Heading for retirement? Here’s 4 wise first steps to doing it right.

No one should let retirement sneak up on them. To assume ‘it will all be alright on the night’ is not the wisest approach – especially as most who hit this major life-change know when it will happen.

Based on my own experience and that of others, there are some simple guidelines to help plan for the season when fulltime paid work ends.

Draw up an agenda

Take time to nail down the things you’d like to do and to avoid. And be sure to talk this through with your partner if you have one. It’s no good planning days on the Costa Brava if they have a priority to be with grandchildren in Birmingham

Of course, you may not even be free to make exactly the plans that you wish. Being needed to care for an elderly parent of sit grandchildren. But, even then, an agenda will help clarify what can and can’t be.

Be clear on the kind of life you want

When it comes to having an agenda, the more profound parts are what you might call ‘spiritual’ goals. Not so much about what kind of things you wish to do but what kind of life you desire to lead.

Given the opportunity, are there ambitions you would love to have the chance to fulfil? Things like –

  • Learning a language
  • Compiling your family archive
  • Signing up for voluntary work
  • Visiting the Holy Land
  • Taking up a new hobby
  • Finding old friends and renewing old contact

If you are someone with apprehensions about retirement, such a list can make it seem more appealing. And for some inspiration on the possibities ahead see the AfterWorkNet webpages on New Opportunities.

For many, what is of greater importance than all of this is to ask ‘what might God want from these precious years of retirement?’ The gift of extra time can offer space for prayer and reflection, space which we may well have missed in the busy-ness of pre-retirement life.

Freed from responsibilities, we can take on new ones – in church, in our community or among our own circle of friends and neighbours – a new kind of ‘calling’ or vocation in our later years.

There are so many opportunities for which age is not barrier. Again, for inspiration, see the AfterWorkNet webpages on Serving.

Things you may want to avoid

As you think ahead, it’s worth considering what you might want to plan to avoid. Are you happy to be drawn into running things – clubs, groups, courses. Because you can be sure the invitations will come.

Those newly parted from the daily grind are rightly seen as a marvellous resource of untapped energy. Ask yourself if you are ready for this and what your response should be if you are approached.

Fight mental rust

On my own agenda was the need to avoid boredom and mental stagnation. Having kept my brain pretty busy at work I didn’t want it to rust in my retirement.

Some people use a daily crossword or Sudoku, or learn how to explore the internet. For me it has been regular Bible reading, challenging radio programmes, books, the theatre, an interesting daily newspaper and enriching conversations.

Take these steps and you are on your way to a retirement that’s a positive and exciting new chapter in your life.

David Winter – adapted from his book The Highway Code for Retirement (CWR)

Found this blog helpful? Then please share it using the links below. And if you have suggestions for someone nearing the end of fulltime work please share then here or our Facebook group. Thank you..

David Winter has retired three times from different settings, including as a Parish Priest and as the BBC’s Head of Religious Broadcasting. He was a regular contributor to Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ for more than 20 years.

Would a little extra money help your retirement? Here’s 20 simple ideas.

For most people, the end of fulltime work means running a tighter ship where the purse strings are concerned. Which means a little extra income would go down well – to get by, spoil yourself or spoil others.

That’s why you might want to check out ways to add some income to your pension that don’t take you back to fulltime employment. And it’s worth keeping in mind that keeping active is likely to contribute to your health and wellbeing too.

Of course, what you can do depends on your age and state of health. But here are a few ideas to get you going, most of which come from the experience of those known to me.

  1. Delivering the local free paper
  2. Dog walking for those at work all day
  3. Light gardening maintenance
  4. Ironing – friends tell me this is in great demand
  5. Childminding – which will need complying with regulations so check with your council’s Child Care Officer
  6. Shifts at a supermarket or DIY store
  7. Catering for parties and events
  8. Book-keeping and/or tax returns
  9. Home tuition
  10. Music lessons
  11. Secretary to the parish council or local charity
  12. School lunchtime supervisor
  13. Take in a lodger
  14. Make money on eBay – clear your own ‘junk’ or unwanted items or pick them up at car boot sales
  15. Mind pets for those going on holiday
  16. Become a mystery shopper – check out the Mystery Shopper Providers Association
  17. Be a television or movie extra
  18. Teach English as a second language
  19. Be a doula – ladies only of course
  20. Self-publish a book

To explore any of the above just head for Google and search. There’s lots of help out there and also excellent advice from those who are already doing what you are thinking about.

If these seem a bit lightweight to you, you might explore something more demanding. Something like becoming a consultant or mentor, sharing your skills and experience with a new generation or to train as a life coach or counsellor.

You could even start your own online business. There’s lots of good advice out there and the tools to build your own website with automatic order taking and processing.

Remember, if you earn extra income it is likely to have tax implications. So keep not of the money you receive and any expenses involved. Possibly you many need to register as self-employed – to check with HMRC. And the Tax Office can make sure you receive the right tax-free allowance.

David Winter – adapted from his book The Highway Code for Retirement (CWR)

David Winter

David has retired three times from different settings, including as a Parish Priest and as the BBC’s Head of Religious Broadcasting. He was a regular contributor to Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ for more than 20 years.

Do you have your own experience of adding to your income? Then please share it here or our Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you.

The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife