What?!! I’m 65?
You’re aware of it, and at the same time, it creeps up on you. Retirement is a general word that implies “Stop Working. Start Relaxing”. That seems simple enough, except that 65 is no longer a magic number that allows you to do just that.
People retire at all ages, and for all different reasons. For example, a couple who publish a popular retirement newsletter were 38 when they retired. And then there are companies that don’t just retain older workers, they cultivate them. To many employers, seniors are wise, experienced, insightful, innovative and willing to learn. And they show up.
Retirement isn’t a time in life; it’s an idea that has more to do with change than activity. A sense of stopping one kind of activity and starting another is about values.
- What’s on your bucket list?
- How satisfying is the job you have?
- How’s your health?
- Money picture?
- What’s on your vision board – real or mind’s eye? (Do you have one?)
The good thing is that you can stop going to work every day. Leisure activities can be scheduled in, travel and sight-seeing may be on the agenda, and you can sleep in every day if you want. The first few months are usually foot loose and fancy free. But change has its downside.
Too much time on your hands makes you restless. The paycheck stops coming. Finances change, and a new budget has to be written. Social groups are sometimes drastically altered when one person, or a couple are retired, and everyone else is still working.
Those who have written a retirement plan, or at least started one, may have smoother sailing as they transition into a new life. Think carefully about what you really want. Studies find that seniors generally have a positive outlook on life. We also tend to be flexible.
As you ponder about your retirement plan, what jumps out at you? Or if you’re already living it, what surprised you?
What surprised me was the real need to be productive. When my job ended, I began substitute teaching. I was already widowed, my children were either working or still in college, and I missed having a routine and a time frame. Being productive seems to be a common thread among retirees. It’s more than a time filler. It gives meaning and purpose to your life.
How do you address this? Transitions should be carefully thought out and slowly implemented.
Focusing on your true values is the heart of the matter, and the jumping off point in your plan.
The Necessities Of Life
What sustains you? Warmth, food, clothing/covering, housing. And company. For most people, being alone too much is detrimental. A little alone time, of course, is great. These basics keep us alive, but to keep well, we need a few personal items.
What interests you? Excites you? Gives you a sense of purpose? Adds meaning and brings joy to your life? These are the personal necessities that must be factored into your retirement plan. These are your real values.
The heart of the matter: Your retirement is personal.
What are you retiring from?
What are you retiring to?
Ask yourself those two questions and write a paragraph – or page – or two about the answer to each.
“Retirement is a work in progress.” A quote from Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, the authors of the newsletter I’ve linked below.
It’s in the 20 questions section.
If the necessities of life aren’t met, the plans for leisure, socializing, travel, and relaxation will fall short. A survey by The Holiday Retirement Options East Coast reported that seniors emphasize three issues that trouble them the most.
- No longer feeling productive
- Staying active
There’s a strong sense of loss in that list. Most of us spend years being too productive. The responsibilities never seem to end. Choose how to spend your leisure hours.
Loneliness can happen at any time in life. But when seniors make major changes, they’re likely to uproot their support system. New address, new bank, doctors, dentists, grocery store and new friends. Settling in takes time.
An active life is really very personal and specific. What’s active to one is boring to another. Learning something new is important at any age. Sports, creative crafts, needlework, woodworking, volunteering – the list is endless.
What’s the secret to living your best life? Let’s start with your core values.
Things Worth Keeping
To me, the things worth keeping are those that trigger a memory and make me smile. A note to Santa from my son, a hand-made gift from a relative, stuffed animals that just hung around. These are the things that can’t be replaced or bought at Target. I need those memories and the smiles. So they stay.
If you have irreplaceables, how are they kept? Do they go with you when you move, or are they photo memories you can enjoy whenever you wish?
Downsize careully. I’m of the mind it can be overdone.
At The End Of The Day
Senior women contemplating – or already enjoying retirement have to be mindful about money. Your values list should give you critical information regarding spending and saving. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in America. Women outnumber men, and single women top the list.
I’ve said this before,but it bears repeating. One in four older single women lives below the poverty line. In America. The causes are numerous. What’s crucial is how to deal with it. In general, there are practical ways to manage your money, and preserve your nestegg.
A few ideas:
- Buy carefully. Once that dollar’s gone, it’s gone.
- Get good financial advice. Your advisor should listen to you, and make personal recommendations. Not sell you the popular item.
- Check your values list before making decisions.
- Enjoy! It’s your retirement.
Here are a couple good websites for all things senior.
Regardless of our age, we are generally a healthier generation than those previous. We tend to have more assets that our parents or grandparents. We’re involved in many activities, and move about the country and the planet more than any other generation.
Share your story, or any concerns or questions you may have. I love to hear from you, and others may laugh or cry with you.
Are you retired?
Are you approaching retirement?
Please stay tuned. This is my area of expertise. I’ll share every bit of information I find -I love research – because my retirement is also a work in progress.
Thank you for reading my blog.