Ingredients of a Happy Retirement

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The retirement we ultimately decide to live is personal. Within the parameters of our individual financial situation and current health status, how we choose to live is up to us. We manage our days. We fill the calendar. We are in control.

Retirement affords the unique opportunity to become the person you want rather than the person you are supposed to be. The trick is to figure out who that is as soon as possible. As Zane Grey said, “we’re burning daylight.”

Everyone has advice to give. Friends generously share specifics of their retired life, perhaps bragging a bit, maybe complaining a tad. Books enumerate the good and bad pointing out pitfalls and pinnacles you are likely to encounter. Retirement bloggers share their journey as they learn to navigate their individual retirement jungle. Each source sheds some light on what it means to live retired 24 hours a day seven days a week. Yet none of these sample cases is necessarily how YOU will live your retirement. Your path to retirement is yours to blaze.

When it comes to the manufacturing the perfect retirement I don’t believe there is a generic one-size-fits-all recipe. We are different people. Our interests are all over the map. What excites you may bore the pants off me and visa versa. Each of us is responsible to find our respective way. How we get there is not always easy to predict. Plan on taking some missteps along the way but keep going.

And who wants a “perfect retirement” anyway? Perfect anything requires an attention to detail that has no place in the free flying life we can experience as retirees. It sounds like unnecessary stress if you ask me. I prefer to view retirement as a work-in-progress, a continually changing experience where we weed out what we don’t enjoy and add in what we love. What works one day may not another – that’s perfectly fine. It should be about making the most of each day. And the awesome reality of retirement is you get to decide exactly what that “most” consists of.

Retirement is an evolution. The person we are five years down the line is not the same person we were at the beginning. We learn, adapt, try a little of this, experiment with a little of that, and slowly learn how to make the most of our second act. That intensity and drive that was part of the working me has morphed into a more mellow go-with-the-flow retired me. I think my wife appreciates the change. I know my heart doctor does!

I write this blog from a little two-seater rocking chair, looking out my front door at my recently pruned roses whose healthy shiny leaves are beginning to return for a new season. A wind chime softly tones while a single bird twitters in the tree perhaps chiding the barking dog down the way. After weeks of rain – a rare occurrence in the Valley – the sun is out, the temperature is warm, and the sky is blue. Does it get any better?

Earlier today my wife and I went to Trader Joes – we love that place. We wander the isles finding intriguing new offerings along with our basics like fruit, veggies, bread, nuts, etc. My latest discovery is the Herb Popcorn – talk about addicting. From there I drove a few miles down the road to take a 90 minute walk along the shoreline. The California coast is definitely my sweet spot. Combine one part majestic coastlines strewn with craggy rocks, add a dose of booming waves breaking mercilessly on said rocks, throw in a pinch of riotously blooming cacti, and last but not least include the possibility of spotting a breeching whale lingering on horizon – that is my recipe for inspiration. When at the ocean it feels life just makes sense. One of my favorite quotes: ”the voice of the sea speaks to the soul.”

I think living a happy retirement comes down to figuring out what you most enjoy and then doing it. Sure there are days when you don’t feel 100 percent – that is part of the program. But when you do feel good make the most of it. Don’t worry about what you used to be able to do – do what you can. Be forever curious – the world is amazing in so many unique ways. Take a chance and venture outside your comfort zone. Remember you are not obligated to do anything. If a new direction turns out not to be what you expected, abandon ship! Move on to the next adventure, the next hobby, the next challenge, and the next reason for living.

Living a happy retirement life is something we all hope to experience. Good luck on your journey.

Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Retirement Financial Advisor

Written by John Moran

Retirement is the most significant financial transition in life. It is vital that your retirement financial advisor understands your needs and is able to make this transition with you. The following ten questions can help you understand the capabilities of a financial advisor when you start getting ready for retirement.

Q: Is your retirement advisor a true fiduciary?

There is no point paying for advice when it is not really in your best interests. True Fiduciary is legally bound to offer advice in the best interests of the client. You don’t want someone that offers advice for their benefit.

Q: Why do they work as a retirement financial advisor?

You don’t want to be with a professional that puts your interests first just because they are legally bound. You want someone that is honored to offer independent and unbiased advice.

Q: What is their fee?

There is only one rule of thumb when you are considering the fee – their services should surpass what you are paying. You should be able to get more by reducing your taxes, planning your estate, and building an appropriate asset allocation for retirement.

Q: Are they experienced?

Never choose a financial advisor with less than a decade or 10,000 hours experience. This is the amount of time required to truly develop expertise in a particular field.

Q: Are there any legal or regulatory issues?

It makes sense to verify that your financial advisor does not have any license, legal or regulatory issue. You are getting ready for retirement and you need to make sure that everything checks out.

Q: Is there a third party custodian involved?

While you want the firm to manage your investments, you certainly don’t want to take the risk of letting them hold it as well. The best financial firms like Fidelity use a third-party custodian to hold investments.

Q: Are retirement portfolios treated the same way as others?

It only makes sense that someone who is 70 and living off their investments requires a different strategy than someone at the peak of their career.

Q: Will they help you create an income strategy? Income strategy is vital to a comfortable retirement plan. You need a sound income strategy if you want to live comfortably after retirement. You need a financial advisor that is well-versed in developing diverse retirement portfolios and can help you sustain with a lifetime income.

Q: Is comprehensive financial planning offered?

Comprehensive financial planning is important at every step of your career and retirement. A sound retirement planner will be able to see the entire financial picture and make recommendations and adjustments in areas like asset preservation, taxes, cash flow, insurance planning, and income strategy.

Q: What are the biggest risks in retirement?

Steer clear of financial advisors who claim there are no risks or that they eliminate all types of risks. This is an ignorant, deceptive, and arrogant response. It’s crucial that your financial advisor is true, honest, and straight to your face. If there are potential risks with an investment, those should be clearly listed out.



Smart Ideas to Practice Before Retiring

Written by Becky Wilcox

A happy and fulfilling retirement defines different things to different people. Some think that retiring means spending more time with your family, making several visits to the golf club, perhaps catching up on most of the things you have been missing out. Here are some of the steps that will help you prepare for retirement.

Evaluate Your Health

Schedule your check-ups and take preventive exams as soon as possible. To get the most out of stepping down from your job, you need to be healthy. A few visits and medical attention from a doctor will benefit you. Engage yourself in improving and maintaining your health condition before you retire to have an easy time after retirement. Push yourself to consume healthy foods, get more sleep, and stay intellectually sharp with mind games, such as puzzles and books.

Begin Saving Early

You need to create a budget that will benefit you after retiring. Begin by tracking your monthly income, perhaps earlier, and that will help you figure out how much money you need for your retirement. For example, people that purchase heavy duty barn door hardware understand the importance and work on saving money to buy this type of door or other purchases for the home. On the other hand, saving money for your kids or saving money in a retirement saving plan to help you start a business is advisable. Besides, by the time you are almost retiring, you will not panic about running out of time.

Connect Through Social Media Platforms

Improve your social life by building a more and maintained network platform even after retirement to showcase your talents. You are allowed to display your abilities before retiring, to attract the attention of those that can help you achieve your retirement dreams. Create a networking plan by spending a few hours on Facebook or Twitter, connect and converse with different people on LinkedIn, and share your skills to help grow your network.

Find Out More About Your Retirement Type

Some people find it hard to visualize that retirement is almost near. It is advisable for you to dig more into your retirement category. For example, the benefits that come after you officially retire. A little understanding will help you find out if your retirement type is an involved spectator, a comfortable glider, or a continuer. Additionally, before you fully retire, research on when to start collecting your social security benefit to enjoy financial freedom.

Reduce Your Expenses

After retirement, if you were covered by your company, it is a matter of time before they take you off the record. To include unnecessary expenses, it is essential you save up enough cash and set up a sinking fund. A sinking fund will help you set aside money for future expenses such as taxes, holiday gifts, car repairs, and other irregular costs that need cash rather than credit.

Depending on where you live and your current situation, it is essential to save money to help you after retiring.

Prepare for the Unforeseen

For those that have no plans after retirement, they step out expecting the worst. However, if you prepare for the unexpected, you will not get caught off guard. It would help if you took the time to plan and organize how you will pay for your expenses or how you will respond to small matters such as leaking taps. Share the significant problems with the people close to you like your family and friends. Check to see how much it will cost you to make substantial and small repairs. Plan for your retirement while expecting the worst.

Stick to Your Plan After Retiring

Sticking to your plan is the most challenging step in getting ready for retirement; however, it is gratifying to stick to your projects. It is okay for you to have the urge to change and trying out new courses, but it is essential to consider your future and follow the steps to the letter. With the help of fast-growing technology, several online communities hold a wealth of information, ideas, and different tips that are a source of comfort and strength. You can join and become a part of this community and share photos and create a blog that will help other people retire successfully.

7 Technologies To Help Seniors Avoid Isolation

Written by Trisha Felgar

Humans are social animals. Our social bonds with family, friends, colleagues and community allow us to thrive and prosper. However, as we age, many of us find ourselves alone and isolated, making us vulnerable to negative health outcomes.

Isolation typically happens over time due to the death of a spouse, separation from family, retirement, poor transportation or a lack of mobility. We find ourselves alone, with significant barriers preventing us from interfacing with others.

As a result, isolation often inhibits seniors from receiving the support they need to live healthier lifestyles and from identifying and treating health issues before they become significant. Perhaps that’s why we see higher rates of mortality, depression, high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, heart disease, obesity, arthritis and cognitive decline in people suffering from isolation.

Fortunately, many new technologies have emerged that can help seniors stay connected and get the support they need despite the very real social, physical and geographic barriers impeding their interaction with others.

1. Communication

Whether it’s a phone call or a voice chat on Skype, Facetime, Google Duo or Snapchat, new communication technologies make it easier and cheaper to stay in touch with family and friends no matter how far apart. Visual calls are especially helpful because they can help family members see any changes in their loved one’s physical appearance, moods or mannerisms that may warrant further investigation.

2. Digital Voice Assistants

Digital voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri, are revolutionizing communication for seniors with vision impairment, cognitive decline and arthritis. By voice command alone, without the need to press a small button or remember a phone number, users can simply instruct Alexa to “call my daughter”, “call Doctor Smith” or “call a taxi”.

Digital voice assistants can also be used to schedule appointments, reminders, summon an Uber driver or make a grocery, pharmacy or Amazon shopping order for delivery – perfect for those with mobility or transportation issues.

3. Medical Alert Systems

A monitored medical alert system with fall detection and GPS can provide a significant level of comfort and confidence for seniors living alone, allowing them to remain independent and active while still feeling protected 24X7, no matter where they are. Some medical alert companies also offer caregiving features like daily check-ins, activity monitoring and live GPS tracking, establishing further connections outside the home.

4. Telehealth

For seniors isolated due to mobility or transportation issues, telehealth is quickly emerging as an efficient alternative to in-person medical consultations. Using simple video chat and/or remote monitoring technologies, doctors can talk to patients more frequently, review test results, fill or re-fill prescriptions, monitor vitals like heart rate, blood, pressure, blood oxygen levels and blood sugar levels all while avoiding the difficulty and expense of unnecessary medical appointments.

5. Medication Management

For seniors with complicated medication regimens, taking the right medications, at the right time, in the right dose can be a monumental challenge. Whether through pill organizers, medication reminders, or monitored medication dispensers helping isolated seniors manage their medications can be a significant health benefit. Some medication dispensers can even let caregivers know when a dose was missed and when a medication prescription needs to be refilled.

6. Digital Games

Seniors can get in on the online gaming revolution as well. Whether playing chess, checkers, backgammon, Scrabble, Mahjong, Canasta or cards online, distance is no longer a barrier to sharing a great game with friends and family. With live chat and video, the experience can be truly social.

7. Robotoics

Artificial Intelligence Robots like Elliq take digital voice assistants to the next level. They keep seniors company by learning their likes and dislikes, habits and emotional needs. With that knowledge their scheduling video chats with family and friends, curating their favorite music, playing stimulating games, sharing photos, scheduling reminders and events and so much more.

Conclusion

While some seniors may be separated from family, have mobility issues or lack transportation, no longer do they have to remain isolated from the outside world. There are more opportunities than ever to live a life of purpose and meaning, to maintain deep connections with friends and family, than ever before.

Technology now allows us to blow out birthday candles and read nightly bed time stories to our grandchildren over video chat, facetime our doctor, schedule delivery for our weekly grocery order, play Scrabble with our friends from coast to coast, and offer protection in the event we fall and no one’s around. Technology now allows us to live alone, without being left alone.