They say good things come to those who wait, but you know the truth: great retirement comes to those who plan. You’ve worked hard, invested wisely and called the shots thus far in your life. Why should you stop now? With all the retirement options available today, it’s never too soon to take charge and make the most of what comes next.

Realistically, you probably started planning your retirement years ago. Never one to leave the future up to chance, you researched, diversified and developed strategies that would allow you to enjoy life after work. But the retirement you envisioned in your forties may look very different from the lifestyle you crave in your sixties or seventies. Take it from those in a position to know: The Knolls’ residents. Beyond the financial resources that many places provide, our candid community members are sharing their tips on making decisions and maintaining independence post-retirement.

1. Don’t wait to start a conversation

Many people in your life, including friends, family and neighbors, will have opinions on what you should do next. Whether you’re preparing to stay in the neighborhood, travel the country or move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), don’t hesitate to discuss your plans with those closest to you. Having conversations throughout the decision-making process allows you to gain input from people whose opinions you value while still asserting your independence.

Even if you’re not ready to move right now, our resident Elizabeth recommends talking about the type of future you want. The longer you wait, the greater your risk of losing control of your retirement. “As long as you have the capacity to make your own decisions, you should make them,” she says.

2. Continue setting and achieving goals

Throughout your life, you’ve worked toward various personal and professional objectives. Where would you be if you had just drifted aimlessly instead? Your drive and ambition won’t suddenly disappear after you retire, so set new goals for yourself and redirect them. Not only will this strategy help you avoid the procrastination and listlessness many retirees experience, but also it can motivate you to grow in new, unexpected ways.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try painting or continue your education on an unconventional subject. Give yourself a timeline and take those first steps. Whether that’s registering for a class or finding the perfect environment to inspire your creativity, these small actions can lead to surprising accomplishments. If you’re not sure where to begin, these tips were created specifically for people in retirement.

3. Always keep good company

As you age, staying connected becomes even more important, not just with respect to your family ties and romantic relationship(s), but also when it comes to friendships. Increasingly in recent years, studies have shown that friends can be the greatest positive influence on long-term mental, physical and emotional well-being.

That was certainly the case for The Knolls’ resident, Herb. Before moving into a community where everyone knows one another by name, he said, “I was alone and I didn’t want to be alone. Just living by myself didn’t offer sociability.” Taking control for him meant finding the right place, with the right people. During your own search for the ideal retirement community, consider the quality of residents who could become your friends and neighbors.

4. Examine your expectations vs. reality

For those of you who have already retired, how does your day-to-day life measure up against your goals? As your everyday tasks and schedule continue to evolve, make sure you’re building a routine that you actually enjoy. If you’re like most retirees, according to the psychology of retirement, you’ll experience several stages during this long-awaited transition.

Whether you’re still in the honeymoon phase or onto disenchantment, you’ll eventually find your way to reorientation and stability. Bring your characteristic self-awareness to these latter stages, and avoid settling into something that doesn’t quite align with your expectations or values. After all, your retirement is too short to waste on uninteresting hobbies or tedious home maintenance.

5. Above all, be yourself

By this point in life, you know who you are. Bring that unapologetic authenticity wherever retirement may take you, and surround yourself with people who genuinely appreciate it. You didn’t come this far to join a community that forces you to keep up appearances or inhibits your freedom.

Harriet was concerned about the formal approach to senior living she saw in a number of other New England communities. So, when she first came to The Knolls, she was instantly impressed by how real everything and everyone seemed. “The fact that one can dress in the morning and be dressed in the same outfit for dinner was very enticing. I didn’t have to worry about going to a formal dinner each night. It was just a comfortable meeting of people and friends and sitting and eating just as you would in your own home,” she said. Since then, she’s only become more confident that she made the right choice for her retirement.

Whatever you ultimately decide to do, try to carry it out with that same level of confidence. Our residents have come to The Knolls on their terms and offered advice for a fulfilling retirement, but they’ll also be among the first to admit that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for this transition.

Hopefully, their tips can help you take control of your future. If you see yourself in a community surrounded by strong, independent peers, then we can help with that, too. Contact us today to schedule your visit and meet our residents in person.

The Knolls
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