Everyone has a long list of things they'd like to do once they retire. We simply don't have time to do everything we want to while working a full-time job. Everyone is exhausted all the time, and it's all we can do to make it to Friday evening. However, there are some things you shouldn't put off until retirement. Life is too short, and who knows when our time will be up. Here are some of the things that can't wait for retirement:
Travel. Almost everybody I know wants to travel more after they retire. Traveling is a lot of fun, but it can be expensive, too. Most employees have a limited number of vacation days per year and a lot of those are used up for obligations like kids' activities and family gatherings such as weddings and major holidays.
I know it's hard to find time to travel when you're busy with your life, but don't put it off until retirement. When you're young, you can enjoy new experiences on a budget. I went backpacking in Europe on a student budget, and it was the most memorable trip of my life. Now that I'm older, I want more comfort and it's harder to travel frugally.
Also, who knows what shape you'll be in when you're 65 years old. When you're younger and healthier, you can endure more adversity and enjoy yourself more. My friend's dad put off traveling until he retired, but then he developed Parkinson's disease. It's much more difficult to travel when you have certain health conditions.
Exercise. Exercise is a chore for the majority of us. Going to the gym or going out for a run usually takes over an hour, and who has time for that? Some of us decide to put off exercising until after retirement, but that is a huge mistake.
Exercise leads to a healthier lifestyle, which we should never delay trying to achieve. The lack of exercise is a major cause of the chronic diseases we become more susceptible to as we age. You won't be able to enjoy yourself as much if you are dealing with health problems in retirement. Retired life will be much more fun if you're healthy and able to enjoy it.
Downsize your home. Downsizing is a great way to reduce your retirement expenses. After you retire, you won't be tied down to a location anymore, and relocating to a more affordable area is a great option. However, there is no reason to wait until then. If your kids are out of the house and you don't need all of that extra space, then why not downsize to a smaller home now? You'll save on housing costs, and you'll be able to add more to your retirement fund.
Hobbies. Another thing retirees put off is their hobbies and personal interests. I know, time is tight for everyone, and our personal interests often have a low priority on the to-do list. I'm guilty of this myself. I want to take a photography class, but I just don't have any time. Waiting for retirement to pursue your hobbies is a mistake, though. It can take years to develop a deep appreciation for a particular hobby. If you wait until retirement to find some hobbies, then those new interests will be harder to master.
Second act. Don't wait to find your second act. For our parents, retirement was about relaxing after a long career. But these days, retirement is an opportunity to find a second or third career that you love. Retirement doesn't mean you have to stop working anymore. Many retirees work part time as consultants, teachers or mentors. Working in a new career that you love can be a lot more fulfilling than sipping a margarita all day long. It just depends on your personality.
If you are thinking about a second act, why not start the transition now? Many employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. It's better to find your second act in your 50s, 40s or even 30s. That will give you more time to do what you love instead of enduring a career you don't like.
Don't put off the things you want to do today in order to better prepare for a fulfilling retirement. Living a healthy lifestyle and seeking out options for your newfound time now will give you a more satisfying retirement later.
Joe Udo blogs at Retire By 40 where he writes about passive income, frugal living, retirement investing and the challenges of early retirement. He recently left his corporate job to be a stay at home dad and blogger and is having the time of his life.
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