Transitioning into a retirement lifestyle can seem like a daunting and seismic shift for many. It’s not a decision that should be made lightly, and as a financial planner, I feel that it is truly an honor and privilege to help guide many clients through this next chapter of life. I’ve also had the recent opportunity to guide someone very special to me- my own mom! She is retiring this December after 30 years with her employer.
Whether it’s working on financial planning for women here in Austin or for my own mother, I’ve been able to assemble some helpful tips and resources for someone thinking about what their retirement lifestyle will look like. Hopefully, these are helpful for you or perhaps your own loved ones charting their own course in retirement.
Have a conversation first
If you are approaching retirement, it’s important to have a frank conversation about what you want out of your retirement with your spouse, partner, and close family members. There’s no right answer to a thriving retirement lifestyle, but it’s crucial to make sure you’re on the same page with your significant other so that you can enjoy your retirement to the fullest.
Make sure your lifestyle fits into your financial plan
Of course, it’s critical to make sure whatever plans you’ve made for retirement are realistic and fit into your long-term retirement plan. As financial planners and advisors, we spend a lot of time with our clients to make sure they are prepared to achieve their goals in retirement while also planning for financial stability and independence.
Establish a routine
As you enter your retirement chapter, it’s not uncommon for days to feel like they begin to run together. And while you can now actually afford to enjoy a slower pace of life, it’s still important to have things to do and look forward to. Establishing a new schedule or sense of routine will be important to create some structure in your new retirement lifestyle. There are several ways to create a new, regular routine:
- Volunteer: Help make our community a better place to live by volunteering! There are several volunteer opportunities with the City of Austin that support city services and programs. As an example, many ML&R employees have regularly volunteered with organizations like Meals on Wheels of Central Texas to help vulnerable seniors. Alternatively, spending time as a student mentor with AISD can also be a great way to connect with Austin’s next generation.
- Connect with Community: You don’t have to make elaborate plans but joining a club with weekly meetings and otherwise having somewhere to be at least a few times a week is great for your mental health. Many of our local communities host regular book clubs. Many local churches, synagogues, and other places of worship can also be a source for clubs, volunteer opportunities, and excursions.
Maintain physical fitness
One of the keys to staying happy and healthy in a retirement lifestyle is to remain active. Although you don’t have to start intensely training for something like a marathon, regular walks or taking up a relatively low-impact activity like tennis, Pilates, or dance is a great way to keep yourself moving and stay in better shape.
There are a variety of local fitness classes in the Austin area geared for active adults. This not only helps you stay in shape but allows you to keep a routine and interact with others more regularly.
- Both the City of Austin and the City of Georgetown offer a variety of physical activities and classes ranging from dance classes to the increasingly popular sport of pickleball.
- Ballet Austin’s Active Aging Program provides classes and workshops for ages 50+ at no or low cost due to underwriting provided by St. David’s Foundation Community Fund.
- YMCA of Austin also provides a wide range of low-impact classes geared towards those 65 and up.
Keep learning new things
Once you’re retired, it doesn’t necessarily mean you no longer learn new skills. In fact, learning new things and challenging yourself can be a great way to maintain mental acuity and keep life interesting in retirement. This could include returning to university to audit a few classes in subjects that pique your interest – think history, film, language, or literature.
We are lucky that Central Texas has a variety of continuing education options for adults at various levels of commitment and price points:
- The University of Texas at Austin Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (UT OLLI): UT OLLI offers a diverse array of intellectually stimulating, non-credit, college-level lectures, seminars, and experiential opportunities.
- Austin Community College Lifelong Learning Program: ACC supports lifelong learning across a wide range of personal and professional enrichment courses and programs. These classes range from three-hour workshops to full certificate programs.
- The Austin Parks and Recreation Department: The Austin Parks & Recreation Department offers education programs geared toward active adults and seniors. These classes, presentations, and fairs are designed to bring seniors varied resources and information ranging from finance, and computer education, to literature.
Exploration and travel
Retirement is an ideal time to tap into your adventurous side. There are plenty of opportunities and groups to explore new places- both near and far- with other active adults.
If you prefer to stay local and explore some of the crown jewels of Central Texas, many of the local cities’ Parks & Rec departments host local excursions:
- The City of Georgetown and the City of Austin host adventure programs for 55+ adults that include hiking and kayaking trips around the Hill Country’s best trails and watering holes.
Or, if you prefer to travel to more exotic locations, there are several local groups that curate and organize group trips for 55+ adults:
- The Flying Longhorns travel program brings together Texas Exes Members and their friends and families for the opportunity to travel on organized excursions ranging from sports events like the Master’s Golf Tournament to European River Cruises and African Safaris. (It’s worth noting that you do NOT have to be a University Texas alumnus to travel with the group).
- Many of the local communities in Central Texas also sponsor and organize group travel excursions for retirees and seniors.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Our team of financial planners is well-versed in connecting clients with tools and resources that are aligned with their interests, geographies, and budgets in mind. We welcome retirement conversations that extend beyond just “running the numbers.” We are passionate about helping clients map out a vision and a new retirement lifestyle.
Last but not least, congrats to you Mom! I hope this next chapter is filled with more adventure, new passions, and more time with family and friends.