facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog external search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
Finding Purpose, Health & Identity in Retirement Thumbnail

Finding Purpose, Health & Identity in Retirement

Insights Retirement Planning

By Matt Stephens, CFP®

Whether retirement is right around the corner or you have a few working years left, it’s important to prepare so you can enjoy those golden years stress-free. With medical advancements and longer life expectancies, you could have 30-plus years left to do all the things you didn't have time to do during your working years. 

While this may sound like a dream come true, many people discover after a few months of being retired that it can also lead to boredom, loneliness, and even depression if you don’t find ways to feel useful and connected. Don’t worry, though, if you’re approaching retirement or have already retired, here are some tips to help you fill your time and make the most of your new life!

1. Find Purpose

We are designed to have a purpose in life and many of us find that purpose in the work we do. As you transition out of the workforce, you may find yourself feeling like you no longer have a reason to get up in the morning. It's important to combat this feeling. Studies have shown that individuals who feel fulfilled are happier and healthier on average than those who don’t. Not only that, they also live longer. Here are some ways you might find purpose in retirement:

  • Volunteering at your church or a local nonprofit
  • Spending time with your grandchildren
  • Working on home-improvement projects
  • Taking a class or learning a new skill
  • Visiting a new state or traveling abroad

Whatever you choose to do in retirement, doing it with a sense of purpose will help you make the most out of your time as opposed to just filling it.

2. Stay Healthy

Declining health and  the associated medical expenses is one of the largest concerns for many retirees. In fact, 70% of Americans cite healthcare costs as the most pressing issue on their minds when planning for retirement. Now that you’re in retirement, what better way to spend your time than prioritizing your health?

Yes, genetics will play a role in how you age, but there are  things you can do to slow the process. Exercise (or any kind of movement) is a key to maintaining health and can also be a fulfilling way to fill your time. Join a gym and go there regularly—even if it's just to walk on a treadmill. Try participating in group workouts that do aerobics, yoga, or a spin class. This can provide more social interaction along with good exercise. At the end of the day, any movement is better than nothing, and it can help decrease your risk of premature death by up to 30%.

3. Phase Retirement

Adjusting to retirement is a huge transition! Going from working 40 hours a week for the last 40 years  to suddenly having all the time in the world can be a shock to the system, to say the least. It takes time to adjust. No one says you have to jump into retirement all at once. Try working part time or using a phased approach to retirement.

It’s becoming more popular (and socially accepted) for people to  slowly reduce hours over time before eventually entering full retirement. Studies have shown that phased retirement can actually improve vitality and health among retirees. Many of my clients have retired from their high-stress, long-hour jobs and moved into a contract position only taking on the projects that they want. This allows some freedom while still providing the benefits of purpose and extra income. 

4. Prioritize Friendships

Retirees who build and maintain meaningful social relationships are often happier and healthier than those who spend their time alone. Spend time connecting with your friends and family throughout retirement. This can help prevent loneliness and provide a sense of fulfillment. Knowing that you have a strong support system makes a difference in your overall level of happiness, and can be a great way to fill your time—especially if you experience the loss of a spouse or suffer from declining health.

5. Find a Hobby

Retirement can be an exciting time, but some may find it challenging to fill the empty hours. Exploring a new hobby can bring a sense of fun or adventure to your life. One client took a boat building class at Cape Fear Community College. Another started taking cooking classes at The Seasoned Gourmet. 

Whether you choose to volunteer, take a class, or learn a new skill, having a hobby can help make the most of your time while potentially building new friendships and providing a sense of community.

How We Can Help

Looking for guidance on how to fill your retirement years with purpose and fulfillment? Our team at AdvicePoint is here to help you navigate this exciting next chapter of your life with confidence. Whether you need assistance with financial planning or want to talk through what a retirement lifestyle could look like, we can provide the support you need to make the most of your golden years. Schedule a 30-minute intro call today and learn how we can help you work towards a fulfilling retirement.

About Matt

Matt Stephens is a financial advisor with AdvicePoint, a financial services firm based in Wilmington, North Carolina, specializing in retirement income planning, tax-reduction strategies, and charitable planning. Matt spends his days guiding clients as they make the leap from career to retirement. He loves simplifying complex financial issues and giving unbiased answers in plain English. His team goes beyond just professional investment management with their client-focused and high-touch approach, building plans as unique as each client. 

Matt obtained degrees in Business Administration and Communication Studies from UNC-Wilmington, holds the Series 66 Investment Advisor, Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and Behavioral Financial AdvisorTM certifications, and was a recipient of the 2019 Wealth Management Thrive Award. Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife, Brooke, and their two young children. They attend Port City Community Church, where Matt has volunteered since 1999. His favorite pastime is surfing. To learn more about Matt, connect with him on LinkedIn.