That's the easy part. It's what happens after that requires more thought and planning. This is important because you do not want to be bored out of your mind in retirement, especially early retirement, since your friends likely would not have retired at the same time you do.
How do you stay fulfilled and active during your retirement years? That's the million dollar question, and let's answer them below.
1) Volunteer. Have you been too busy at work that you had no time to volunteer? I, too, am guilty of that. Look, I get it, we all had to put food on the table and roof over the head for our family, thus something had to give. It is never too late, however, to pick a cause that is dear to your heart. For some it may be helping seniors, for others it might be helping new immigrants, and for the rest, perhaps it might be working with disenfranchised youth. Find something, reach out via email or phone, and get cracking. We each have to the capacity to give, either more of our time, or money. I have learned that it is far better to give than to take. At the end of the day, I feel better that I am making a difference in someone else's life.
2) Exercise. A doctor once told me that exercise is the key to good health. I have no reason to doubt him because this is what I, and many others, have experienced as well. It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of fairly intensive exercise three times per week. I personally exercise daily, always before breakfast for 5 to 10 minutes, and this includes light jogging, push ups, sit ups, and stretching. My aim is to hit 12,000 steps per day, as recorded by my Fitbit. I achieve this by doing lots of walking while out and about.
3) Join community groups. Every municipal has at least one community centre where you can sign up for activities, from yoga and aerobics to knitting. Some of these programs are free, while others require a drop-in fee. Check them out. Make new friends along the way.
4) Consult. Many of us had fulfilling careers until the point we decide to call it a day. That doesn't mean that we no longer are useful to society. Perhaps not on a full-time basis, but we can definitely think about providing our knowledge and experience on a part-time consulting basis in areas such as Project Management or Career Coaching. It also might be a good time to go for certifications to be able to provide consulting services.
5) Travel. This is my favourite. I just semi-retired this year at age 48, and I have already taken a small trip to Kuala Lumpur. Planned properly, your trips overseas might actually be quite reasonably priced. I would check out countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia where your money goes much further than it would be in the US, Canada, Australia or Europe. My plan is to be able to travel 6 months outside of Canada per year, all paid for with my passive residual income.
There you have it. I'm sure I can tack on a few more ways to keep busy in your retirement, but this will have to do for now.