Retired and Happy

Written by Becky Wilcox

You have waited years for this day to come. All your affairs are in order. The kids are grown, and they are pursuing their dreams. You have a 401k, retirement package, and social security. The hard work has paid off. As you walk into the sunset, you are wondering what’s on the horizon?

As you contemplate the future, you think of some things you have wanted to do for some time. You have decided that you are going to invite over some close friends and celebrate your retirement. It doesn’t have to be too large of a gathering. You could serve some cocktails and mocktails made with delicious Monin Flavors, such as Monin Lavender, Monin Desert Pear, or Monin Blackberry. Maybe serve them with some finger foods. That would be simple yet fun.

So what does the future have in store for you? The phone comes out of your pocket. A text editor is opened, and you begin to write the ten best activities after retirement.

Traveling

The world is a big and beautiful place. You dreamed about romantic nights in Paris. You craved the cuisines of Italy. England has the historical sites you want to see. A safari in Africa would be exciting. The Pyramids of Egypt could wake up your soul. Carnivals in the Caribbean can bring joy and memories for years to come.

Gardening

This is one of the most relaxing and fulfilling activities to perform. It’s time to get your hands dirty with the life of the Earth. No more worrying about pesticides and GMO produce. Your mind will be at ease, and your plate will be bright and colorful.

Learn to Play an Instrument

Wouldn’t you like to play the guitar like Prince? You can impress all of your family and friends. The keyboard in your closet is tired of collecting dust. Beethoven is calling you from beyond. You can put on some John Coltrane, and you can play the saxophone along with him.

Start a Business

For some people, making money is what keeps them happy. Why should Bill Gates have all the cash? The restaurant you dreamed of owning can become a reality. That flower shop is just a storefront and rose petal away. The community is wondering when you’re going to build that indie movie theatre.

Help the Homeless

You are content with the money you’ve made over the years. There are people in your community who need your help. Giving to others brings you joy. It is time to make a change. A hot meal can be the difference between hope and despair. Providing the less fortunate with clothes, toiletries, food, and blankets can make happiness go up and crime go down.

Tackle Environmental Issues

Helping the environment is a passionate cause. From the ozone layer to the trash in the oceans, there is a lot of work to do. You can join a group that cleans the beaches. You can join a community that raises awareness about recycling. There is so much work that needs to be done. The Earth will surely appreciate your effort.

Learn to Draw

How cool would it be to put your mental pictures on paper? Drawing is a talent that most people wish they had. Your art can become so good that you will become immortalized. Drawing soothes the nerves. When you pick up that pencil, you will enter new dimensions.

Join a Sports Team

Why do the guys in the NBA, NFL, and MLB get to have all the fun? There are plenty of local teams you can join. After a game, you and your teammates can have a beer and share some war stories. Getting involved in sports is a fun way to stay in shape. If basketball, football, or baseball is too intense, you can enjoy golf, billiards, or bowling.

Learn to Cook

Good food equals good life. It’s time to put the frozen dinners to rest. You have all the time in the world now. Fire up the wok and put the vegetables and meats in the pan. Learn about the different spice blends. Take the time to bring your palate joy. When you are in conflict with others, you can resolve the issues with your new cooking skills.

Help the Youth in the Community

You already made it through the hard part of life. Why don’t you go out there and guide the lost ones trying to find the path? There are so many kids that need wisdom from positive people in the community. You never know; that kid you helped can grow up and be somebody.

Retirement is not the end of the world. This is the time to really enjoy your life. You know who you are and what you want. You have the resources to pursue your dream. Now, all you have to do is push it to the limit.

5 Tips for a Healthy & Happy Retirement

Written by Carol Trehearn

Retiring should be an exciting milestone in your life when you get to relax and enjoy the rewards of your hard work. You can also use your retirement to spend more time with your loved ones, pursue your passions, and learn new skills. Retirement should be a happy time in your life, but many older people feel lost during this stage. No longer working can have a big emotional impact and may leave you feeling bored or lonely. Fortunately, there are dozens of steps you can take to ensure that you feel confident and prepared for this exciting new chapter in your life. With that in mind, here are five tips for a healthy and happy retirement.

1. Make your health a priority

In a recent survey, a massive 80% of retirees chose health as the most important factor for a happy retirement. This means that health ranked higher than all other sources of retirement happiness, including financial security, social connections, and having a sense of purpose. Remaining in good health becomes even more important as you get older, as you will be more at risk of chronic health conditions. Maintaining good health is fundamental to a happy retirement, so your retirement plan should include sections on how to stay physically and mentally healthy. You can remain in good physical health in retirement by eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and getting the recommended amount of exercise. You can also improve your mental health by maintaining an active social life, challenging yourself, and gaining a sense of purpose and meaning. Make your health a priority in retirement and focus on ways to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health.

2. Gain a new sense of purpose

When you stop working for the first time, it is normal to feel a bit lost and unsure of what to do with all of your free time. Losing a sense of purpose can lead to feelings of depression in older adults. With that in mind, you must gain a new sense of purpose and meaning in your life after you retire. Think about what makes you want to get out of bed each morning and try to make each day meaningful. For instance, you could help take care of your grandchildren or volunteer for a local charity. Experts at seniormatter.com, suggest that retirees can find a sense of purpose by doing daily activities such as walking, yoga, or meditation. Find something that gives you a sense of purpose and invest in the things that will bring your happiness and joy in your retirement.

3. Create a productive routine

One of the benefits of retiring is that you will have greater freedom over your schedule and routine. You will no longer have to get up early each morning and travel to the office to start work at 9 am. Many retirees enjoy this flexibility, although not having a work routine can lead to boredom and restlessness. For that reason, it is a good idea to get into a productive routine and plan things like when you will get up in the mornings when you will eat meals, when you will do activities, and so on. Following a routine will give your life structure and help you become more productive with your time. You can find lots of articles offering advice on how to structure your day in retirement.

4. Plan for financial security

After health, financial security is the most important ingredient for a happy retirement. Failing to plan for your financial future can cause huge amounts of stress when you reach the age of retirement. Make sure that you think carefully about how much money you will need to ensure a comfortable retirement. This should include your basic living expenses such as accommodation and food, along with extra money to fund the lifestyle that you want. Financial experts recommend that you should save around 15% of your salary towards your retirement. However, this goal does also include contributions from your employer. It is always advisable to start planning your finances early to ensure that you have a secure and comfortable retirement. You should also factor future care costs into your financial retirement plan.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It is natural for seniors to want to be independent in their retirement, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if and when you need it. The majority of seniors begin to struggle with their daily routines as they get older. You might find it difficult to keep on top of your household chores or struggle to get out and run errands, for example. Luckily, there is a wide selection of support available to assist seniors and ensure that they have a safe and fulfilling retirement. If you are finding your daily activities more difficult, then ask a family member or friend if they can help out. Or you could hire a professional career to visit you at home and provide support when you need it. Another great option for retirees is to consider senior living options. According to https://frontiermgmt.com, a senior living community can offer both independent and assisted living, along with recreational activities and social events. Moving into a senior living facility will give you peace of mind knowing that you will be living in a secure and safe environment throughout your retirement.

Conclusion

Retirement gives you the flexibility and freedom to do what you want with your time and maximize the enjoyment that you get out of life. That said, the transition from work to retirement can be difficult, and many people struggle to find a sense of purpose and meaning when they stop working. You should pay close attention to your health and wellbeing and plan your retirement early to ensure that you are prepared for the next chapter in your life. Try some of the above suggestions to enjoy a healthy and happy retirement and get the most out of your golden years.

5 Simple Tips to Reduce Your Taxes and Stress in Retirement

Written by Valentina Wilson

A tax bite can eat up a big chunk of your retirement savings. If you are retired and live on a fixed income, you might want to hold on to your savings as much as you can. However, Uncle Sam is not eager to understand your sentiment. So, if you want to save money on your tax, then you have to apply some simple tips with care.

Tips to Reduce Your Tax Bill for Retirement

You might have painstakingly saved money in your various retirement savings plans throughout your life. But that’s not enough to save you from a big tax bite. You have to apply some smart tax planning tips to save your hard-earned dollars in retirement. Here are a few of them.

1. Relocate to a state where you can save money on tax

If you have never thought about relocating to another state, now is the best time to do it. There is a big reason behind that.

Apart from the federal government, you have to pay tax to the state government as well. Now, if you do not wish to pay tax to the state government, then you can move to a state that does not charge any tax at all.

Browse through the web world and find out the states that do not charge income taxes. South Dakota, Texas, Alaska, Nevada, and Florida are the few tax-free states. If you relocate to these states, then you can reduce your tax bill significantly.

Caution: Look at various factors other than the state tax rules. For example, check out the climatic conditions of the state. Alaska may not have any state tax, but it is quite expensive. The cost of living is high. Plus, it has an Arctic climate with long cold winters. There is snow almost the whole year. Can you survive in this extreme climate? You have to think about your health as well. That is more precious than money.

Some states, like Tennessee and New Hampshire, do not charge income tax. However, they charge tax on dividend income and interest. So, calculate how much you have to pay on tax. The good news is both states are planning to eradicate these taxes soon. Hence do not strike out their names from your list.

Based on your overall retirement income, you have to pay federal tax on your Social Security Income. So, that is the first tax bill you have to pay. But states like Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Connecticut, West Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Vermont impose a tax on Social Security benefits as well. Hence, you may want to avoid moving to these states. See also: 10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

2. Reduce your expenses to stay in a low tax bracket

If you want to pay the minimum tax, then you have to get into the lower tax brackets. What does that mean? Well, it essentially implies that you have to lead a frugal life and keep your expenses low every month.

How can a frugal life lead to a lower tax bracket? Well, when your expenses are at a minimum level, you will have to withdraw a small amount from your retirement savings accounts every year. This will help you stay in the lower tax bracket.

Leading a frugal life is not as difficult as it may seem after retirement. Health care expenses are costly. But there are various sectors where you can eventually save money. For example, you do not have to go to work now. So you can save money on transportation costs. Again, you can move to a smaller apartment and save money on the maintenance cost.

Develop a budget and find out the areas where you can save money. Change your spending habits so that you can live comfortably without making reckless expenses.

3. Explore tax-free investment options like municipal bonds:

Smart investments help to generate a stable income for retirees. Bonds are a lucrative investment option. They are not as volatile as stocks. So, the chances of incurring a loss are low. They pay you interest, which can be a source of additional income after retirement. But there is one thing that you need to keep in mind. You have to pay tax on the interest income. And if you do not want to pay tax, then you have to invest in municipal bonds.

The best part of municipal bonds is that you do not have to pay Federal taxes. Moreover, if you have bonds issued by your home state, then you can enjoy the entire interest income. There is no need to pay state and local taxes. You can use the money to build your emergency fund and cover your unforeseen expenses. Read also: How to get rich in retirement

4. Take Social Security benefits as late as possible:

Many people take social security benefits immediately after retirement. It is a wrong financial move if they have retirement income from various other sources. For example, real estate, pension, and annuity. An easy tip to lower your tax bill in retirement is to delay your filing for social security benefits. There is a big reason behind it. First, almost 85% of the social security benefit is taxable. So, the longer you delay taking your social security benefits, the more you can save on your tax. Plus, your benefit amount will increase by 8% every year. Hence, you are getting double the financial benefits.

5. Save money on Roth IRA retirement savings plans:

“I love the Roth IRA. Tax-free income in retirement is truly a great deal”. – Suze Orman

There are various types of retirement savings plans. Now you have to choose the one that suits you the best. If you want to avoid paying tax in retirement, then a smart tip is to opt for the Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA. The best part of the Roth IRA plan is that you do not have to pay tax at the time of withdrawing money after retirement. As you can understand, you have to apply this tip at the time of choosing your retirement savings plans. So, analyze the pros and cons of the different retirement savings plans and make a prudent decision.

If you have opted for the 401 k retirement savings plan before retirement, then there is also no need to panic. You can convert your 401(k) retirement plan to an IRA in your gap years (from your retirement age to 70½ years). So you can still get a chance to lower your tax bill.

Final notes

Nobody loves to pay tax. But it is unavoidable. While it is impossible to avoid paying tax altogether, seniors can at least reduce their tax bill and save money with the tips discussed in this article. Still, if you have any more doubts, you can always consult someone who has adequate knowledge on how to get retirement benefits for divorced spouses, how to lower the tax bill on retirement, and how to choose the retirement savings plan.

Author Bio: Valentina Wilson is a writer. She loves to analyze personal financial matters and help others manage their finances in a better way. Traveling is also her passion. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her blog. She believes that transparency and conversations about money are essential in gaining control of finances.. To connect with her, go to her LinkedIn or visit her blog bestdebtconsolidation.org