Ingredients of a Happy Retirement

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.

Choosing The Right Car In Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

Today’s retired Americans – ‘Baby Boomers’ – own 70% of the country’s disposable income, making them the most likely to be able to spend out on expensive holidays or valuable assets. One asset retirees may want to invest in is a car. This may be particularly relevant to those who want to make the most of various road trips. Or it might just be that certain retired people want to update their car as a way of celebrating such a significant milestone. Whatever the reason, it is important to weigh up a number of key considerations before deciding what type of vehicle to go for. 

Consider the purpose of your motor

The most suitable car for you will depend on the size and style of vehicle you need. This, in turn, will depend on what you will be using the car for the majority of the time. If, for example, you are likely to be using your car most days, or have family you’ll often be giving lifts to, you may find a larger automobile the most appropriate. With 80-97% of American vehicles projected to be SUVs or trucks by 2022, this would be a popular choice. On the other hand, if you are only likely to be using your car occasionally, or for short journeys, a smaller car that is probably cheaper to run may be the best option for you. It is also worth considering how long you want the car to last. Are you, for instance, looking for something that will last for a considerable number of years, or are you likely to want to update the car again in a few years’ time? These factors will influence how much you should be looking to spend and whether you should for a used car or something new.

Don’t forget about maintenance costs

It goes without saying that the upfront cost of a car is just the beginning; the maintenance of the car is where the real costs start to quickly add up. This can be particularly true in the case of used cars, when the risk of problems arising is higher than with new cars. Drivers will often be covered by a three year warranty when buying a new car; used cars don’t come with this benefit, making them more of a risk in that sense. With maintenance costs for new cars (including tire changes) hitting an average of $99 per year, it is imperative you get an up-to-date history of any car you are interested in buying. Whether you opt for a new or used car, large or small, be sure to research thoroughly any aspects that are known to be problematic and pricey to maintain. This can help you gain clarity and lessen the chance of you having unexpected costs early on.

Prioritize the safety features of a car

Of prime importance when it comes to purchasing a car is safety. Strict safety regulations for new cars, along with the focus on safety features in the design of modern cars, mean that new cars are likely to be a safer option than older models. The emergence of features such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Detection and lane assist helps keep drivers and pedestrians safer on the roads, whilst also helping to keep you more relaxed and confident behind the wheel. This might be particularly appealing for older drivers who tire more easily, particularly when it comes to lane assist, which recognizes when the car is veering out of a lane and immediately guides the steering wheel back into the correct lane.

Consider leasing a car

One option to consider when it comes to updating your car is to lease one, rather than buying it. This is increasingly popular among drivers, with over 30% of new cars leased in America in the second quarter of 2018. Leasing involves paying a monthly cost for a car and offers you the benefit of driving a brand new car for a given number of years. Whilst you wouldn’t actually own the car, leasing has the advantage of providing you with a reliable vehicle under a manufacturer’s guarantee at a cost far lower than the depreciation of the vehicle. The downside of leasing is that you do not end up owning the car and you must have the car for a fixed term. It is also extremely costly to end the contract early.  

The takeaway: take your time to decide

If you are retiring and fancy treating yourself to a car, then you no doubt deserve it. However, purchasing a car is an important decision that obviously involves parting with a lot of money. For this reason, be sure to think carefully about your circumstances and the types of vehicles that will best accommodate your needs. Safety and affordability are key, so make sure you do your homework on the sums involved and the safety record of any model you are interested in. Think carefully about whether to buy a new or used car, or whether to lease. Finally, test drive any car you are considering, preferably at different times of day and with at least one passenger on board. This will give you a sense of what driving the car is like in different conditions, whilst also enabling you to receive honest feedback from others on their experience in the car.

Investment Options for Retirees

Written by Veselina Dzhingarova 

As you get older, you may want to establish some financial security for you and your family, and you may start to consider the different investment options that are available to you. Entering your retirement period means you will no longer be earning a wage each month and instead you will be on a fixed income.

Many retirees aim to supplement their pensions as well as providing some financial security for their loved ones. This is where investments come in. By investing some money, retirees can create a form of income while also offering a sense of security and peace of mind. However, it can be difficult to know where to invest your money, so here are some of the most popular investment options for retirees and some of the positives and negatives of each.

Rental Properties

Investing in the housing market is a very popular investment for people of all ages. Renting out properties is a safe investment as people always need a place to live, so injecting some money into a decent house to rent out is a logical choice. If you have the money or credit to buy a house, then having tenants to rent it out to will help you pay for it. Not only could investing your money in rental properties give your monthly income a boost, it can also be a great long-term investment as you will one day own the house outright for you or your family to enjoy.

However, there are some negatives about investing money into rental accommodation. It may not be an option available to you if you don’t have the initial funds to buy into a property. Additionally, being a landlord can sometimes be a difficult job if you get non-paying or troublesome tenants. If you are looking for an easy investment option that will require little involvement, then rental properties may not be the best option for you.

Trading

Trading on the stock market is one of the more popular investment options amongst retirees as you can get involved from the comfort of your own home. Platforms such as easyMarkets are offering easy to navigate and accessible platforms that are equipped with the instruments needed to make a success of trading investments.

Traditionally investment trading was considered to only be an option for those with considerable amounts of money to invest, but easyMarkets helps you to invest no matter what your financial circumstance.

Insurance

This may seem like a less obvious form of investment, but by taking out an insurance plan, you are making long term plans for your loved ones. Most insurance policies have different payment options so that it is affordable no matter what your current income, and there will be a considerable payout at the end of the insurance plan.

Interest Bank Accounts

A simpler investment option could be to open an interest-bearing account. This is a more popular option among retirees with savings as you could make money from the interest collected as your money sits in the account.

With these types of bank accounts, you are not risking any of your money and will gain any interest that it creates. However, for this option to be financially worthwhile, it would require a considerable deposit for much interest to be made.

If you do think this investment option would be good for you, then be sure to research some of the best offers at your local bank and shop around for the best interest rates. Deciding where to invest your money is a big decision, but if you research your options carefully and don’t make any impulsive choices, then you can make profitable investments during your retirement.