6 Ways To Find Purpose and Happiness in Retirement

Peter Pabich |

Retirement can be an exciting new life phase. You finally have the time and space to focus on exactly what you want, whether that be family, personal projects, or something else.

However, it can also bring with it mixed feelings and uncertain circumstances. These can make the move from the world of work to retirement challenging. 

The best thing you can do as you retire, and in the years building up, is to be prepared and have a plan in place for this period in your life. 

To help, we’ve pulled together this post with some common challenges people face when heading into retirement. Then, we’ll go over some strategies for overcoming these challenges and finding happiness. 

The Most Common Challenges Faced Heading Into Retirement

  • Adapting to a new pace. Especially in the early weeks and months of retirement, it’s common to struggle with the transition from the pace of work to the pace of retirement. You’re now likely to have more time on your hands and filling these hours in a fulfilling way can present a challenge. 
  • Struggling with your new identity. It’s natural to connect your identity closely to your career. So, when you suddenly no longer have a career, it can lead you to question your identity. It’s also normal that your self-confidence and feelings of usefulness can take a hit after retiring. 
  • Lacking social connections. Without the social aspect of being around your coworkers, feelings of loneliness and sadness can creep in. 
  • Adapting to new home dynamics. You may now find yourself at home a lot more with your spouse during the day, or you may even be home alone. This change in your day-to-day routine can bring up new feelings and relationship dynamics. 
  • Changes to your financial situation. Retirement offers a tricky balance of more free time, but potentially less spending power. It can take some time to get used to working with a different budget. You may even be receiving a pension and feel some guilt around that, as if, despite working hard for years, you should be working for this money. 

While retirement can bring up challenges, most of these are experienced during the adjustment period. With the right planning, awareness, and proactivity, many of them can be overcome. 

6 Ways To Find Purpose and Happiness in Retirement

Here are 6 ways you can find purpose and fulfillment in retirement:

  1. Find activities that energize you 
  2. Learn something new 
  3. Invest in social connections 
  4. Stay active 
  5. Add structure to your days 
  6. Minimize stress 

1. Find Activities That Energize You 

Leaving behind your life’s work can leave a lot of space both in your calendar and in your mind. It can also make you feel like you’ve lost a sense of purpose.

The good news is that a sense of purpose can be found elsewhere. Where this is will depend on your interests and motivations. It may also take some time and exploration. Some activities might include volunteering, spending time with family, and trying new hobbies.  

2. Learn Something New

Learning a new skill or discovering a new hobby can be enriching and is a great way to spend your newfound extra time.

Learning something new has also been shown to enhance your mental and emotional health as you are exercising different and new areas of your brain. This leads to better cognitive abilities and helps with the aging process. 

3. Invest in Social Connections

Heading into retirement, it’s essential to maintain or cultivate social connections. Social connections can be lost when you leave the workplace and studies have found that approximately 50% of those over 60 are at risk of social isolation. 

Yet social connections are essential for keeping loneliness at bay, for bolstering your identity, and for maintaining overall happiness. When you have strong social connections it also means you have people who can support you in difficult times or in times of ill health. 

How you find these connections will depend on your interests, but it could be something like spending time with friends and family, getting more involved in your community, or joining some kind of organization. 

4. Stay Active

Exercise is great for your mental health, physical health, and longevity. It can also help keep your mind busy. You may even discover or rediscover a love for sport and exercise that you never had time for. 

The CDC states that adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity with at least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles as well as activities that improve balance. 

5. Add Structure to Your Days

Your days will look a lot different from how they did pre-retirement. You won't be faced with an early alarm or strict meeting times throughout the day with deadlines and deliverables. 

While this can be refreshing, it’s important to go into the day with a plan and some kind of structure. If you fail to do this you might find time seems to slip away with you feeling like you haven’t accomplished much. Simply allocating time for your hobbies, exercise, or getting a coffee with a loved one can help to give the day structure. 

6. Minimize Stress

The last thing you need during your retirement is stress. It is detrimental to your health and after your years of hard work, you deserve some peaceful years. However not having a regular salary and having to adjust your spending can bring stress in retirement for many. 

To avoid stress during retirement, you should have a good retirement plan in place as part of your overall wealth management plan. This will allow you to be financially comfortable and have a contingency plan for any unexpected health events. A solid wealth management plan laid down ahead of time can do a lot to alleviate future worries.

Final Thoughts 

The move into retirement is a big life transition. There are many great elements of retirement, but it’s also normal to have mixed feelings. 

To get the most out of your retirement and overcome the normal challenges that come with it you should take the time to properly reflect on what you want out of this period of your life and what you need to do to achieve this. 

You should also have a plan in place. This is where Entrust Wealth Partners can help. To learn more, get in touch with your advisor today or contact our office at (860) 838-3730.