You can do all the retirement planning you need to secure total financial freedom in retirement – but without the physical health, you’re confined to your home.
Wealth alone will not determine how much you enjoy retirement. A combination of health and wealth will get you the most out of your independence and freedom in retirement. Below are a few ways to maintain or improve your overall wellness as you enjoy your time of financial independence.
What Is Wellness?
According to the organization Global Wellness Day, wellness is “a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.”1 Wellness is deeper than physical health, encompassing every aspect of your quality of life – mental health, social well-being, and physical state. While developing a retirement strategy can help to make sure your financial wellness is covered, it’s up to you to take care of the rest.
Addressing Wellness in Retirement
We’ve broken wellness down into three main categories: mental health, social well-being, and physical state. Below we list the reasons that each area of wellness is important in retirement and what you can do to maintain or improve them.
The temptation to turn your brain off during retirement can be a big one. Considering you’ve spent decades problem solving for 40+ hours a week, the idea of relaxing and unwinding in front of the television or along a sandy shoreline can be extra appealing. But to stay mentally well and ward off cognitive decline, it’s important to incorporate mental exercises into your daily retirement routine. Staying sharp and keeping an active mind in retirement can help you enjoy your retirement for longer.
One way of keeping your mental health in check is to take on a new job in retirement, even just part-time. Working in retirement will not only allow you to maintain social relationships. Some research suggests that it may even help reduce the risk of dementia.2
Other activities to help your mind stay sharp in retirement could include:
- Learning how to play or picking up a new instrument
- Learning a new language
- Reading books
- Doing puzzles & games
Isolation and loneliness are growing issues, especially in older adults. Entering retirement is a transitionary time in which one’s social well-being may become compromised. Leaving a job means leaving coworkers you see every day, and if you choose to move to a retirement destination, you may be leaving all your neighbors, community friends and even family behind.
Isolation can leave you feeling completely detached from your friends and family, both physically and psychologically. It’s something more than 8 million adults over the age of 50 experience. Prolonged isolation can have the same impact on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.3
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to find social fulfillment in retirement. They just require some effort and initiative on your part. These could include:
- Volunteering in your community
- Finding a roommate
- Taking or teaching classes
- Pursuing a hobby or passion that takes you outside of the home
- Physical wellness
You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” This saying rings true when it comes to maintaining your physical wellness in retirement. Older adults are already at a bit of a disadvantage physically. As our bodies grow older, we face physical changes, such as slowing metabolisms, weakening immune systems and loss of muscle mass. As with your mental health, you may be tempted to enter a state of permanent relaxation in retirement. However, it’s important to take care of yourself physically. Doing so can help prevent physical and cognitive decline, both of which can dramatically reduce your overall well-being. Some ways to stay physically well in retirement include:
- Joining an exercise class
- Gardening and maintaining your yard
- Adopting a dog
- Enjoying walks around your neighborhood
- Creating (and sticking to) an exercise routine
When you put a special focus on maintaining your overall wellness in your retirement years, they can be some of the greatest years of your life. While you can work with a professional to ensure your financial well-being is taken care of, it’s up to you to make sure your body is following suit as you head toward retirement.
By Christian Cordoba
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Founder, California Retirement Advisors
Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA California Retirement Advisors, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies. CA Insurance license #0B09076. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by California Retirement Advisors. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. California Retirement Advisors, nor any of its members, are tax accountants or legal attorneys and do not provide tax or legal advice. For tax or legal advice, you should consult your tax or legal professional.