After dedicating decades to your career, retirement arrives as the well-earned, rewarding dream life. Retirement can come with some expectations, though, especially if you’re the hard-working, career-driven type and your job gave you an identity and a purpose. It’s a major life transition and can cause feelings of loneliness, boredom, a sense of unaccomplishment and even guilt.
As a retiree, you may ask yourself how you can continue to challenge yourself. How do you keep connections with family and friends or meet new people? How do you explore new experiences? Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at MIT and contributor to The Wall Street Journal, responds with one word: technology.
With pensions declining and savings decreasing, many retirees are at risk of not being able to make ends meet. An AARP article reports data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute that claims that “more than 4 out of 10 of those reaching 70 [in 2016] risk running out of money in retirement.” By 2022, about a quarter of people ages 70 to 74 will work.
Telecommuting is a flexible option if you want to work part-time, from home or while traveling during your retirement. AARP recommends jobs like a customer service representative, virtual assistant, online tutor or freelance writer or editor. Remote work also is a good option if you have a health condition that prevents you from independently working outside of the home.
If you need to refresh or learn new skills, you don’t have to look any further than the internet. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by top universities and colleges provide online courses on a wide range of subjects that anyone can access via the web. You also can take online courses or earn a certification through a university to build a new skill set or meet job requirements.
During your retirement you should seek out ways to keep your mind sharp and active. If you don’t plan to return to work, you can improve your memory, enhance your communication skills and socialize with others right on your smartphone with smart brain games. Online platforms like “Fit Brains” stimulate your cognitive skills like problem solving and speed of thinking. Improve your memorization skills with “Eidetic,” a learning app that is designed with a spaced repetition technique. “Elevate” offers more than 35 training activities to train your mind.
Retirement is an opportunity to become more altruistic, now that you’ve raised your family and accomplished a career. Giving back and servings others are rewarding ways to find meaning during this time in your life. As long as you have a computer or smartphone, you can volunteer virtually from anywhere, anytime.
Idealist.org connects people to opportunities, such as mentoring a child, assisting with research or writing a blog for a nonprofit organization. If volunteering is a way to get out of the house, interact with others or find new experiences, use your computer to search RetiredBrains.com. You’ll find opportunities to host an international student, serve in a hospital, volunteer at a museum or travel to help with a nonprofit organization.
Being out of the workforce may leave you feeling socially isolated, especially if your family lives out of town or you have lost your spouse. Schedule coffee dates over the Galaxy S7’s video chat feature with one of your kids or connect with a user who shares an interest of yours over “Camfrog.” If you’re looking for a companion or romantic relationship, OurTime.com matches over-50 singles who are interested in meeting someone new.
An increasing lack of mobility because of health conditions also can affect you during retirement. Download the transportation apps for “Uber” or “Lyft” to request a ride to a lunch or activity with friends. Whether you want to catch up with family or meet someone new, you can easily connect with these people behind a screen with a simple tap and click.
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