Whether you’re planning to spend your retirement days launching a second career or golfing, the choices you make will have an impact on your quality of life for years to come. Taking care of your physical, mental, and financial well-being empowers you to make the most of your retirement years.

Find something to do

Play tennis, take a class, plant a garden, travel, volunteer, start a small business. It doesn’t matter what you do — just do it, regularly and often. Experts say staying busy and connected increases your overall happiness in retirement. Nurturing your own interests may even strengthen your marriage or other relationships by allowing you and your spouse to grow as individuals as well as together.

Having a strong sense of purpose in retirement is also important: One recent study shows it may even delay cognitive decline. Consider setting new goals, and make sure that some of your activities involve interacting regularly with other people. The presence of a strong social network is also linked to higher quality of life and longevity.

Build your tax-free savings

You’ll probably take fewer tax deductions now that you’re retired, so consider other ways to minimize your tax bill.

One option is to plan ahead with a Roth IRA conversion. Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free after age 59 1/2, as long as you hold the Roth for at least five years. Unlike traditional IRAs, a Roth IRA doesn’t require you to begin taking distributions at age 70 1/2. If you don’t need the money for five years and you can pay the conversion taxes without tapping the funds themselves, consider converting to a Roth IRA. Talk to a financial professional to learn more.

You may also want to ask a financial professional about other retirement moves, including tax-advantaged securities, such as municipal bonds, municipal bond mutual funds, and certain money market funds.

Save on health care expenses

Medicare covers only a percentage of health care expenses. If you decide to get Medigap insurance to provide more coverage, be sure to compare prices, which can vary widely. In one case, AARP found that the monthly premium for the same coverage varied from $98.20 to $267.99.

Also compare prices for medical care and procedures; you may be able to save hundreds of dollars simply by going to a different provider and asking the right questions. Another way to cut costs: Use your insurer’s preferred in-network providers and pharmacies.

Finally, make prevention a priority. The Affordable Care Act requires Medicare and most other insurance plans to provide wellness visits, screenings, flu shots, mammograms, and other preventative care for free, depending on your age.

Taking charge of your physical, emotional, and financial health is more important than ever as you make the transition to retirement. You have the opportunity to find new purpose and meaning, so take healthy steps to ensure you thrive during this new life phase. 

Empower yourself with financial knowledge

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