Retired? spend your time doing the things you love but have never had the time to do before.

Retirement signals the beginning of a new lifestyle – a new adventure, but before you throw caution to the wind there are some important factors to consider, like whether you are financially ready to pursue the life that you envision for yourself, are you adequately insured, do you want to downsize or in fact move at all, is health an issue or are you just planning to spend more time in your garden?

Whether you’re retiring tomorrow or in 10 years, it’s time to get on the right track for a happy retirement.  If you’re close to retiring or even thinking about it, take some time out to ponder how your days will look once your working life is over.

A place to call home

Throughout your entire life, where you live has a big impact on your lifestyle, and this is especially true of your retirement years. Many retirees choose to downsize their homes to save on costs, or a popular option these days is to move to a retirement village – the important thing is to find a good fit.

Craig Scott, CEO of Langebaan Country Estate and developer of The Village at Langebaan Country Estate, says that there are many lifestyle benefits for over 55s who opt to move into retirement villages as the homes and facilities have been designed with retirees in mind and are located within thriving communities of like-minded people.

Rands and sense

Successful financial planning for retirement can be tricky, as it’s hard to know how much you’ll need to enjoy the lifestyle you want. It’s a good idea to speak to a financial advisor early on, as they can guide you and help put together a plan of action.

Scott adds, “More and more over 55s are choosing to downsize and live in a retirement community, as this leaves less money tied up in the home, and more available to enjoy life now.” He cautions that one should be sure to check contracts carefully, to ask questions and be well-informed.

Social yokel

Without the social interactions that work brings to your life, retirement can be lonely. Make the effort to connect with others and have fun – don’t alienate yourself or be resistant to change.

Spend time with family, make new friends or take up a new sport. Retirement is a great time to get social and enjoy yourself. Whether it’s through organised activities, or more casual gatherings, there are umpteen ways to enjoy time with your contemporaries.

One of the biggest benefits of living in a retirement community is that you can become part of a thriving social scene, or, when you feel like it, just walk the dog, put your feet up or potter in the garden.

Well, well, well

As you get older, you need to watch your health more than ever. Having an active lifestyle contributes to good health, so be sure to include some form of exercise in your daily routine. Being close to doctors and medical facilities should be a key consideration when choosing the location of your retirement home.

Plot and plan

As you would plan a holiday, it is even more important that you plan for your retirement – the longest vacation of your life – with an open mind and heart.  “Retirement planning is not something you can put off until it happens,” cautions Scott.

Life will be very different, but if you put yourself in the right place, with the right people, surrounded with the right things, you will be able to relax and enjoy life as a retiree for many happy years to come, so you can spend your time doing the things you love but have never had the time to do before. –