As a population, we're all living longer than ever before. It's not unusual now for people to spend almost a third of their lives in retirement. For many people, retirement is an opportunity to try new things and spend time doing what they want to do after decades of hard work.
Consider your options
Financial considerations may play a part in deciding what you do in retirement and everybody's personal circumstances will be different. Some people like to stay in familiar places when they retire, or to be near family and friends. Others may have a dream retirement location, whether that involves moving out of the city and into the countryside, heading to the coast or even following the sunshine and retiring abroad.
Downsizing your home and/or living expenses can sometimes free up extra resources but everyone's situation will vary and what is right for one retiree might not be right for another.
Plan a trip
Many people use the extra free time that retirement can provide to travel and visit new places. Travel can often be cheaper for the older person. Many choose to travel out of season and, unless they had kids later in life or are taking the grandchildren, they don't usually have to worry about fitting a trip into school holidays.
When you travel can sometimes have as big an impact on cost as where you travel to. Flexibility can also help when it comes to finding bargains in both transport and accomodation. Many travel companies specialise in trips for the older traveller and may have special rates and deals. These can involve trips within the UK as well as overseas.
If you're on your own the prospect of travelling, especially abroad, can seem particularly daunting. There are many companies that specialise in solo holidays and excursions however and these can be a great way to meet new people while experiencing new places.
Try something new
Retirement can be a great opportunity to try new things, whether that involves taking up a new hobby such as painting or knitting. You don't have to go bungee jumping (although, if you have no relevant health problems there's certainly nothing stopping you) but you could discover talents and skills you never knew you had or simply develop new interests.
Keep physically active
Staying healthy is an important part of making the most of your retirement and keeping physically active will help you to do just that. Keeping fit and physically active can also help you to live longer and retain your independence.
Keeping active does not have to mean strenuous physical exercise. Walking, gardening and keeping up with everyday household tasks can all be beneficial. Longer, more strenuous walks or rambling can be tremendously rewarding and sports and activities such as swimming, golf, gym-based activities or tennis can all be fun while helping improve your fitness.
Many gyms run fitness programmes and activities specifically designed for older people. If you have certain health issues it may be advisable to consult your doctor before starting any rigorous exercise activities but almost everybody can benefit from exercise at some level.
Keep mentally active
Keeping mentally active can be just as important. Many people enjoy reading, doing puzzles or taking up or spending more time on a hobby they enjoy. Adult education classes can be another great way to stimulate our brains and acquire new knowledge and skills.
These can be practical or academic in nature. If you've ever fancied taking a photography course, learning to speak Italian or how to make pottery but you've just never had the time, retirement can provide the perfect opportunity.
Get involved in the community
By the time you retire it's likely that you'll have built up a wealth of skills and experience and many charities and community based groups are desperate for volunteers. You may be able to bring skills you've developed in the course of your working life or you may just be able to give time and enthusiasm. Both can be equally valuable.
As well as giving something to the community and working for a good cause, volunteering can have a social benefit, allowing you to meet new people and make new friends.
Some retirees find that they miss work once they retire. Volunteering can help fill the gap but, with the default retirement being phased out, some people prefer to return to paid work, often on a part-time basis.
Clubs and associations of various kinds can also provide fun and interesting activities combined with a social element. From ramblers' groups to wine-tasting clubs, there are interests and activities to suit every taste.
Keep up with technology
Retiring is no bar to keeping up with the latest advances in technology. Around half of the UK's pensioners are active online and the Internet can provide a range of different benefits and resources. Email and social media sites can help families and friends keep in touch no matter where they are in the world. Pictures and videos can also be shared easily and the number of 'silver surfers' online only looks set to grow.Back to top