Step 1:
Envision your retirement

You often hear about the hows of retirement. How much have you saved? How long will your money last? While these are important questions, they’re only one side of the equation. When you envision life after work, you’ll need to consider it all—the who, when, where, what, as well as the how of retirement.
The who

Staying connected

To keep the rhythm of your social life beating, stay engaged and socially active.

Stay in touch.

Create a contact list of the people closest to you in your working life.  You can connect online or informally with whom you would like to stay in touch with.

Strengthen existing friendships.

Now’s the time to call in all the “let’s do lunch” promises from friends. Build a few hours of your weekly routine around catching up with old friends and acquaintances.

Engage on social media.

Share your experiences through social media sites and talk to long-distance family and friends using video calls.

Tighten family ties.

Surround yourself with loved ones and make up for lost time (consider offering babysitting of grandkids).

Develop new relationships.

There are plenty of free retiree groups, classes and events. Investigate online resources like in your area through local retirement centers.

Share your passions.

Consider volunteering or other charitable activities, or visit sites like to read inspiring stories of people making a difference in their second acts.
The when

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

There are ways to transition to retirement on your own terms—whether you make the decision to stop working altogether, work a reduced schedule, or take an early retirement package.
Strategize with your spouse to stagger retirement dates in a way that maximizes lifetime benefits for you both.1
Phase into retirement gradually by working fewer days per week or serving as an hourly consultant at your existing job.2
Find part-time or seasonal work requiring less of your time and energy.
Throw yourself into a second career or philanthropic opportunity that inspires and motivates you.
By the numbers

The number of yearly volunteer hours associated with positive health benefits4

The where

Wherever you go, there you are.

Whether you picture yourself staying put or are ready to relocate, there are things to consider about each option.

A change of scenery

Ready to move? Look for somewhere that offers family and hobby opportunities, along with the climate, cost of living, healthcare, and transportation options you need. And once you have a potential place in mind, try vacationing there as a test run.

Thinking small

Looking to downsize? A smaller space can be more affordable and less trouble. But consider the costs of selling and buying before jumping into something. Also factor in new costs, like association fees, along with the social impacts of moving to a new location.

No place like home

If you prefer the familiarity of home — as well as the network of friends and connections you’ve built — staying put can make a lot of sense. Just consider it carefully if it requires you to tap into your home’s equity with a reverse mortgage or line of credit.
The what

Staying busy doesn't require a job.

Wondering what you’ll do with the extra time in retirement? Start with what you enjoy most about your job.

Will you miss the work?

If you’re the type who can’t imagine letting go of the daily responsibilities, work some into your vision.

Will you miss the people?

If the social aspect is difficult to let go, focus on building meaningful personal connections and social networks.

Will you miss the sense of purpose?

If you thrive on a sense of contribution, giving back to others can truly inspire.

Will you miss nothing?

There’s nothing wrong with leaving the office behind and never looking back.
Next steps

How TIAA can help

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1 Phipps, Melissa. "How to Plan for Retirement as a Couple." Sept 16, 2016

2 LaPonsie, Maryalene. "Phased Retirement: The Next Big Trend." U.S News & World Report. Feb 10, 2017.
3 LaPonsie, Maryalene. "15 Ways to Travel in Retirement on a Fixed Budget." U.S. News & World Report. Feb. 2, 2017.
4 Eisenberg, Richard. "The key to a long, healthy retirement." MarketWatch. Nov. 25, 2017.
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