Whether you’re retiring early, late, or right on time, chances are you’re expecting something better on the other side of that hurdle.
Millions of people have already retired, and if you have yet to cross the finish line, you can learn from their experiences.
I’ve gathered information from a well-known early retiree in the financial district.
His secret to the best retirement ever is the key to your infinite happiness.
Retiring early may seem like a dream come true.
Sure, it shaves off the years you have to spend working day in and day out.
But if you retire early unprepared, it may have been worth sticking it out.
Sam Dogen, a former financial analyst that now goes by Financial Samurai, writes often about his experience with early retirement.
Having negotiated his final severance at age 34, he is now famed for his online advice columns and financial know-how.
But he says retiring early isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Just like someone who retires at age 67 worries about running out of money, the chances that you’ve effectively saved for the rest of your life by age 34 are minimal.
He applauds the one-more-year rule, and while it’s usually meant as a retirement deterrent, he says it can help better prepare you to finish out working.
Saving for one more year can increase your retirement savings by $100,000 or more.
It can also give you time to get your affairs in order and begin working on your next step.
Contrary to what you might think, retirement in of itself is not the final step.
The Financial Samurai provides key nuggets of wisdom to ensure your retirement, no matter when it comes, is as prosperous and satisfying as it should be.
He advises pre-retirees to find “side hustles.”
In his case, he created the blog that has now gained Internet fame, and he coaches tennis.
Yours may not be wealth-acquiring ventures, but it is important to have activities lined up to fill your days.
If you’re running from unhappiness in your daily life now, the freedom retirement brings will only placate you for so long.
Whether it takes a month or a year, you’ll be back in the same rut you were before retiring, except without the daily distraction of a job to keep you occupied.
The key to maintaining a happy equilibrium in the days where a job isn’t necessary is finding something to fill the hours.
Try taking up a hobby on the weekends while you’re still working. Maybe seek out a volunteer position at a local organization you like. Start traditions with your family and friends.
Creating a routine that is meant to bring you pleasure is paramount to enjoying your retirement.
While your job may make you miserable now, eventually empty days will make you yearn for your old tasks and chattering coworkers.
We can talk all day about the best ways to make money for retirement, and those are extremely important as well, but all of that goes to waste if you’re not happy.
You can’t truly enjoy your freedom, or your wealth, or your time if happiness is off the table.
Find something to bring joy to your life, and the days after you leave your job will be the best ones yet.