Retirement is really a great period of life. And because we specialize in retirement planning here at Streamline, we know a lot of retired people. For some, they use this period of life as a way to simplify and declutter. It’s a natural progression when you get to that point. We’ve seen time and time again, people who are newly retired start to simplify life, which is really good.

But in this post, I’m going to share five things clients say are the most important things to own to make retirement even better. Some of these things are an added expense, and I know in retirement we have a tendency to want to save more and be frugal with expenses. But I believe these could be worth it and could actually give you more in return than what it costs to have them.

Health Club Membership

Having a membership to a health club might be expensive, but this can be one of the most important things that you own, if you use it. Prior to retirement, it might have been harder to get to the gym because of work and a busy schedule. But now, using some of that newly granted free time for fitness can pay big dividends. I know a few clients who’ve said that they feel better now in their mid-sixties than they did in their early fifties, directly because they made exercise a habit in retirement. And doing this one thing can really improve all other areas of retirement and of life; we’ve seen the studies behind that.

Adventure Book

If you’re looking for adventure or excitement in retirement, this is not essential, but it’s fun. It’s something my family has been using recently; so it’s not just for retirees, but I think you’d really get a kick out of it. It’s called The Adventure Challenge Book. We’ve been enjoying the family edition, but they also have one for couples and one for singles, as well as a few other versions. Each page has a new mini adventure that you scratch off. You don’t know what it is until you scratch it off and then you complete it right at that moment. As a family, we’ve been enjoying it a lot, so, I wanted to share it with you. And again, not essential for retirement, but it just could be a fun thing to, to spice up a weekend if you’re wondering what to do.

Your Own Car

The number of cars they own is something that many couples decide to cut in half in retirement. They think when they retire, they won’t be commuting to their jobs anymore and won’t use their cars as much. They try to simplify and go down to one. But I would think before you do that because having a car really offers freedom and flexibility. You can get up and go when you want to and you don’t have to plan around your partner’s schedule. It can work, to have just one car, but at least for the first few years, think about keeping two and maintaining your freedom and flexibility.

Emergency Fund

This is something that most people have before retirement, but once they get to retirement, they get rid of it. I can see the rationale behind not having an emergency fund in retirement because you’re starting to take withdrawals and maybe you’ve set up your bucket strategy. But, it still it makes sense to have an emergency fund separate from your retirement income strategy.

The emergency fund is really just for the unexpected, the unplanned things. Whereas your retirement income plan is planned out for the regular expenses that are going to be occurring, if an emergency does happen, it’s less likely to impact your plan if you’ve got that set-aside money in the emergency fund. So having three to six months of expenses set aside is still a good idea in retirement.

Enroll in College

This last point is also related to fitness, but it’s not physical fitness, it’s more mental fitness. Many local colleges, or you can find an online college, offer classes specifically for seniors at a very affordable rate. Curiosity really is the fountain of youth and, and staying challenged after your career is important for a healthy brain. So, finding the courses or topics that interest you could be a good idea. You might even meet people who are interested in the same in things as you and start to increase social ties to other people.