Your 3 Biggest Retirement Challenges

Retirement should be an amazing time. Prepare to explore new interests, savor quiet moments, experience for the first time the true meaning of stress free, take full advantage of mid-week specials and in general live life in a way that best suits you. What is it like to control how you spend your time, to do what you want when you want? Won’t it be glorious to find out!

We all deserve to live the dream. So how do we?

After a decade of comments from readers, diverse feedback from fellow retirees and lessons learned navigating my own retirement I believe the key to a successful migration from work to a happy retirement is preparation. Don’t hope to just flip a switch and smoothly move to retired life. It takes effort, planning, adaptability, curiosity, perseverance and patience.

Retirement is a transition

Over the years I have heard from many negotiating the passage from fulltime work to fulltime retirement. A common theme is challenges abound. Big changes in lifestyle take time to negotiate. And the move into retirement is a big change.

Who will you be once you exit your career? Many define their essence – who they are – based upon their work role. Leaving that behind can prove confusing and dismaying. The job always sort of told you what you should be doing. Once retired your time is truly your own – do you know what you will do?

When it comes to retirement we have no past experience to draw from. This is the first time we are doing it. You may discover early on that your expectations of how things will be are not exactly on target. Learning to adapt is a valuable skill for the new retiree and the old retiree as well. If one path does not pan out, don’t fret – try another.

The successful retiree asks important questions before retirement arrives, hopefully staying ahead of the game with a little foresight. Answers don’t always come quickly or easily but it is important to ask sooner rather than later.

Get used to the fact it will take time to find your retirement groove.

Retirement can be lonely

No matter how well you prepare there will be moments when you feel alone. I think this is typical at any stage in life but maybe felt a bit more acutely once you retire. Prior to retirement should you find you feel alone you need only wait until Monday to return to the comradery of co-workers. Not so once you retire.

To varying degrees we are all social creatures. While for the most part I happily savor silent moments by myself my wife appreciates more interaction with others. Even I realize without engaging I get a little slow. The old brain loses its resilience. After a few years into retired life I found I needed something more, something stimulating to fire up my routine.

For both of us a part time job fit the bill. The missus keeps active working at a local law firm while I spend three days a week pouring wine. Both of us get the interaction we need and have far better stories to share at the end of the day.

A part time job works for us but may not be your thing. Whatever your remedy retirement is more fun when you share moments with others. There are clubs, volunteer opportunities, mutual interest groups, and neighbors. My wife has a group of friends that regularly get together to hike nearby parks. Keeping active helps avoid boredom. Having someone to share with – ups as well as downs – is rewarding and just plain healthy.

It’s up to you to fashion a unique retirement

We are different people with diverse wants and needs. Each possesses a unique blueprint for what makes us truly happy. In retirement we begin building a foundation for that life best fitted to our individual passions.

What will your retirement look like?

You might discover useful tidbits from current retirees happy to share specifics of their own journey. It helps to know where they experienced challenges – perhaps you can avoid repeating the same. Understanding what works for them might give insight into similar avenues for you.

Plenty of retirement information is available via numerous books and blogs and magazines. Typically you will find useful nuggets of insight to assist in your journey.

But I have found no one else’s retirement is a perfect prescription for me. Decisions of how I want to live, what I want to do, how I want to do it are all uniquely mine. I entered retirement with certain preconceived notions of what to expect. Many proved far from reality. But that is okay.

It is in the ability to adapt and adjust that my retirement has evolved and improved. Today I am at the point where my days are occupied doing things I like. I am no longer driven by a need to succeed but instead just enjoy the moments. My wife and I share common interests but also have our own and we allow each other the freedom to pursue those individual diversions. I look forward to each day free from stress and happy to be alive.

For me that happiness is what a successful retirement is all about. I expect things will continue to evolve as the years add on and my tastes and interests change. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I am curious and optimistic.

Happy retirement!

5 Hacks for Finding Free Things Online

Written by Jessica Peters

We all like to find a freebie when scouring the web. Whether it’s books, gadgets, or coupons, there are tons of free things that you can find once you know where to look. The possibilities are endless, so here are five hacks for finding free things online.

Check Online Community Marketplaces

There are all sorts of online community marketplaces that you can sign up to in order to score yourself a freebie. Whether it’s Craigslist or a Facebook group, these are great resources to use where you can find a plethora of free goods. There are many people who advertise items they want to give away such as appliances, furniture, and toys. While you may have to surf through lots of junk at first, you are bound to find something that will catch your eye. You can also make a list of websites that aggregate free offers.

Sign Up to a Loyalty Program

Many companies provide reward programs for their customers which you can use to your advantage. When you’re looking at a business’s website, be sure to check whether they have a loyalty program available. Many retailers have special perks for their members such as free food, gift cards, movie tickets and more. You may need to sign up to their email newsletter, which can notify you when there is a freebie to be had!

Take Online Surveys

If you have some spare time and are looking for some quick cash, why not take an online survey? Answering questions on websites such as Global Test Market and Swagbucks can provide you with gift cards, money, as well as sweepstakes entries. While taking surveys is straightforward, they can be incredibly time-consuming, and the payout may not be the best, however, the more you do it, the more likely you are to score some fantastic freebies.

Download an App for Freebies

If you have a smartphone, you may not realize just how many rewards and cash-back apps there are available. If you like the idea of being hooked up with some free stuff, be sure to download apps like Shopkick where you can earn points for viewing products online. Once you’ve got enough points, these can be exchanged for gift cards which you can use in plenty of stores such as Starbucks and Target.

Sign Up for a Free Trial

While subscription boxes may be all the rage right now, they can be incredibly expensive. However, if you’re looking to score a freebie, you may benefit from signing up for a free trial. Whether it be free music streaming, meals, snacks, audiobooks and more, many businesses are competing with one another in order to lure customers in, so be sure to take advantage of any free things they have on offer! Streaming services such as Netflix give customers a free one-month trial, however, make sure to mark your calendar so you know when the free trial ends, otherwise, be faced with a surprise charge! Spending some time scouring the internet for free trials may be time-consuming, however, if you know what you’re doing, you should be able to reap up the rewards.

Whether it be taking an online survey, signing up for a free trial, or scouring online community marketplaces to take advantage of free goods and services, there are plenty of things that you can get online for free. However, bear in mind that in order to find the best freebies, you will need to look in all the right places, so as long as you have the motivation and patience, you should scoop up some fantastic freebies.

Getting Ready to Retire – How to Ensure You Will Have Enough Money to Make it Happen and Live Comfortably

Written by Veselina Dzhingarova

Retirement is something that many people look forward to, work hard for, and count down the days until it becomes a reality. No longer having to work, spending your days doing whatever it is you feel like doing, and just basically enjoying your time is a goal that many people share. Of course, a happy and financially sound retirement doesn’t just happen by chance. Instead, it takes plenty of advanced planning, saving, and preparing.

So, as you grow closer to your retirement date, how can you ensure that you’ll have enough money to retire on time and live comfortably? Here we’ll take a look at some tips and advice that can help answer these questions.

Speak to a Retirement Planning Professional

One of the best pieces of advice for soon-to-be retired individuals is to make an appointment to speak to a retirement planning professional. Even if you think you are fully prepared, organized, and ready to retire from a financial standpoint, it’s still wise to touch base with a professional that can look over your savings and provide you with a detailed plan.

Berger Financial Group, a Minneapolis retirement planning group, stresses that a solid financial plan will ensure the savings you have amassed will stretch the distance. You want to be sure that you understand how much money will be available to you, and the best ways to stretch it and make it last.

Consider Downsizing

As you approach your retirement date you may also want to think about downsizing your lifestyle in general. If you own a home, now is the time to ask yourself if that much space and land is needed. It could be that downsizing is a better plan both financially and from a maintenance standpoint. If you plan on doing a lot of travel during your retirement years, owning a small condo with no exterior maintenance could make more sense.

Downsizing also means you can find something cheaper, which means more money goes into your retirement savings.

Create a Brand New Budget

It’s also wise to create a brand new retirement budget. This takes into account all your expenses and how much money you will have coming in once you are no longer working. It may be that you need to cut back on some expenses in order to make the budget more manageable. Knowing this information in advance will prevent you from over-spending.

Take a Look at Your Investment Portfolio

If you have any investments, now is the time to take a look at those too. You don’t have to stop investing just because you are retired. It may just be that you want to change things up and diversify where you are investing your money.

Setting Yourself Up for a Happy Retirement

By following these steps, you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy and comfortable retirement, allowing you to have the break you deserve.