Many people dream of retiring early. It’s a great dream. However, whether or not you’re on that path, retirement might feel like it’s a far way away. Why wait until then to start living like a retiree? You can enjoy many of the pleasures of retirement life right now. Here’s how.
What Does “Living Like a Retiree” Mean To You?
Before you can start living like a retiree, you need to figure out what that looks like for you. After all, retirement is different for everyone. Maybe you want to live frugally and simply, grow your own food, and read books each afternoon. Or perhaps you want to travel around the world. If you don’t have a vision for what living like a retiree looks like then how can you start implementing that into your life? So, ask yourself: if I could retire right now, what are the things I would most want to do?
Enjoy Some Retirement Activities On Your Vacations
If you’re still in the stage of life where you’re hard at work each day, then perhaps vacations are the only chance you have to start living like a retiree. That’s okay; make the most of them. Use the information you gleaned from the exercise above to start adding those things into your vacation life. For example, if retirement life for you means leisurely hours at home, then skip the big family vacations in favor of staycations now and then.
Incorporate Living Like a Retiree Into Daily Life
You might be surprised to find that there are a lot of things you expect to do in retirement that you actually do have time for now. For example, if gardening and reading are appealing to you, then prioritize those things in your regular life. Don’t wait until later. Maybe you can’t travel around the world right now, but you could spend weekends taking day trips to local museums and historical sites. Or you could take a cooking class from a culture that you love. Brainstorm all of the little ways that your ideal retirement life could show up in your daily life right now.
Take Control of Your Time
Although everyone’s ideas of retirement may differ, there’s one goal that a lot of people have in common: freedom of time. You don’t want to wake up to an alarm anymore. You’re eager to be able to do what you want when you want to. If this is the big dream for you, then it’s worth it to start figuring out how to incorporate more freedom-of-time into your life. Examples of this include:
- Quitting your “day job” to start your own business; you will be VERY busy but you’ll get to set your own schedule
- Working with your boss on creating a more flexible schedule, particularly in regards to how often you need to be inside the office
- Reducing your hours to part-time and living more frugally so that you can enjoy more time of your own
Get creative with finding ways to take control of your time so that you can feel, at least some of the time, like you’re already living like a retiree.
Take Up a Hobby
One of the main differences between living like a retiree and living before retirement is that you tend to think about achieving something specific with all of you pre-retirement activities. For example, you don’t just have a hobby. Instead, you have a side hustle. There are great things about aiming to be extra-successful with everything that you do, especially when you are young and working your way towards a retirement goal. However, you can incorporate the feeling of living like a retiree right now by choosing one or two activities that you do solely for the joy of them. Pick a sport, craft, or area of interest to delve into with no other aim than just purely enjoying it in the moment.
Speaking of being in the moment, it’s worth it to incorporate mindfulness practice into your life. Obviously, not all retirees meditate. However, the gist is that when you’re older, you do have a different sense of what’s important in life. You know that you’re not granted the future. Therefore, you are more likely to appreciate what is happening right in the moment. That’s a key to a rich life at any age. Learning mindfulness habits now can give you attention to some of the sweetest aspects of life, whether or not you’re close to actual retirement.
Additional Tips for Living Like a Retiree Now
Here are some other ways to start living like a retiree now:
- Take a sabbatical. Use the time off to live as though you have retired.
- Volunteer doing something meaningful. Giving back is often a key feature of a good retirement.
- Connect with people, including people from the past you need to make amends with. Tying up those loose ends makes life better.
- And while you’re at it, make some new friends. Many people find new social groups in retirement. Meeting a new group now can enliven your life in a fresh way.
- Always emphasize time over money. If you can afford to take the time to do something, it’s often worth more than the money you might have earned in that same span of time.
- Do something that is on your bucket list. Stop waiting for retirement to live out your dreams. Live them today.
Finally, work on what your identity is when it’s not attached to your job. So many people identify who they are as the same thing as what they do for a living. Once you retire, that won’t be the case. If you can get a sense sooner than that about who you are outside of your job, you’ll get the true authentic joy of living like a retiree now.
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