4 THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FIRST 6 MONTHS OF RETIREMENT — AND WHAT CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE SO YOU CAN ENJOY YOUR ‘NEW NORMAL’

In looking ahead to your retirement, you’ve probably considered all the possible financial hiccups you could possibly run into — from common money mistakes to exciting, albeit costly, travel adventures.

However, retirement is also full of hidden life lessons that have little to do with money — and they often don’t become an issue until you’ve actually left the workforce.

Some retirees are planners and know exactly what they want to do with their newfound freedom, but for those who are winging it after leaving the workforce, it’s often a different story.

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According to a study from the National Library of Medicine, retirees are more likely to experience depression compared to older Americans still in the workforce. An additional study from the same source also noted there’s a direct correlation between a lack of retirement preparedness and increased depression symptoms.

And, one aspect of retirement preparedness is understanding that — money and travel aside — it’s the little day-to-day things that can catch up with you.

Here are a few surprising things you may encounter during the first six months of your new adventure that have little-to-nothing to do with finances.

You may feel disoriented

You knew the abrupt lifestyle change was coming, but you didn’t know how you would feel about it. Just as switching office locations or commuter rituals may have thrown you off during your career, going from your regular job routine to none at all can result in feelings of disorientation.

Even “good change” can lead to stress levels that can impact a person’s overall mental health. After all, leaving a decades-long comfort zone makes it harder to deal with your “new normal.”

What to do: Put new routines in place. Start small by considering habits and rituals you can easily create around the home. It may help to visualize what the average week might look like for you, including daily morning walks or weekend hikes. Consider some routines that will get you out of the house: signing up for weekly yoga classes or joining a book club.

“It’s critically important for seniors to develop routines that provide the structure to set daily expectations, form good habits, and dedicate time to self-care,” wrote Chris Orestis, host of the Retirement Genius podcast.

Your relationships may have changed

Retired people are often startled to find how much time they can now spend with their partners — which can be a good or bad thing. Newfound annoyances or old grievances can resurface, along with other issues — such as relationship neglect.

It may begin to feel like you hardly know what to say to this veritable stranger you’ve lived with most of your life. Addressing any potential problems head-on during those early months of retirement are pivotal to the health of your relationships status.

What to do: Put time into your relationships. Now that you have more free time on your hands, you may need to reinvest in your relationship with your partner — but start slowly.

Spend some time rediscovering shared interests or hobbies, plan regular date nights and make sure you divide household labor. However, some experts may advise couples maintain a couple separate interests to keep a healthy balance of personal space and couples activities.

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You may feel anxious and stressed

Let’s face it, a career can be a healthy distraction from your life outside the 9-to-5. Although workplace stress can certainly wreck havoc on your health, too, now you suddenly have more time to sit with your thoughts.

Perhaps you’re wondering how you’ll manage financially on a fixed income or you’re coping with declining health or mobility.

According to a Nationwide Peak Retirement report, almost a third (32%) of respondents admitted they didn’t feel financially comfortable.

What to do: Revisit your budget. It might be time to rework your monthly spending and shore up those savings in light of your retirement. Look for ways to curb your spending (dining out less or downgrading your vehicle) and tighten your budget (canceling subscriptions).

According to Fidelity’s 2024 State of Retirement Planning survey, 57% of Americans said their retirement will include working — at least part-time.

Whether you choose to continue working in some capacity for the social aspect — like this 101-year-old woman in Ohio — or because you need another source of income, you might want to consider a side hustle to bring in that additional cash.

Not sure where to start? Some of the best side hustles for seniors that allow for plenty of flexibility and possible social connections include freelance writing (or editing), dog walking, being a tour guide or selling handcrafted items on Etsy.

You may experience boredom

Let’s say you fall into an enviable category: the healthy, active and financially-secure retiree. Even then, you may find yourself bored out of your skull once you’re officially out of the workforce.

If you’re looking down Retirement Road and aren’t exactly thrilled to see an endless trail of crossword puzzles, daily errands and scrolling through Facebook ahead of you, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

What to do: Find (or rediscover) a passion project. Retirement is a time to take on fun and engaging challenges you’ve always put to the side. You also have an opportunity to revisit parts of your life that you “retired” long before you left your career.

If you find you miss workplace camaraderie, connecting with old and new friends can provide comfort and even restore a sense of purpose.

Physical exercise or spending time in nature can also go a long way toward easing your anxiety or depression. Regardless of age or possible mobility limits, even 30 minutes of gentle activity can go a long way.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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