Many people look forward to retirement, dreaming of a time when they can finally enjoy the things they have always wanted to do.
But retirement isn’t guaranteed. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. Besides, why put off things for later that you can enjoy now?
Here are some activities to schedule while you are still working. There's no need to work yourself to the bone trying to retire early when you can indulge in these pleasures today.
Some people put travel at the top of their retirement bucket list. However, you don’t have to wait to take trips.
Instead, go to Paris or sit on a beach somewhere and enjoy a little time away from the office. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to work.
Pro tip: If you’re a Costco member, a great Costco hack is to check the retailer’s travel site to search for extra deals on your next vacation.
Live somewhere you enjoy
Moving to a new place can be challenging, especially with the high housing costs you will find in many cities. But it’s still worth researching that city you’ve always wanted to live in, or the property in the woods you’ve dreamed of owning.
A move to an area with a lower cost of living can be a good move, especially if you work from home and no longer need to visit an office in an expensive city.
Spend time with friends and family
It’s never a bad idea to spend time with people you love. No matter how busy you are at work, find extra time in your week to hang out with your family or go have dinner with a friend.
You might even set a goal of spending one day each week catching up with someone you haven’t seen for a while.
Learn a new hobby
Hobbies are a great way to spend free time. Think about learning to do something you’ve always dreamed about.
For example, there may be classes in your community that will teach you how to knit or play the guitar. There are also great videos online that can help you pick up a new talent for free.
Go back to school
Consider taking a class now instead of putting it off for later. Check with a local college or university to see if it offers discounts for seniors.
Who knows, maybe you'll learn something that will put you on a new and more exciting career path.
Volunteer in the community
There's always a place in your community that needs volunteers, so try some options now to see if there’s something in particular that you like.
Perhaps you enjoy working at your local library or helping at a nearby homeless shelter. Every bit of time is helpful to your community, whether you volunteer now or after you retire — or better yet, during both of those times.
Gardening can be soothing and may offer tangible rewards such as fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers for pollinating bees.
If you plan to take on a garden project when you retire, why not start now? You can set up a space in your yard for plants and flowers. And don’t forget to order things now that you can add to your garden later, like a bench or some paver stones.
Do you dream of retiring early? Take this quiz to see if it's possible.
Buy something you always wanted
Do you dream of driving a classic car when you retire? Or is there a piece of furniture that you’ve always thought about adding to your home after you retire?
Instead of waiting, check your budget and see if you can find a way to make that purchase work now.
When doing your calculations, remember to factor in maintenance costs for items or monthly loan costs that you will owe.
Get into your favorite media
Film buffs may get excited about the thought of watching more movies or binge-watching a favorite television show after they retire. Readers may have piles of books they’re going to pick up when they retire.
But there is no reason not to start enjoying those pleasures now.
Perhaps you have a sport you want to try but are waiting until you retire to start it. Instead, why not try doing it now?
Not only will you add a little fun to your current life, but you’ll also get into healthy habits that can follow you into retirement and keep you fit.
Now may be a good time to start checking off things on your retirement bucket list instead of waiting until later.
If you decide to take such an approach, do it wisely. For example, a little research can help you find the top travel credit cards so you save money on your trips.
Whatever you decide to try today, remember that you can continue to enjoy that activity long into retirement.