Elizabeth Kwong, Ph.D., is president of Kwong Eureka Solutions.
Continued from “Primers Before You Say ‘Yes’ to Early Retirement—Part 1”…
Plan a hobby during your transition. You know what they say about all work and no play… I believe that each one of us has a hidden talent begging to get out. I tried oil painting, Chinese brush painting, and stained glass. All resulted in great work, but what I wanted to do was concentrate and improve on one skill. I picked stained glass and am working currently with the local library to find a place for me to spread out and start making some pieces to showcase. I have already drawn a few of my designs, so I can start cutting the glass soon.
Plan to clear away your clutter—simplify your life. As we go through our hectic lives, we rarely take time to really think carefully about what we are buying and if we really need certain things. Then one day when you stop having a hectic life, you look around and the place is full of things you haven’t used for a long time. Simplify! It will make your house easier to manage and more pleasing on the eyes. Try to invest in things that will last and still be useable for a long time. Always remember that the more you have, the more you will want, so try to clear the clutter early and keep only things you need.
Be healthy—mind, body, and spirit! Take the time to exercise your mind, body, and soul. Most of the blogs I read on retirement adjustments didn’t even mention the problems caused by retiring in bad health. You’d have to plan financially for medications, surgery, doctor’s appointments, etc. When you are young, you think the body is resilient enough to handle abuse. But things catch up. I remember having 20/20 eyesight before I reached 40; then it happened. I started to need eyeglasses to read. Eyeglasses are a curse: you can’t find them when you need them; they are never cheap; and it seems like they are never fully covered by any of the medical plans. So rest your eyes and power off the computers if you don’t need them. Make the effort to protect your eyesight now.
Don’t plan to exercise only when you’re retired. Make time while you are still young—you need a break anyway. It even helps stimulate your brain and help you deal with stress.
Try to eat slower. Don’t rush because you need to be in a lunch conference. Know what you eat and don’t just pick something up because you need to eat. Help your digestive system before it rebels and savor the food! Little things like this make a difference in the long run.
Also, try not to make life busier than it should be. When I announced my early retirement, a good friend gave me a book, Who Put My Life on Fast Forward?, by Phil Callaway. This book has lots of examples of how people try to find things to make them busy while not concentrating on what is more important in life. Create a less stressful environment. Start thinking about your mind, body, and soul before you retire, and your transition into retirement will be much smoother.
Check out Elizabeth’s last two pre-retirement tips in her next blog post on Thursday, September 6, 2012…