anymore.

    I agree that retirement is a perfect opportunity to pursue your passions on a deeper level. Having more time means you can accomplish all the things that you weren’t able to do when you were working.

    I like your idea about thinking of ways you can contribute to society and perhaps find a cause to support. I think it’s important to stay active and volunteering would be a great way to do that!

    Best wishes,


    1. David Hagstrom

      I’m glad you found the questions helpful. Retirement is a great time to pursue your passions, to contribute to society, and — for many — to continue to make some income. More and more retirees are learning to make money online.

  5. Marc M

    There is so much to think about when it comes to retirement. I would definitely want to be able to continue at my present standard of living or better so good investments are a must.

    I am already a bit wide…he he…well thats not funny. I want to get healthy even before I retire and when I do I hope I won’t get wide…well wider.

    And your right on with the need to make a contribution. I don’t want to sit down and gather dust!

    1. David Hagstrom

      It sounds like you’ve already developed several goals for retirement: accumulating sufficient investments to sustain your present standard of living (have you quantified that and built an investment schedule?), getting healthy and fit prior to retirement, and making some kind of contribution after retirement. What kind of contribution do you dream of and how can you prepare? I encourage you to refine your goals, develop a plan, and make your dreams a reality!

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