My finances, my projects, my life
September 25, 2021

Six top tips for the transition to retirement

For some people, retirement means freedom, leisure time and new activities. For others, all that springs to mind is anxiety and apprehension. In this article, myLIFE shares a few tips that will help you make the transition.

“I can’t wait to retire!” Is there anyone who hasn’t said these words at some point in their career? The prospect of saying goodbye to stress, the constraints of the workplace and the hectic pace of professional life can seem blissful when we’re caught up in everyday struggles. But breaking out of our habits and the lifestyle we’re used to can be disorientating too. Here are a few practical tips to help you fully prepare for this important moment and make the most of the new life ahead of you.

#1 Plan ahead

If you want to approach this life change with peace of mind, you should read up on your rights and complete all the necessary formalities in advance.

In Luxembourg, you qualify for a pension at the age of 65, provided that you’ve made social security contributions for at least 120 months (including 12 or more in the Grand Duchy). However, you may be able to take early retirement at 57 or 60, so long as certain conditions are met.

Find out more from the Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Pension (CNAP), several months before you plan to retire, to ensure that you meet all of the conditions and your application is complete. You can also use our retirement checklist to check you haven’t forgotten anything.

#2 Draw up a budget

The Luxembourg pension system may be generous, but retiring often means a drop – sometimes a big drop – in your income. This is something you should account for several years in advance. You have several options when it comes to maintaining your lifestyle in retirement: you could take out a supplementary pension scheme, set aside a dedicated savings pot, invest in financial assets or even finish paying off your loans (mortgage, car loan, etc.) before retiring.

What you spend your money on will change too. You’ll spend less on transport, clothes and lunches with colleagues, whereas your leisure budget could easily increase and you may end up spending more on housing (maintenance, heating, etc.) or health care. Take the time to estimate your expenses and income in order to tailor your budget accordingly.

You’ll need a plan of action if you want to avoid feeling useless or bored in retirement.

#3 Listen to your heart

Your last few months at work are the perfect time to think through your aspirations and set new goals that line up with your future life. Which activities, projects and passions have you set aside during your career? What would you like to invest your time in? What activities would make you happy? You’ll need a plan of action if you want to avoid feeling useless or bored in retirement.

And the good news is that there are plenty of options. You’ll finally be able to give the lounge a makeover, read all the books piling up on your bookshelves, visit exhibitions, go to the theatre, and so much more. You’ll have time to throw yourself into your hobbies – be they travelling, painting, writing or gardening – or take those photography classes you’ve been dreaming about for so long. You could even start volunteering, get involved in charity work or give classes. You could embrace this as an opportunity to set yourself new challenges, like learning to speak a language or play a musical instrument.

Listen to your heart, ignore what other people think and plan how you’ll spend your time before you retire.

⇒ Do you think you’ll find it hard to turn your back on the world of work? For a more gradual transition, you can also, subject to certain conditions, work during retirement.

#4 Organise your time

The big day has come at last. It’s the start of a whole new chapter for you! You’ll be able to make the most of your free time. Start by relaxing. After years of hard work, you deserve a well-earned rest. Just because you’re not going out to work anymore doesn’t mean you have to use up every minute of your newfound freedom! Take your time, do things at your own pace, find the right balance and regain your energy. You can then start adding structure to your new daily routine. This is the time to put your plans (see point 3) into action.

All the same, make sure you don’t try to do too much. You should plan out your activities and build in time for rest. And you shouldn’t feel obliged to spend all your time helping out your loved ones just because you’re retired.

⇒ Your marriage may also be disrupted by this new pace of life. To avoid conflict, think through this new situation with your husband or wife: reorganise your household chores and living spaces, and plan out which activities you’ll do together and which alone. You’ll need to learn how to live together all over again, taking each other’s hopes and dreams into account.

Physical activity is a good way to maintain your energy levels, combat certain diseases, improve your sleep and stay independent.

#5 Take care of your body

If you want to enjoy good health in your golden years, taking care of your body and staying active is a must. Make sure you eat a balanced diet and exercise every day. Even if you’re not very sporty, you should make time for anything that gets you moving: walking, cycling, swimming, taking your dog for a walk, gardening, etc.

Physical activity is a good way to maintain your energy levels, combat certain diseases, improve your sleep and stay independent.

⇒ Even if you feel as fit as a fiddle, remember to see your doctor for regular check-ups. Prevention is better than cure, after all. That said, try to avoid seeing age-related issues where there are none. If you feel fine, just be thankful and make the most of it.

Carry on reaching out to others: social connections are an essential part of staying healthy.

#6 Keep your spirits up

To have a healthy body, your mind needs to be healthy too. If you put a stop to all social interactions from one day to the next and start isolating yourself, you’re likely to feel down very soon.

That’s why you should organise days out with friends (hikes, cultural visits, etc.), spend time with your family (walks in the woods, cooking classes, visits to the zoo, etc.) and connect with people who share your passions (clubs for petrol heads, book clubs, etc.). Carry on reaching out to others: social connections are an essential part of staying healthy.

⇒ Do your friends and family live far away? There are seniors’ clubs for over-50s that offer a wide array of activities. You can find more information from the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region at www.luxsenior.lu.

Now you know a few tips and tricks to help you transition from working life to retirement. Planning ahead, organising your time and taking care of yourself are the keys to a successful changeover. Then, all that’s left to do is enjoy every minute of this next stage of life.