We’ve all had times when we’ve dreamed about our eventual retirement when we’ll have all the free time available to pursue whatever we want to do. We don’t have the time to do everything while working full-time, so we have a long list of things we’d like to do later on.

But why wait until you retire? Here are five things you shouldn’t put off until retirement.

Don't put off these things until reitrement

1. Travel

Travel is often number one on the list of activities people want to do when they retire. They will finally be free to see the sights they’ve dreamed of all these years.

But, why not make plans to go on that long awaited trip now? Travelling with your family can create a bond and memories that last a lifetime.

Many travel experiences are easier when you’re younger – and cheaper too.

Related: How to visit Europe on a budget

It’s much more difficult to travel when you have certain health conditions and physical limitations. Even if you’re still healthy and in great shape you probably won’t have the same level of energy and endurance.

Older people tend to want more comfort – and that can be costly. You may not have the money if your portfolio takes a downturn, or living expenses are higher than expected.

2. Downsize your home

One way to trim expenses is to sell your oversized home and move to a smaller, more efficient place now rather than waiting for retirement. Relocating to a more affordable area is also a great option. If your kids are out of the house, you don’t need the extra space, and costly home maintenance it taking over your weekends, why not downsize now?

Check out “active living” or “adult lifestyle” communities where ownership starts as low as age 45.

Not only can this slash your housing costs now, it’ll free up cash for you when you finally do retire.

3. Exercise

Exercise is one activity that’s typically put off when we’re busy, but lack of exercise is a major cause of many chronic diseases that we can become susceptible to when we age. Incorporating an exercise program of at least 30 minutes a day leads to a healthier lifestyle once you retire.

Retired life will be more enjoyable if you’re not dealing with health problems, and medical expenses can be greatly reduced.

4. Living on a reduced budget

Once your major expenses of children and home mortgage have disappeared, why not start living within your future means with a reduced budget that would reflect your lower retirement income?

Run the numbers. You can determine a realistic view of your cash flow and be prepared to make significant changes if you need to.

5. Hobbies

People tend to put off their hobbies and personal interests. They have a low priority when you’re busy with work.

Try out new hobbies or other activities to see if you find them enjoyable before you jump in whole-hog at your retirement.

If you wait you may find some activities harder to master.

Barry had always been interested in fine woodworking and was looking forward to this new hobby once he retired. But, as he got older, his eyesight started to deteriorate so he was no longer able to see the fine detail work clearly. He became frustrated and quit.

Final thoughts

Don’t postpone your life until you retire. Making retirement your lifelong primary goal could end up in disappointment once you get there.

Make the best life you can right now and at retirement you’ll have a different kind of fun.

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8 Comments

  1. David Toyne on August 12, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Excellent advice. It also seems as we get older we get less interested in expensive, yet depreciating things. It’s the younger people driving the BMW’s!! This frees up money to spend/invest in lifestyle enhancement like travel and hobbies.

  2. Gene on August 12, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Great article! We integrated travel into our lifestyle. My wife and I live in Paris, France with our girls and travel across Europe all the time. We are also living in a furnished apartment and that reduces expense a lot. We don’t owns cars. I also run 30-50km per week. Running and fitness are my hobbies! We need to embrace life today! Have fun now and every day… who needs to retire! 🙂

  3. Kathy Waite on August 12, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Really good blog thanks Marie. Hits close to home. I see clients who have been very disciplined get to retirement and feel quite flat , they were not creative and adventurous earlier in life , its now hard to fill all this spare time. In an age where the is too much instant and not enough delayed gratification its finding the balance. I had always assumed I might be lucky and get to 90 plus as my Grandmother made it through world war 2 and smoked and was 86 and in the last year my Mum is dead at 72 and Dad at 74 is forgetting how to walk and doesn’t know who he is any more with dementia. Stark reminder that we seem to be living longer but amongst hundreds of clients as well I am not seeing health span increase yet . Instead of worrying about running out of money I agree enjoy life as you go along more.

  4. Susan J on August 12, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Speaking to #1! A brain tumour changed our lives forever and our retirement plans did a 360! We have regrets and trying to capitalize on what we can do right now. Life is short and not be taken for granted. Rather than accumulating things accumulate memories! Do what matters now.

  5. F on August 12, 2016 at 9:40 am

    While I agree in theory, both partners working full time means that time and energy (a bigger factor as we age) are at a premium. Unless you have a cushy 35 hour a week government job, most jobs are at least 50-60 hours per week plus professional development plus commuting. With housework, yard work, family commitments, etc. there is not much time for hobbies or excercise or anything else. So, prioritization is key. My husband and I love to travel so we focus on that, and unfortunately hobbies get sacrificed. We all have to Make the best choices that we can in our own situations, but I do agree that we have to live our life alongside work as much as possible.

  6. Ken on August 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I agree it is a great article and the type that rarely gets printed on the topic of retirement planning. Once I was retired, I realized that most of what we are told when it comes to retirement planning is usually “save for retirement” But having enough money is not enough. Health and hobbies are really important. Living on a reduced budget is not necessary if one learns to be frugal while working. By the time I retired, I was spending less than half my after tax income so it wasn’t a hardship to transition to a pension. And since I did have hobbies and interests I was already pursuing, not having to go to work did not leave a big gap that I needed to fill.

  7. Denis on August 13, 2016 at 6:01 am

    When I worked I did 80 hr work to accumulate as much as possible as 1. I saw the writing on the wall and 2. dream of retirement at 55 (I retired at 54). Loving it.
    I also loved my work as an IT manager.

    Also my spouses’ boss worked himself to 64, got back pains and died a month later from cancer so never enjoyed him retirement.

    When I did work, I also had full custody of my daughter and so I also cooked and took care of her and coached her sports team around 80 hr work week and 3 hr commutes. Don’t know where I got the energy.

    It was tough, fun and fulfilling and now doing what I want.

  8. Dividend Earner on August 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

    You definitely do not want to build a long travel bucket list and wait until retirement as it will certainly change the financial requirements you will have. We have been travelling a lot but usually for family commitments as we live far away from family. We now have reduced the trips back home and travel to other destinations with our kids (yes more expensive).

    Health is also a lifestyle that should be included at any point however small. Injuries and cancers can struck in at any time.

    Avoiding lifestyle inflation takes years to master especially if you can’t rely on a pension.

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