Preparing for retirement means the difference between leading a financially comfortable and emotionally stimulating life and struggling with not enough money or company.
By making a breakdown of your living expenses, from weekly food bills, utility expenses, transport, health care, insurances for house and car, holidays, and clothes you can become aware of what money you will need to live on. It is important to make the list a detailed as you can because that way no unexpected surprises later will upset your budget. Doing this also ensures that you know exactly what your costs are going to be. If you are good with spreadsheets this is an excellent way to keep an eye on your finances.
Find out from pension providers what your income is likely to be. Then you have a starting point. If the money you need is covered by the pension likely to be available there is no problem. If the income falls short, another look at what budget adjustments need to be made is necessary.
When the financial side is organized, there are other things which will make the difference between a comfortable, happy retirement and a dull, frustrating one.
The adjustment from the routine of going to work requires some thought. Suddenly the structure of the day changes because there are no time limits and boundaries. Regular daily contact with co-workers is not going to be there nor is the company they provide. The pensioner is free to do what ever their imagination allows them. The day could stretch ahead with nothing to do. This is the time to develop those hobbies which there has only been time to dabble in before and try new activities.
However reluctantly we acknowledge it, as we age we loose the physical strength we had and our energy levels drop. Considering activities which take this into account and learning new skills like Tai Chi and lawn grass bowling might seem at first like going backwards but they are skillful activities which require patience and planning and do not tax the muscles.
As depression is a frequent old age issue, it is important to develop a network of family and friends so that there is always someone to contact or just talk to when you want to. Friendships will come out of the clubs and organizations you choose to join and there is nothing like a shared interest to fire up some good discussions.
One last thought. Many people on retirement want to go and live where there is sunshine and good weather. A big move like this can disrupt all the previously carefully made friendships which are vital to our emotional survival. This is where some pre-retirement investigation is valid to ensure that the support network needed will be there, and that the location really does offer all that is hoped for.