When most people imagine retirement, they tend to think about having a lot of free time and far less responsibility; and it’s true. With the freedom from a full-time job, you’ll suddenly find much more time on your hands. What should you do with that time?

Below, we share four fulfilling things you can do to enjoy your retirement — and four common pitfalls to avoid! Use these core principles to guide you in how to make the most of these incredible years.

What to Do in Retirement

1. Enjoy New and Old Hobbies

Retirement usually comes with more leisure time, giving you the freedom to experiment with new hobbies. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook authentic Italian cuisine, start a garden of your own, or make pottery. Look for fun and educational classes in your community where you can learn new skills, keep your mind and body active, and meet new people.

You also have a chance to dive deeper into hobbies you’ve kept for a long time. You’ve earned the right to enjoy yourself — so go ahead and play more golf, paint more canvases, or spend more time fishing. Cook those elaborate dishes you love that took too much time and effort to make when you were working full-time. Read all those books you’ve had in your “to-read” pile for so long.

2. Have a Spending Plan

Remember that your income will change when you retire. Make a budget or spending plan that takes these changes into account. You may have new expenses such as increased medical care, so ensure you’re prepared with savings that can cover unexpected costs. Talk to a financial advisor to make sure your all your accounts are tax-friendly, and move to more conservative investments.

Many retirees consider buying a second home, usually in a warm region where they can spend their winter seasons away from snow and harsh cold. If you’re considering purchasing a second home, do your research to determine what’s financially feasible for you.

3. Spend Time with Loved Ones

Retirement gives you a perfect opportunity to spend time with the people you care about. Take advantage of the added time in your schedule to plan activities with your partner or friends. Grab some friends and go on a wine tasting tour, a nature-filled hike, or even host a fun gathering at your place.

If you have children or grandchildren, these years are the perfect opportunity to spend more time together. You don’t have to spend much in order to create special time with your family — consider packing a picnic lunch and having a memorable meal together in the park.

4. Find New Challenges

Just because you have “free” time doesn’t mean your time is less valuable. If you find yourself feeling a bit unfulfilled in retirement, consider finding a new challenge, where you can put your wealth of life experience to good use. Volunteer for a worthy cause. Get involved in a local club where you can work on projects or plan events. With the skills and expertise you developed over your career, you may even find a fulfilling new job where you can earn income while working on a part-time or flexible schedule.

What NOT to Do in Retirement

1. Don’t Stop Taking Care of Yourself

Retirement is certainly a time to enjoy yourself and let go of the responsibilities of a full-time job, but that doesn’t mean you should “let yourself go” in all areas of your life. Too many people stop taking proper care of themselves when they retire, but this can hinder your ability to live life to the fullest in your golden years. It’s important to maintain healthy habits in retirement, whether through swimming, a consistent gym routine, or just getting outside for some physical activity on a regular basis. Studies have shown that people who stay active have a reduced risk of physical and mental ailments — so eat well, get some exercise, and stay social.

2. Don’t Go on a Spending Spree

It’s easy to accidentally go over budget as you revel in your new freedom, especially in the first few years after you retire. Remember that your income is smaller than it was when you were working, and it’s important to keep some cash saved for unexpected occurrences. It may help you to plan purposeful spending budgets for things like travel, home improvement, hobbies, and social occasions. By planning your spending ahead of time, you can live within your means and still enjoy all the things you want to do.

3. Don’t Put Off Estate Planning

Nobody likes to think about the end of their life, but estate planning is very important. If you don’t take care of this early on, you may leave your family with a tangle of bills and paperwork, or an unclear inheritance. Talk to a lawyer about estate planning and have a will made. Your lawyer can walk you through the requirements and help you ensure that everything is laid out clearly for your relatives and heirs. It may not be the most pleasant task, but once it’s done, it will set your mind at ease and make things much smoother for your family in the future.

4. Don’t Stop Accomplishing Personal Goals

Call it your set of personal aspirations, track record, or “bucket list” if you want to. However you frame it, it’s important to continue setting personal goals once you’ve retired. Retirement is not an end point; in fact, it’s truly the beginning of a fresh chapter. You have entered an exciting new phase of your life, and you’ll likely find (or have already discovered) that happiness often comes in the form of pursuing something fulfilling. These goals can be large or small. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, ride a horse, learn to knit, or earn a degree (or a second degree), go for it!

Are you ready to relax and embrace retirement in a beautifully sunny climate like Phoenix? Our luxurious condo community, complete with a resort-style pool, fitness center, and nearby Stonecreek golf course, is the perfect place to enjoy your golden years. Contact our staff at Aderra to get more information about our condos, or schedule a showing.