Redworks Blog (all posts)

10 Steps to Get on The Path to a Happy Retirement


When it comes to retirement preparation, the first thing that seems to come to mind for people is finances. Of course, the money matters are a critical part of being able to retire and determine when you will retire. After that is established, however, there is so much beyond financial preparation that you can do to ensure a happy retirement. We all know money doesn’t buy happiness, so let’s not stop at financial preparation when it comes to retirement! Your happiness in retirement is worth the effort of truly investing in your future emotional well-being.

How do you get prepared? Here are 10 steps to guide you as you consider, not only what your retirement will look like practically, but how you want to FEEL in your retirement.

1. Define your desires

Are there strengths that you want to develop? What do you want to do with your spare time? Purpose brings meaning to our lives. Knowing what you want to get out of retirement will allow you to construct a post-retirement life that is fulfilling. Make a bucket list and start checking them off while you have the energy, health and money to do so.

2. Define how much you want to work/volunteer

Could it help to have some structure and out-of-home involvement to make your transition into retirement go smoothly? Your retirement is yours to shape. Customize your life to what will serve you best. This could look like part-time work, or voluntary community involvement.

3. Grace for the transition

Moving into retirement is a big life transition and transitions are not always smooth or easy. Knowing this ahead of time can help you prepare mentally for the ups and down. What supports can you set up in advance that will give you the space to work through difficult emotions as they arise? Communicating clearly with your partner or people you are in close relationship with about your expectations for retirement is one of these critical pieces that can be extremely supportive to your transition.

4. Develop a routine

Rhythms allow us to feel safe and secure. Up until now your rhythm may have been externally imposed by having a job. Creating a customized structure for your day and an overall flow for your weekdays are good ways to maintain groundedness in retirement.

5. Exercise your mind

If you were used to problem solving or being actively engaged all day through your work, you may notice that you will need to seek out ways to actively challenge your mind in retirement. This could be by learning a new language or a new instrument, or it could be through mindfulness meditation exercises. There are many ways to exercise your mind – choose the ways that excite you most.

6. Keep physically active

Find ways to move your body every day that feel good for you. Take a walk with a friend a few times a week, or maybe there’s a gentle yoga class you can attend in your community. Staying physically active is imperative for emotional well-being.

7. Eat well

Investing in your overall well-being by being mindful of eating nourishing meals contributes massively to your emotional well-being. We are what we eat. Give your body the fuel that it needs to provide you with a happy healthy body so you continue to be active.

8. Seek out social support

If the majority of your socializing has come from your place of work, you may be feeling lost in retirement – feeling a lack of connection. Seeking out the support you need could look like being honest with your partner or close friends in regards to how you are feeling. It could also look like getting involved in your community in ways that allow you to meet new people, or perhaps rekindling old friendships.

9. Push your limits

Challenging yourself is stimulating. What better time to create new goals for your personal growth! View retirement as the beginning of a journey. Open your mind to the possibilities that exist outside of your current capabilities.

10. Give back to the community

Taking the focus off of ourselves and serving others is so healthy for our mental well-being. The joy of giving is truly unmatched, and your community will benefit from the generosity of your heart.

By integrating these 10 actions as you prepare for retirement, you’ll ensure that you find yourself enjoying the retirement of your dreams. Remember, it’s a process. Change takes time, but if you’re steering in the direction of your deepest desires, the journey is bound to be fulfilling.

For more support as you prepare for your transition into retirement, send me an email at As an executive and personal coach who specializes in supporting people through the emotional transition to retirement, it is my pleasure to assist you.