Five tips for a happy retirement

  • 20 November 2019
  • 5 minutes

When we plan our retirement, we tend to focus on our practicalities: what sort of lifestyle can we afford; where do we want to live; what do we want to do? However, retirement is a huge life event that brings a wealth of other changes and challenges. Giving up work not only releases a sudden influx of free time, it also removes the structure and routine to which we’ve grown accustomed. So it’s important to focus on our emotional as well as our financial health.

Tip one: prepare your relationship

If you’re in a relationship, take some time together to plan and prepare for this new phase in your life. Do you want the same things? Maybe one of you dreams of downsizing to a city-centre apartment to enjoy a life of cultured leisure, but the other yearns for a nomadic retirement travelling across Europe. Share your ideas and dreams, and establish where you have common ground … but remember that, alongside your shared vision, it’s also good to have some separate pursuits.

Tip two: stay active and create new routines

When you’ve worked long hours for many years, your hobbies and interests may have taken a back seat, but it’s important to keep an active mind throughout life. Consider a pastime or hobby that you might like to pursue. Museums, lectures, theatres and concerts can be inexpensive ways to keep your mind alert and interested; meanwhile, a walking club or keep-fit class will get you out of the house and socialising.

Tip three: find friends

Few of us appreciate the social benefits of working. Not just Friday drinks or the annual Christmas party, but the everyday interaction that takes place spontaneously across the desk. It’s important to keep up that social interaction, so before you retire, think about your social circle outside the office and consider ways to increase contact with non-work friends to prepare you for when you give up work.

Tip four: have a makeover

Retirement presents you with the chance to reinvent yourself. Although it’s tempting to “let yourself go” when you don’t have to present your professional face to the world, but feeling good about yourself can boost your mood and outlook.

Tip five: consider going back to work!

Many psychologists believe that a gradual retirement – in which you move to a part-time schedule or undertake consulting work before stopping work altogether – is a good way to adjust to your new life. Part-time work can also help by creating a routine, getting you out of the house and supplementing your finances.


Above all, don’t allow your outlook towards your retirement be over-shadowed by outdated images of ageing. Retirement should be as active or leisurely as you want – the most important point is to look forward, not back.

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