My husband and I are smack in the middle of the baby boomer generation, which means we are now watching many of our peers navigate the next, often long-awaited phase in their lives – retirement.
What first comes to mind when most of us hear the word retirement? For me, it has always been “not working anymore,” and “having enough money to live on.”
Indeed, when most people refer to planning their retirement, they are talking about getting their funds in order — figuring how much money they will need in the years to come — and if it is in fact feasible for them to stop working when they would like to.
And there is no question that these are important things — some might say the most important things — to consider when entering this period of life.
Money, however, is definitely not the only issue to be considered. While good financial health is essential for retirement, let’s not overlook the importance of other aspects of our lives — mainly our physical and mental health.
If we are fortunate enough to have reached retirement age (which these days is quite variable) in relatively good physical health, we need to be sure to do everything we can to maintain our healthy bodies. Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and visit our healthcare providers as necessary.
But what about our mental health? Retirement, indeed any transition in life, comes with its share of changes and adjustments. Again, if we have been lucky enough to enjoy good mental health throughout our lives, we want to continue along that path. And if we have previously struggled with a brain disorder we want to be sure that this life transition doesn’t exacerbate our illness or illnesses.
So how do we ensure a smooth transition? I believe we need to spend just as much time thinking about what we need and want from our retirement as we spend planning for it financially. While each person’s needs will likely differ, there are some general areas that deserve close consideration: