A recent study by Shell Oil that I saw on Webmd.com revealed that people who retired at age 55 are 89 percent more likely to die within 10 years of retirement than those who retire at 65.

Other research reveals retirement increases depression by 6 to 9 percent, illnesses by 5 to 6 percent, and difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities by 5 to 16 percent.

While making sure you have enough money to last through retirement is a top priority, of equal importance is making sure you are emotionally ready for life in retirement.

Retirement itself is a life-altering event, and if you’re not prepared, your emotions can get the better of you.

Retirement should be a time to reawaken your passions and interests, a time to explore things you’ve never had the time to do during your working years. You have earned the right to pay yourself to do the things you love!

Creating a plan will help you look at your retirement not as the end of a chapter but the beginning of an entirely new book.

If you want to have a busy, active retirement, you have to plan out what you’re going to do. Some call it a “bucket list,” others call it a “to-do” list. Whatever you decide to call it, you need to create one.

That list can mean the difference between happiness and a daily battle with your emotions.

You can put together a financial plan for your retirement and have stockpiles of money, but if you don’t know what you’re going to do to fill your days and make yourself happy, money doesn’t matter.

How to create a bucket list

Retirement is the time to rekindle the dreams you had as a kid. Creating a retirement bucket list will help give your retirement meaning while helping motivate you to lead the type of retirement that brings you joy and happiness. Here’s how to get started:

  • Set aside about 30 minutes one day with a pen and paper (or for the more tech-literate, consider downloading one of the many bucket list apps)
  • Write down items that you really want to do, not what others expect you to do.
  • Keep your list handy at all times. Doing so allows you to constantly reflect upon your list and edit it when the occasion arises.
  • Start small. Do one or two of the easier things first to give yourself a sense of accomplishment and the drive to complete the list.

Retiring is a lot like graduating from college. Some have a very specific plan of what they are going to accomplish, while others want to try a few things out.

It might be the end of one thing that has given you purpose for years, but it’s the beginning of something that can be much more fulfilling.

Allen Freeman, CFP provides financial planning to retirees and widows. www.allenfreemanfinancialplanner.com