Retirement planning is something that all older people should be aware of and there is more to it than you may initially think. Although it is generally just a case of winding down from a lifetime of working, there are many elements to your retirement that you need to consider.
Where to live
This goes without saying and is one of the first things people tend to think about when they're planning retirement. Whether you want to live in the UK, move to the seaside, head out of the city or be closer to family, this is a big decision that needs careful thought. It's worth talking to your family, friends and loved ones at this stage to gauge their opinions and keep an open mind.
If you do decide to move, then think about what matters most to you from your new location. If you really like the thought of being close to the beaches of Dorset but don't want to be miles away from your family in Oxfordshire, then look at moving to a coastal county like Hampshire where the seaside is achievable but your family are still relatively close by.
Once you've decided where in the world you want to live, you need to consider the type of property you want to live in. Many retirees choose to downsize and with good reason. You can alleviate the burden of looking after a large family home, while still having all the benefits of your own property. Retirement apartments offer a sense of community and often have communal areas, as well as the benefit of having things like gardening and maintenance included, so you get all of the pros and none of the downsides.
Bungalows and cottages are also popular options for similar reasons. Not having to worry about stairs certainly makes things easier as well! Of course, if you have family close by or simply enjoy working on the house, a larger property is still an option. You may choose to bring in a gardener and a cleaner if you want to stay put but take away some of the everyday pressure.
Any retired person will tell you that getting your finances lined up is essential as you plan for retirement. You might want to talk to a financial adviser who specialises in retirement planning so that you can get sound advice on what you need to do and the best options for your pension pot. There are various investment options to choose from, depending on your individual circumstances, so take the time to fully understand everything before making any decisions.
If you're planning to downsize your property and release equity, you'll also need to take this into consideration and getting independent advice is always recommended. Think carefully about what your ougtoings will be - travel to and from work will decrease, while heating bills may increase as you're at home more. Go through all bills carefully so that you know exactly what you're dealing with.
Consider your hobbies
When you retire, you can suddenly find yourself with a lot of extra spare time that you may never have had before. The free time sounds amazing when you're rushed off your feet with a full time job, keeping a house and socialising with friends, but all of a sudden, you seemingly have all the time in the world! It's a prime opportunity to start exploring all the hobbies you've been meaning to do for years.
Maybe you've always wanted to write a novel, start a dance class or even travel the world! Now you have the time to do it all - and more! You can slow things down and just enjoy your new spare time, using it to do what you want. Perhaps you'll start taking lots of holidays or spending more time with grandchildren and the family in general. Retirement is all about making the most of the things you've worked your whole life to do, so go out and enjoy yourself to the max!