Ready to retire? Maybe you should practice first.

For those of you looking to retire in the next few years, consider practicing retirement first. A dress rehearsal of sorts will give you the opportunity to work out any kinks in your plans before you take that big leap towards full retirement.

Here are some suggested steps to try:

  1. Change your work hours – Ask your employer if you can switch to a flexible or part-time schedule. This will give you a chance to figure out now what you will do with that extra time. Take time to travel and explore. You may even find your dream retirement spot!
  2. Experience all 4 seasons in your retirement destination – it is much different living year round in someplace that you have only visited in prime seasons. Perhaps you want to move to Arizona. It might be wonderful in the winter months but can you live there in July when the average high is 106°?
  3. Consider your social network – do you mainly spend time with your work friends? When you retire, they may still be working. Seek out friends that are already retired and doing activities that you enjoy. Now is also a good time to rekindle your most important relationships. Start a weekly “date night” with your significant other.
  4. What are your hobbies? – Now is the time to rekindle old hobbies or try something new. If your hobby requires startup expenses for equipment or lessons, now would be a good time to make that investment while you still have your salary. Hobbies will keep things exciting so that you avoid getting into a rut.
  5. Live on your retirement income – if your retirement income will be less than your current income, try living on that reduced amount for a few months. Can you live on less and still enjoy retirement? Also, consider making any expensive repairs or purchases prior to retirement, while you still have your salary.