How to Enjoy Your Retirement

One thing everyone looks forward to when it comes time for retirement planning is the amount of hours freed up for leisure. There’s something about breaking away from the daily grind that elicits a sigh of relief from even the most dedicated workers. It’s almost as if you suddenly regain all those hours lost to commuting and late nights at the office, right? How do you fill them? It would be easy to just do more of what you already love, but you might find it’s not really how to enjoy your retirement  hobbies are as diverse as the people celebrating their last day of work. Be adventurous! Find some new interests, it’s good for your health in many ways. Here are a few ideas:

Back to School

You may not be in the mood to enroll in college – though you certainly can – but chances are good your local university will offer a wide range of courses tailored specifically to retirees. Want to learn how to use the computer? Have an interest in meteorology? Engage your brain in whatever pursuits catch your fancy.

Photography

With the prevalence of good digital cameras at affordable prices, it’s easy to let your inner shutterbug run wild all over town. Snap all the pictures you can, then use your newfound computer skills to edit them, post them on the internet, or to even print and sell!

Volunteer

Have a cause that’s near and dear to your heart? Connect with local organizations helping to meet those needs. You might decide to serve breakfast to the homeless in the morning and spend your afternoons teaching underprivileged children how to read. There are a number of opportunities to help, so do some asking around.

Take Up a Sport

It’s no secret that exercise is a key part of remaining active for as long as possible. Some like to walk, others like to run, but why not go in a completely different direction? Local activity centers often set up “Masters” leagues in everything from badminton to swimming. In addition to providing you with a way to meet people, you’ll get the thrill of learning a new game.

Storytelling

Some afterschool programs, in an effort to encourage the imaginations of children, invite those who can spin a good yarn to sit with a handful of kids and create fanciful tales of knights in shining armor or distant worlds. Think of it as a way to tell a bedtime story during the day, except the audience will hear every word.

Show Dogs

If you love animals, you could have a good time presenting them at pet shows. Whether you have a well-behaved beagle at home or simply have a way with birds, you might find the ability to walk a neighbor’s dog or train cats becomes a fun way to spend your day.

Amateur Radio

Retirees who are technologically inclined (or have grandchildren that are) have become part of the fastest-growing demographic among Internet users. A small investment in equipment – if your computer doesn’t already have the capability – and some basic skills with the web can help you share your wisdom with the world about anything you want.

Best Retirement Plan Companies

Saving for life after work is a big deal, so it is natural that you will search out the best retirement plans companies around. The number of retirees is growing exponentially thanks to the Baby Boom and organizations of all kinds are attempting to grab market share by devising ways to provide retirement planning services. With the airwaves being flooded with commercials and conflicting reports in print media, how can you tell which one to choose? The simplest answer is to consult with a trusted financial planner, someone who will take the time to understand your goals and plans, then make recommendations to help bring those dreams to life. If you want to get some ideas before you meet with a professional, the following companies all have good reputations:

T. Rowe Price

Based on the sheer variety of plans available, T. Rowe Price is a popular choice for those who are close to retirement and those who have a few decades to go. Whether you are three years out and looking to make a target-date fund to solidify your portfolio or have a little bit more room to maneuver, you will have access to personal advice to secure your future.

Fidelity

Individuals who have a better understanding of how the stock market works, but don’t want to fly without a safety net will find the resources at Fidelity more to their liking. Much like T. Rowe Price, this is a larger financial services company with a decades-long history of providing the full range of banking services for customers of all kinds. You will have access to advisors, as well as the ability to make adjustments to your risk profile or even trade shares online.

Scottrade

If you are looking for a hands-on approach to your investments and are internet-savvy, then Scottrade may be the company for you. Designed as an entry to the market for those with lower starting assets, this organization has grown quickly over the last decade as a center for trading online. Though there are some professionals who can provide guidance on your options, the programs are generally set up to be managed day-to-day by the investor themselves.

Decimal

Are you self-employed? Wondering how to create a retirement account similar to a large corporation? Decimal provides specialized 401(k) plans and Roth IRAs for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations whose owners are the only employees. It serves a small market segment, but Boomers with an entrepreneurial mindset will enjoy the ability to develop an investment portfolio in line with the average worker at a big company.

These are just a few of the many choices you have when it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars, which is why it’s important to do some research on your own. Check with reputable resources, like Consumer Reports or other watchdog groups, while asking around amongst your friends and family. Find out what people like and don’t, as well as how helpful the individual agents are. You’ll be surprised how far a few questions will get you, and how much safer the financial aspect of your golden years will be.