Written by Felix Steinmeyer
Though retirement ought to be a time when you are finally able to let out a deep breathe and relax, there is no getting around the worry that comes with entering that stage of life. After all, any major life event can be awfully stressful, and there is no denying that leaving your career is a major life event. The greatest retirement worries are losing one’s sense of purpose, not having enough money, being lonely, and being in poor health. But, you do not need to fret because you can indeed conquer your retirement challenges and enjoy the life for which you have worked your entire life.
What Now? Create, Follow Your Retirement Plan
Although most retirement plans focus on finances, the truth of the matter is that to truly enjoy your retirement, your plan needs to cover more than your budget. Actually, the retirement plan I suggest that you create will be a life plan, not a spending/income plan. Your retirement plan, will answer that question that nearly everyone has when they retire: “So, what now?”
When creating your retirement plan, think long term. The further out you can make it, the more excited you will be about the future. Schedule your plans around the full twelve months of the year. If Spring is your favorite season, plan a trip to the Southern Hemisphere in October so you can enjoy the greenery and blooms when it is winter back home. Also, list the birthdays of your loved ones and plan visits over the next 24 months so you keep on having a great event to look forward to.
Also sit down and determine what is important to you. Is being a grandmother, the role you love the most? Or, perhaps, mentoring young business people is something you have always wanted to do. Regardless of what gives your life meaning, make sure you include it in your life plan.
Break that Plan, be Spontaneous
Now, with all of that having been said about the life-meaning your plan can give your retirement, it has got to be said, that there will be times when you ought to break your plan. There will be times in your retirement that call for spontaneity.
Don’t follow comedian Steven Wright’s advice and procrastinate being spontaneous. A bit of spontaneity will work your creativity muscles. It will keep you fresh and flexible. It will keep you from turning into that grumpy old man or woman. It will bring you joy.
Finding Work, Not a Job
Even if you do not need a job, you might need work. But in retirement, the work you do can be what you enjoy. This could be volunteering or even doing something, such as gardening or pet sitting, for some spending. The key here is to find work you enjoy. Remember, you’re retired, no more jobs.
Stop Worrying about Money
A major challenge you will probably need to overcome in retirement is worrying about money. In fact, some studies have found that soon-to-retire people are more concerned about not having enough money than they are about dying. Now, that is quite a worry, eh?
To conquer this financial worry, you must first understand that it is perfectly normal. Odds are, most of the people around you feel the exact same way. Once you accept this, you can move on to the next step of figuring out if you have a legitimate reason to worry about finances in retirement. Thankfully, there are some great online tools, such as the AARP retirement calculator, that can give you a quick snapshot of your current situation while offering suggestions as to the steps you can take to help you meet your retirement lifestyle goals.
Shoring up Your Finances Late in the Game
You still do not need to worry if it turns out that you do indeed need to improve your financial situation. You can overcome this retirement challenge as well. There are many ways you can make money while retired from selling items you have acquired over the decades to getting a reverse mortgage, life insurance settlements, shopping around for better interest rates on investments and credit cards, and so many more.
Though they are not income, discounts are a fantastic way for seniors to save money, lots of money. Did you know that Americans who are at least 62 years old can buy a lifetime pass to all of America’s national parks for just $80. That is a stunning discount when you consider that everyone else has to pay that same amount for just a one-year pass. You can find other great prices at private and public attractions, hotels and resorts, restaurants, museums, theaters, and nearly everywhere else that caters to the public.
Collect Experiences, Not Stuff
What makes you happy? According to research, your experiences give you much more happiness than do your things. As you are creating and following your retirement life plan, covered above, make sure you pack it with experiences instead of purchases. Remember, there may come a time that it will be difficult for you to travel and experience good times.
Some of the greatest experiences you can have in retirement will also keep you active. Geocaching, golfing, bird watching, pickleball, hiking, and gardening are all great ways to collect experiences that will also keep you active and give you the opportunity to make new friends. All of this will likewise combine to conquer your fears of being lonely or losing your health prematurely.
Retirement Need Not Be a Time of Worry
You can conquer the retirement challenges that most of us will face. You just have to plan and take them on honestly.