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10 Guiding Principles for Retirement

Long weekends and holidays give us a little sneak preview of what our eventual retirement just might be like. With that extra day or two, we get the slightest sense of life with the time to do whatever strikes our fancy! To have the retirement you want, though, you can’t just wander blindly into it. You’ve got to have a plan in place. For an enjoyable, fulfilling retirement, there’s more to consider than just financial planning (though that is certainly an important component!).

In a Forbes Next Avenue column, based on I Want to Retire! by Dave Bernard, we are presented with 10 fantastic tips for making your retirement the best it can be. Here they are:

1. Be Realistic

You can’t control everything that life throws at you. You can’t control getting older. You’ve got to remember to approach your retirement with a sense of realism (and a sense of humor), and make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in.

2. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Everyone makes mistakes, so don’t get too down on yourself when you do too. In the same vein, don’t worry too much about days you don’t get anything accomplished, or needing to take a break. When you’re retired, there’s nothing wrong with just taking some time to enjoy it.

3. Don’t Stop Making Your Mark

Leaving a legacy is about much more than money. Never stop being the person you want to be remembered as – stick to your principles, and keeping making your mark on the world.

4. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Retirement does not have to mean you stop growing as an individual. Give yourself new goals or new experiences to try – it will help you maintain feeling young and confident. You can always keep learning new things and gaining new insight.

5. Pinch Pennies

For many people, retirement means limited income or living mostly from savings and/or investments. Regardless of your unique situation, it’s a good idea to be frugal and live within (if not below) your means. Unforeseen expenses can come out of nowhere, especially in retirement. You’ll be happy you were prepared.

6. Keep a Balance

Find the happy medium between activity and relaxation. Swaying too far in one direction or the other isn’t healthy, and you’ll need to determine the intensity of your lifestyle as a retiree with care.

7. Embrace the Moment

As difficult as it may be to recognize, we all have limited time on this planet. As you enter retirement, this reality only becomes more apparent. Don’t let planning for tomorrow take up all of your time today!

8. Make Amends

The last thing you want in your retirement is to be plagued by regrets or unfinished business. Make your peace where you need to, get your ducks in a row, and do everything you can to clear your conscience – you don’t want that kind of weight hanging this part of your life.

9. Invest Yourself

You’ve probably got a passion – something you either love to do, or always wished you had time to pursue. Now’s your chance! Use the time at your disposal to commit yourself to something that gives you personal fulfillment.

10. Maintain Important Relationships

A huge component to ensuring a happy retirement is having your important people involved in your life. This means maintaining or repairing relationships with friends and family, letting these people know how much they mean to you, and regularly inviting them into your life (and being present in theirs).

Retirement planning is essential, from preparing for your financial future to preparing for your emotional and psychological future. Making smart decisions and wise investments will help both.

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