Retired? Time to make your golden years count

Retired? Time to make your golden years count

Most of you would have watched Avatar. Not James Cameron’s sci-fi magnum opus but the one in which the original superstar Rajesh Khanna gave hope to retired folks all over India. It has a catchy song whose first few lyrics when translated in English mean “Come on friends, come run and sprint! Before dying, don’t stop living!” Of course, it doesn’t have the same flavor as it does, when rendered in Hindi by the grey-haired hero Avatar to his equally old or older compatriots. But it offers a beautiful philosophy of enjoying and appreciating the gift of life till one’s last breath.

Retirement is often perceived as a boring, dull and sedate period in one’s life. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. If one has managed to create wealth by investing in market linked instruments such as HDFC Life Click2Invest ULIP , one would be financially comfortable during the sunset years. Spending money wouldn’t be an issue but how to spend one’s time would certainly be. If that is the case, here are a few ways to make your golden years count.

  1. Learn something new: Nothing keeps you young like learning something new. You could choose to learn a language, play an instrument, take up a new hobby or even start on a new sport! Did you want to paint but never got around to it? Write a novel but never managed to find enough time to sit down for long hours? Now is the time to do that! You may be advanced in age, but you still have a lot of new things to explore, new beginnings to kick start.
  2. Travel: Albert Einstein had famously quoted that “Life is like a bicycle, one has to keep moving to maintain balance”. Ever heard of the tea selling couple from Kerala who have travelled more than 16 countries and still plan to keep travelling in spite of being seniors? If you haven’t been a serial traveler during your younger days, nothing gives better perspective to life and its meaning than travelling. You get to experience different cultures, taste variety of food, make friends from other parts of the world and a lot more. India itself has a wide range of travel destinations to offer if you wish to visit parts of your country which you haven’t done earlier.
  3. Volunteer: You may have wanted to contribute to a cause, but the time you could devote to this would have been severely limited because of your other commitments. Now is the time to contribute to your favorite cause. The lifetime of experience that you have amassed can be of great service to them. Handling accounts for an orphanage or offering investing advice to an NGO or taking free tuitions for children from under privileged background are some instances of donating your time and effort as it need not always be money.
  4. Freelancing or consulting: Some of us may want to work for a few hours in a day to keep refining our already sharp skills. One can explore freelancing assignments or consulting opportunities. For instance, a retired Chartered Accountant could engage with a few startups to advise them on fund raising or better ways to manage their working capital. The startups benefit from excellent advice at an affordable price whereas for the CA this is an opportunity to not only earn some money but also be professionally engaged on one’s own terms.
  5. Communicate: First things first, communication will be key to your happiness in the old age. Talk to your family and friends, include your lifelong partner in your plans. Do not be a recluse. This is important for two reasons – first, you will be role model to other retirees as you make plans with them, and second, your family will be able to act quickly in case any emergency strikes.
  6. Get a pet:As children grow up and move away, seniors may feel that an empty house resembles party hall after the celebrations are over. For those who are open to having an animal in the house, getting a pet would be a great idea. Research has shown that pets help in decreasing loneliness among seniors apart from offering other benefits such as the zeal to feel responsible again or the urge to walk with the pet and thus keep oneself fit.
  7. Mentor: Many ambitious young people can benefit from your experience. Find someone who would value what you have achieved and would like to learn from your experiences. Take time out every week to talk to a mentee and make a difference to their life.

With so many activities lined up, one may be tempted to claim that 60s is the new 20s!

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