What to do in Retirement: The First Day, Week, Month, and Year

Jun 4, 2024

What to do in Retirement

Retirees joke that every day is Saturday, but that doesn’t mean the transition to the golden years is easy. Without guidance or planning, it can be challenging to adjust to your new lifestyle and know what to do in retirement.  

At Credent, we plan clients’ career exits every day, so we asked our advisors for insights on navigating the first day, week, month, and year of retirement.  

First Day: Rest and soak it in

“Think about what you were doing yesterday at this time, and be glad for the time you had in that job and thankful for the season you are now entering!” – Brian Davis, Wealth Manager, Waco

“Relax and enjoy the blessing.”Tracy Ann Miller, Wealth Manager, Oklahoma City

“Sleep in a little late, then enjoy your first cup of coffee on the patio, in front of the fireplace, etc., and reflect on how blessed you are to have come to this place.”Steve Swicegood, Wealth Manager, Amarillo 

“Sleep in, if inclined to do so, and just enjoy the day and this new phase of your life.” – Brad Michels, Wealth Manager, Louisville

On your first day of retirement, you have one thing on your to-do list: soak it in. 

Slow down and appreciate the blessing and the accomplishment of retirement. Don’t minimize the gravity of this day. What did it take to get here? What are you looking forward to? Rest, celebrate, and enjoy the day.  

First Week: Do things you like, but take it slow

“Be content to smell the roses and do nothing. You have likely been sprinting on a schedule for a long time, so enjoy just ‘being’ for a little while.”Brian Davis 

“Schedule coffee and breakfast with a friend(s). Make sure it is late enough for you to sleep in first.”Tracy Ann Miller 

“Think about all those plans you made in the days leading up to retirement. Prioritize your list, mixing big projects with shorter, easier tasks. Early victories provide motivation and can help you avoid unexpected burnout by trying too much too soon. Practice saying ‘no,’ as everyone suddenly believes you have nothing to do except address their needs.”Steve Swicegood 

“Treat yourself to something (nice dinner, spa day, theater, etc.). You have earned it.”Brad Michels 

Whether spending time with friends, ordering dinner from your favorite restaurant, or getting started on your retirement “want-to-do” list, ease into the first week with some energizing activities.  

Be careful not to overdo it, though. You are still in an adjustment period, and it’s okay to go slow. Your projects and plans (and other people’s projects and plans!) will be there when you’re ready.  

First Month: Check in

“Make sure you have hobbies to enjoy and people to enjoy them with. Retirement can be all about us, but a satisfied retirement over the long haul includes doing life with others.”Brian Davis 

“Make a plan for taking care of your health and wellness.”Tracy Ann Miller 

“Set aside any worries about feeling unfulfilled, no longer useful, or otherwise disconnected. You have made a big life change, and it will take time to find your ‘groove.’ Be patient with yourself as you go about reinventing your life.”Steve Swicegood 

“Take some time to reflect on this last month and how you feel emotionally, physically, and financially.”Brad Michels 

After the first month, you may start to feel unsettled. Now is a great time to look back – at your first month of retirement, at your career, at the life you’ve lived so far. Also, look forward – think about what you want to do, who you want to help, and how you can be at your best.  

Assess how you feel and how you want to feel. How can you take care of yourself and others? How can you stay connected? 

Be honest about what you need, whether that’s a trip to the doctor, a new hobby, or an opportunity to volunteer.  

First Year: Make a plan

“Consider how you can give back to others. Being a part of a team, an organization, or something bigger than ourselves is vital to feeling productive and satisfied in retirement.”  – Brian Davis

“Meet with your advisor for a Goal Review.”Tracy Ann Miller 

“As much as possible, avoid making other life-changing decisions. Moving to a new city, selling everything to travel the world in a sailboat, or becoming a recreation-vehicle vagabond may sound exciting, but these things need time for contemplation and preparation. The only thing I can guarantee is that the way you feel about retirement after year one will be completely different than it was on day one.”Steve Swicegood 

“It’s your first time retiring, so remember, there may be some adjustments along the way and moving forward, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t having success at ‘retirement.’ It also goes without saying that having an advisor partnered with you for this journey should assist in easing any financial anxiety.” Brad Michels 

“Children and grandchildren grow up and develop their own lives, so becoming a mentor to them is important, but do not focus on that alone. Instead, focus outward and have a purpose. Become involved in the community, whether through volunteering or a second (or third!) career.”Bill Hoover, Wealth Manager, Auburn

If you don’t have one, consider talking to an advisor and building a financial plan. You’ll feel relieved knowing whether your finances can sustain you through retirement.  

If you have an advisor, meet with them in the first year to catch up, adjust your plans, answer your questions, and ensure you are on track toward your goals.  

Make a plan for what kinds of social activities you want to be involved in, trips you want to take, and hobbies and projects you want to complete. Many of your close friends and family are likely not retired, so reach further when looking for people to connect with. Go into your community and ask how you can help.  

For any other big life changes you’re considering this year, stay in the planning stage. Retirement is an adjustment, so be mindful not to introduce more disruptions.  

What to do in retirement: Final thoughts

“In general, I would encourage people to be thankful each step of the way. Our attitude really is shaped by our gratitude. Having the opportunity to retire from our professions and (hopefully!) do less of what we don’t enjoy so we can do more of what we do enjoy is a huge blessing.”  – Brian Davis 

Everyone’s retirement looks different, and the specifics of what you do your first day, week, month, and year are up to you and your advisors. 

Regardless, anyone can choose to appreciate this stage of life. No doubt, retirement might be taxing; you may experience health complications, loneliness, boredom, or frustration. These are real struggles to work through. 

Yet you’ve worked hard for decades to reach this milestone. Plan well, ask for help when you need it, and savor it as much as you can. 

For more guidance on what to do in retirement, reach out to an advisor using the form below.  

Schedule an appointment with an advisor in your area.