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5 Things to Accomplish in Retirement

These retirement goals will help you stay active and avoid boredom.

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Smiling couple taking picture
By Dave Bernard

After dealing with the many challenges of your career, you may find yourself craving some time to do nothing at all in retirement. You might want nothing more than to slow down and take life as it comes. But after the initial honeymoon period of retirement has run its course and you have had time to decompress a bit, you may start thinking about how to occupy yourself for the next 20 or more years. You will have many years at your disposal, and you need to decide what activities you would like to focus on. Here are five retirement goals to consider:

Second career. For some people retirement offers the chance to finally change careers. A job that left you feeling underappreciated can be replaced with an entirely new pursuit. Without the financial burden of making ends meet, you can pursue a second career that focuses on what you really enjoy doing. And retirement jobs don't necessarily have to be full time. You could find a position with an abbreviated work week or work only part of the year. Best of all, if for some reason your new job does not work out, you can walk away and find something else that better suits your preferences.

Reinvent yourself. If a new career is not for you, retirement may be the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Not all of the skills you developed on the job necessarily translate well into life as a retiree. Working long hours and racking up achievements often serves you well in the workplace, but could make it difficult to relax and take life slower in retirement. When you are no longer forced to conform to the requirements of a job, you are free to focus on aspects of your personality that better equip you to enjoy retired living.

Volunteer. Volunteering can be a way for you to use skills developed for your business life outside of the corporate grind. Working for a cause that inspires you can make your retirement much more fulfilling. Many retirees generously offer their time to worthy causes. Take your time to find the right opportunity for you. When you find a great volunteer position, everyone involved wins.

Create. Retirement can allow you to pay more attention to your creative side. Many working folks are forced to hold back their creative energies because they don't have time for it. In retirement you can unleash the writer, singer, actor or painter you always wanted to be. And since you are free from requirements to provide a living, your success can be measured in the pleasure you experience pursuing your passion.

Relax. You don't necessarily have to do something meaningful or significant every day of your retirement. You are free to do as much or as little as you want. As long as you enjoy what you do with your time your retirement is a success. There is always room for some down time in a balanced retirement. When I was in my sales career, we constantly talked about goals. We often set stretch goals designed to make you push yourself beyond what you believed yourself capable of doing. But now I cannot remember a single stretch goal from my working days. Now I look forward to creating goals that matter to me personally instead of the company.

The beauty of retirement is there is only one person measuring your success against the goals you set -- you. Enough already with aggressive goals and impossible deadlines. If you miss the target your job is not on the line. Should you decide you want to change direction, you require no approval by committee and can just do it. Retirement goals can be helpful guidelines to focus your efforts and inspire your days and are not rigid requirements.

In retirement you get to decide what you want to do. If you want to make productive use of your time as a retiree you have many options to volunteer, create something new or work at a second career on your own terms. But if none of those options appeals to you, you can even decide to do nothing at all.

Dave Bernard is the author of "I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be." Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.


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June 16 2014 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cewanuhu

The goal of retirement should be to relax and enjoy yourself. To do that, you need money. Don’t be foolish and fall into the trap of trying to measure your wealth by the value of your assets. Markets change. Valuations fluctuate. Instead, measure your wealth by the amount of cash flow your assets consistently generate. And follow these 7 steps:
1) Pay off your debts as fast as you possibly can. If this means living in a crappy studio apartment and eating ramen everyday for a couple of years, do it. If you want to buy a car, get a reliable beater. Get insurance for $24/month from Insurance Panda. Forget about buying a house until your debts are paid off.
2) Once you are out of debt, stay out of debt. The only exception to this rule is a vehicle and a house. If you want to get a nicer car, buy used and be able to pay it off in a year or 2.
3) If you are going to stay in the same spot for at least 10 years, buy a house, preferably with at least a little bit of usable land. An acre is good, 5 acres is better. Take the amount you are pre-approved for and cut it in half – that’s how much you should spend on a house. Come to the table with at least 20% down and make a couple of extra mortgage payments every year. If you’re going to be transferred or relocate every 5 years, forget about buying a house and rent instead.
4) Develop multiple revenue streams. Do contract work. Start a business on the side. Invest in a business as a silent partner. Raise chickens, breed dogs or grow apples. Build websites. Buy and sell antiques. Acquire rental property. Sell something that generates residual income. Learn to play the currency markets or trade stocks. Do whatever you can to generate income from multiple sources.
5) Grow these multiple revenue streams to the point that they generate enough consistent and reliable cash flow to replace your current income.
6) Make as much as you can. Save as much as you can. Give away as much as you can.
7) Retire!- the sooner, the better. Be sure you understand that “retirement” doesn’t necessarily mean you stop working, it just means having the freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

June 15 2014 at 11:54 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

Try to go where people aren't.

June 15 2014 at 11:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to crimeslawyer's comment
jpfmtka

Getting away from the crowds is a great idea, but "where people aren't"? If nothing else, what happens if you need medical or dental care?

June 15 2014 at 2:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
charleyvldm9

Play a musical instrument, like me, I play twice every Sunday in church.

June 15 2014 at 9:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Socho Ekon

I retired from working at age 25... Thankfully still young enough to lay around naked with a woman all day and night. Strong enough to fight so I could travel to far off distant lands without being a scared old man. Able bodied to take the long hike up a mountain, go out into the ocean on a jet ski, sail on a sailboat across the Atlantic... I couldn't imagine throwing away my best years working a lame job unable to come and go as I please.. I remember one time when I was 35, I thought about getting a job to be social and have something to do. The employer actually wanted me to work 40 hours a week with possible overtime. I was only going to get one week off per year. Can you imagine that, only one week off per year. Even if I didn't mind not getting paid for the time I missed, they still wanted me there for 51 weeks a year, 5 days per week. How absurd is that ?... All for a lousy $20 an hour too. Like I am supposed to give up my entire life and be a slave for 51 weeks a year for a lousy $20 an hour job. That is not living.. What is a person supposed to do with only 1 week of freedom ?... That is enough time to fly to England, have lunch, and fly back home.... Literally !! Dude, I spent 6 months in Europe and didn't get to do half of what I wanted to the first time. And I was in my late 20's and in great shape. Could you imagine me being an old man trying to get around Amsterdam on a bike and see everything ? Or trying to get it done in just a few days on vacation ? I tell ya... People are stupid to throw away their best years working as a slave for a employer hoping one day they will retire and get to enjoy life. I enjoyed life from day 1.. I tried working from age 18 to 25 and never found a job that was fun. Even sports, the coach was demanding.. I feel so sorry for the millions of you people that will never know the life I have had as you play the game thinking it is what you are supposed to do.. What is the point of going to Hawaii in your 60's if you are too old to get laid ? Or anywhere else for that matter. You will be too old to sleep on a hard bed, your body won't be able to take the heat, or the cold, or the humidity.. You will have a sensitive stomach and not be able to eat the hot food in Spain or the Caribbean. What will be the point of traveling when you are too old to experience 80% of what is going on because you are too old ?

June 15 2014 at 4:11 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Socho Ekon's comment
Socho Ekon

If you are poor working classes, just deal drugs and live off welfare.. Or be a mechanic who does work out of his garage so you can take time off when you want to. Something like that... Don't be stupid and work a job during your best years... You will wake up one day old and bent out of shape that you wasted your chance to live life when you were young. And there will be no way to go back and do it right the second time.... I have gotten ******** while most people were at work. I have jumped out of airplanes and got the rush of a lifetime while most people were at work. The stupid government and food pantries aren't going to let you starve. HUD will make sure you have a place to live. All you have to do is come up with play money and you are laughing at all the stupid people working themselves to death to pay bills, keep the kids in daycare, and maintain a motor vehicle to get to the slave factory. I can't tell you how many friends I had up till age 25 that won't speak to me now because they work their lame job and watch me and my kids on our ATVs. I took a friend of mine's son to Florida so he could go to Disneyland knowing his father could never afford it or get enough time off before the boy was too old to enjoy it... My friend never said thanks, instead he got bent out of shape because he wasn't there to see his son experience it for the first and last time. It is like my friend was reminded that he is a slave till he retires someday and when he retires his son will be a grown man and out of the house. Not me.... I say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush... I live today and worry about tomorrow when tomorrow gets here. Once my kids are off to be adults, I can go to prison if I need a place to live or whatever. Maybe go live in the wild as a homeless bum.. We are all going to die someday no matter what... Cashing in our youth and our time with our kids to work is the stupidest thing anyone could possibly do in my opinion. I got so much more out of life by sacrificing 5 years of income than I would have gotten working for 50 years. Just knowing how the stock markets move has made me more money than most lawyers will ever earn, let alone some beverage delivery driver or manager of some operation. Union workers can make about what I do, but again... they are slaves to the clock and I make the same money with 24 hours a day to do as I please.

June 15 2014 at 4:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Socho Ekon's comment
dopey.obamite

Union retail workers make less than $20/hr....you just got through turning your nose up at $20/hr. You can shack up in prison and be someone's b1tch...and I doubt you'd last a week in the wild.

Doesn't matter anyway.....you sound like you're fullashit.

June 15 2014 at 8:19 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down
toosmart4u

d.barack, it is you republicans that cannot think for yourself. You rely on the big money machine of the republican party to do your thinking for you. shameful.

June 15 2014 at 3:21 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to toosmart4u's comment
toosmart4u

If you are on social security and medicare thank a democrat, if you want to end these two fine programs vote republican.

June 15 2014 at 3:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment
democrap2

Waiting for your next freebie?

June 15 2014 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
einnoc10

Basically, Retirement sucks and the fact that this article is written by a guy who is NOT retired makes it worthless.

June 15 2014 at 12:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to einnoc10's comment
sam54ct

Only if you failed to plan, I golf, camp, fish, hut, ski, hike, travel, swim, meet friends to play poker, etc., it's a blast. There's a reason, work is a four letter word, it sucks, so save every penny, live cheap, and retire like a King.

June 15 2014 at 10:29 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ibeyour1

It all sounds good but from what I've seen most "retirees" can't afford to do anything other than rock in the ol' rocking chair on the front porch. (if they haven't lost the porch too)

June 14 2014 at 6:34 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

Thing to do in retirement.

1) ... Fall in Love Again, this time with the time to do it right..
2) ... Visit all those places you wanted to, but did not have the time.
3) ... Take up that hobby you sought for decades, like writing that book.
4) ... Getting your affairs in order, you are going to die..
5) ... Teach others what you have learned, pass on your knowledge.

June 14 2014 at 10:22 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply