How does retirement affect your health? When you retire, virtually your entire lifestyle changes. Suddenly, instead of being at your job for eight hours a day, you have all this free time on your hands! Being prepared for this change not only financially but also emotionally and practically will greatly contribute to the type of retirement experience you have. What are some of the health benefits and concerns of retirement that you should consider?
What should you expect when you retire?
Most people spend decades thinking about how to financially prepare for retirement. Often, retirees are not prepared for the other changes that will greet them when they leave the workplace behind. You may have thoughts of vacations or more time in the garden or spending days with your grandkids, but have you really sat down to think about what this will mean for you in the day-to-day?
Retirement is an incredible experience if you’re well-prepared! Here are some aspects of retirement for which many people are not quite ready:
Much more time
While this seems obvious, you might be unaware of just how much extra time you have. During the workweek before you’re retired, you probably spend about 8 hours sleeping, 8-9 hours working and commuting, and about 8 hours of free time. When you retire, your free time is going to double!
A realization of a need for structure
Filling those extra hours may not come as naturally as you think. Working a job provides a sense of structure that we often take for granted. Even if you have a lot that you want to do in retirement, you will probably feel a need for some sort of structure in the day-to-day. Pre-planned and scheduled activities outside the house can often provide this.
Potential identity crisis
You may not realize until you retire how much of your identity is wrapped up in your career. This can cause people to feel unsettled when they retire and no longer feel that sense of purpose in a job. Taking up a hobby, learning new skills, and volunteering can aid in feeling a sense of purpose in your days.
Change in friendships and relationships
Lastly, be prepared for the inevitable change in friendships and relationships. You’ll no longer be spending 40 hours a week with your co-workers. Finding activities and ways to build new friendships is very important in retirement. Your relationship with your spouse and family members will likely change as well. Retirement can be a great opportunity to build these relationships even more.
What are the potential negative health effects of retirement?
How do all of these changes affect your health? Some studies have shown that retirement results in a decline in health. Others, though, have found that retirement tends to improve health. All in all, there are many factors involved when considering how retirement will affect your physical well-being.
One study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that,
“…complete retirement leads to a 5-16 percent increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, a 5-6 percent increase in illness conditions, and 6-9 percent decline in mental health, over an average post-retirement period of six years. Models indicate that the effects tend to operate through lifestyle changes including declines in physical activity and social interactions.”
Other studies have found that retirees are more likely to suffer from a stroke or heart attack than those who are still in the workforce. Depression is another common side effect of depression.
Don’t be discouraged, though! With proper preparation and planning, you can be prepared for this big life change and significantly lower your chances of being a part of these statistics.
What are the positive health benefits of retirement?
Though the potential negative health effects of retirement may sound scary, there are also positive health benefits that many people experience upon retirement. These can include:
- Less stress
- Lowered blood pressure
- Better sleep
- Improved mental health
What can you do about the health benefits and concerns of retirement?
Whether you experience positive or negative health effects after retirement greatly depends on your specific situation both in the workplace and at home. Variables include whether or not you worked a stressful job, your marriage and family relationships, friendships outside the workplace, and how you plan to spend your time after retirement.
Here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of staying healthy or even improving your health after retirement:
- Start planning not only your finances but also your lifestyle in advance.
- Keep yourself busy. Go back to school, learn new skills, volunteer, or take up a new hobby.
- Make friendships a priority.
- Stay physically active.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Consider getting a part time job.
We’ve done this before!
At Milestone Wealth Management, we’ve had the benefit of being able to “practice” retirement dozens of times with our clients. We’ve seen the health benefits and concerns that can arise in retirement. We know the potential stresses and joys that retirement can bring.
When you work with us to plan your retirement, we’ll help you to ensure that you’re ready not only financially, but in every area. We want you to enjoy retirement, not regret it! We know the hardships retirement can bring and we’ll use our experience and knowledge to help you avoid those difficulties and fully enjoy your post-working years.
Contact us today to create a comprehensive, confident plan for your retirement. We’re here for you.
This material is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax advisor, attorney, or accountant. Consultation with the appropriate professional should be done before any financial commitments regarding the issues related to the situations above are made.