Investing and Spending – Enjoying Your Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

Retirement and the associated saving is a source of anxiety for many people. You spend an entire lifetime working and trying to take the stress out of retirement funding; so, where’s the fun in continuing to stress and worry once you’re actually there? Of course, it’s never actually as simple as stopping your worry.

This article will shed some light on the best ways to build and manage your retirement fund to reduce your anxiety over saving to the absolute minimum level. Then, keep reading to see some of the best ways to spend your money to really enjoy the years of job-free freedom – without breaking the bank – and whilst also keeping yourself healthy.

Preparing – How To

The United States has basic retirement benefits available for those once they reach the prerequisite age. These reach up to around $15,000 and provide a basic income to those in need. However, the federal government recommends you aim for 80% of your income in retirement. So, if you’re someone who earns $100k a year, you’ll need $80k to continue our quality of life. How do you achieve that?

Unlike some other countries in Europe, the USA has no mandate of employers to provide pensions. This leads many employers to offer up-front salary improvements and bonuses in place of pension contributions – which is a good or a bad thing, depending on your self-control. The AAA Credit Guide ( suggests vehicles such as the Roth IRA provide a far superior saving environment – and one you control – as opposed to many company led pension schemes.

The big benefit of the Roth IRA is that it takes away future tax burden and obligations, which can give relief when you’ve reached retirement age. You can super-charge your pension by taking out personal investment plans in addition to the IRA, or running one alongside an employer-sponsored 401K.

Enjoying Yourself

Once you hit retirement and have access to your fund, either as a lump sum or as a dividend-style trust arrangement, it falls on you to moderate it properly. This is where some stumble finding themselves unable to exercise the correct level of self-control when adapting to 100% free time from a 9-5 job or similar. For this purpose, consider employing the dynamic spending and saving strategy to keep a firm grip on your economic situation.

With that in mind, you might be thinking – what can I enjoy? What hobbies exist that will bring enrichment and stimulation whilst remaining relatively frugal?

Model Construction

Airfix planes and LEGO style buildings may seem to be things of your childhood. However, the companies touting these products are actually targeting and directed towards generations above just ‘kids’. In fact, LEGO attribute some success to ‘mature’ sets following the downward trend of their brand. These sets aren’t bank-breaking and the customization can offer years of enjoyment for minimal outlay. Models and airfix-style can even benefit your health. The tasks are often relaxing, stimulating your mind and demanding concentration. They can also help with motor skills, which can fall by the wayside in retirement.


Geocaching is a very 21st century hobby that involves little more than a set of maps and any rudimentary GPS device. People all over the world have spent time to hide trinkets and treasure around their countries, posting treasure maps online to lead fellow community members on an entertaining trail. Many contributors specifically pick picturesque trails or tricky clues and navigation methods, and encourage the treasure hunters to detail their journeys and share them online.

These digital treasure hunts mean that you can get involved with a community and make new friends online. Furthermore, you’ll probably earn a good bit of exercise getting to the remote places and if you have a camera in hand – likely as geocaching can be done with your phone – get some spectacular shots of nature.

Martial Arts

Finally there is martial arts. Martial arts is often free, if not subject to small donations to your chosen place of practice. They are again a great way to get out and about, and don’t require a huge level of physical fitness. Martial arts are typically about turning force against itself – acting as a pivot against the strength of other people. Getting involved is a great way to stay healthy physically, and most disciplines have an edge of mental well being too, integrating their rigorous martial arts mentality with strengths plucked from eastern spiritualism.

The financial planning aspect of retirement can be time consuming – even boring. However, the options are there for you to make a success of yourself. And once you retire, there are many inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself and build skills whilst maintaining your health, leaving your hard-earned career cash for the rainy days and big trips ahead.

The 4 Friends Everyone Needs For A Happy Retirement 

Written by Sally Perkins

Retiring is more than just finding things to do with your time and having enough money to live well. A happy retirement also depends on who you’re spending that precious time with. Research has found that friends tend to matter more than family members when it comes to good health. A study from the University of Michigan asked 271,053 participants about happiness, health, and relationships, and found that while relationships with family members had a fixed effect on health, valued friendships improved people’s functioning and well-being as they got older. Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of going separate ways from your friends as life takes you in different directions, it’s important to maintain friendships during retirement.

Here are five friends everyone should have for a happier, healthier retirement.

The Childhood Friend

Research by the Psychology Bulletin found that friendship networks reach a high in one’s twenties, but these social circles get smaller with age. If you’re lucky enough to still have friends from childhood and early adulthood, you should hold onto them dearly. These friends can help to keep you youthful with the memories you’ve created over the years. They also know you more than other types of friends, which means they make great confidantes and company on lonely days. Research from the University of California, San Francisco, tracked 1,600 people around the age of 71 and found that lonely people experienced difficulties with daily activities, while they also had higher levels of mortality. Scarily, almost 23 percent of them died within six years, compared with the 14 percent who weren’t lonely. Reach out to your old friends – it’ll save your life!

The Hobby Friend

Having a friend who loves to try new things and has lots of hobbies could be very good for you by increasing your interests. Studies have found that when people in retirement had three or four hobbies, they were happier than people with fewer hobbies. The hobbies that increased people’s happiness included volunteering, golf, and travel. This is because hobbies that encourage social interaction are better for people than hobbies that can be pursued alone, such as reading. Being social and learning new things is great to maintain brain health as you get older. Another study found that being highly social reduces your dementia risk by 70 percent! So go on and call up your friend who loves to play a round of golf or holiday in Hawaii.

The Financially Savvy Friend

Everyone has a friend who knows all the latest business and finance trends. This friend might be older than you with lots of life experience. He/she is especially valuable to you they’ve been retired for a while as they can help you make the transition into retirement much smoother. They’ll be clued up on things like protecting your family’s future. This might not seem important in the early days of your retirement happiness, but it is. By having someone who’s gained experience when it comes to the financial aspects of retirement, you’ll experience less stress.

A study by the University of Michigan monitored elderly people for nine years to find out what they worried about. It was found that the frequency and intensity of their worries increased dramatically for all of them over nine years. Common worries for the elderly included the health of, and difficulties related to, family members. The reason for the increase in worry, the study found, was linked to the seniors feeling they had less control in life. By ensuring your financial portfolio and insurance are sorted out, you can decrease worries related to the financial well-being of your family, which puts you in greater control of your life.

In another study by Cornell University, when researchers asked 1,200 elders what their biggest life regrets are, many said they wished they had spent less time worrying. By taking action on the things you worry about, such as money and insurance, with the help of your financially savvy friend, you can spend less time worrying and more time living!

The Worker Bee Friend

Ideally, you don’t want to feel the pressure to continue working into your retirement to make ends meet. That can be very stressful. However, with lots more time on your hands, it might be a good idea to pursue the types of jobs that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. That’s why a friend who’s continuing to work in odd jobs that make her happy is a great inspiration to you. Not only will you be inspired to stay busy but you’ll be making wonderful use of the gift of spare time given to you. Choose something that you’re really passionate about. The money you earn from it is just a bonus. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that when people in retirement had temporary or part-time jobs, they experienced fewer major diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, when compared to people who completely stopped working when they retired.

There are many benefits to having friends such as the above when you retire. They’ll keep you young, support you, keep you active and remind you to chase your passions, proving that retirement is the perfect new beginning to start living life your way!

Dealing With the Unexpected in Retirement

Life is full of surprises – some good and others not so. Whatever fate has in store each of us must find a way to deal with what comes our way. We play the cards we are dealt, learning as we go, hopefully not too often repeating the same mistakes. Our education might be straight forward seasoned with a healthy dose of common sense. Or we might need to call upon a certain inner strength to guide us safely through troubled waters.

Some surprises are less-than earth shattering in significance. They present themselves as mere pains in the butt, distractions along an otherwise pretty smooth road. We expect to have to deal with many situations in life. But what about those unexpected out-of-the-blue experiences we don’t see coming?

Did you know that your passport expiration date must be at least 90 days beyond the date of your scheduled return from a trip? I learned this recently while in line at San Francisco International airport. With luggage in tow my wife and I were blissfully expecting to depart a few hours hence on a month long escape to Switzerland. It was not to be. “You can’t travel on this passport.” I was informed I had no alternative but to go to the local federal passport building to apply for a same day passport. As luck had it the next day was Labor Day a wonderful holiday that happens to shut down all government agencies. Another day lost.

We could have bemoaned our situation but instead made the best of the cards we had been dealt. We were in San Francisco, a spot travelers from around the world hungrily journey to. So we found a last minute deal online and booked a hotel for two nights. We then proceeded to walk the town journeying to beautiful Noe Valley, touring ostentatious and glitzy Nob Hill, exploring the latest pizza hot spot in SOMA, and just kicking it in The City. Our experience at the federal building went unexpectedly smoothly and we were soon on our way arriving in Zurich a few days late but safely and with my brand new 10-year passport in hand.

No matter what age navigating the unexpected can be challenging. And nothing gets easier as you get older.

What would you do if in your early fifties you suddenly found yourself out of a job – right sized out or phased out or just plain laid off? It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact a lifetime spent building and honing your skills is suddenly deemed worthless. With companies laser focused on cutting costs regardless of the impact on lives this undesirable situation is a stark reality for many. And your options are not always many. Some are forced to move into a lower status (and paying) role to make ends meet. Others find themselves pushed into some kind of early retirement, underfunded and unexpected with an uncertain future.

Recent weather extremes have rattled many a cage. From the epic flooding in Texas to the path of destruction left by hurricane Irma to fires that rage once again across California, many are learning to expect the unexpected from Mother Nature. How do you cope with the total destruction of your home? What words of consolation are there for the frustration felt having to recover from the ravages of forces beyond your control?

How we deal with unexpected events can pave the road to our future happiness or lack thereof. No one can wave a magic wand and make everything better. But we can try to make the best of a bad situation. Life events can feel overwhelming but maybe less so if we try to actively do something about it. And nowhere is it more important to take an active role than in the case of planning for retirement.

How can we make our individual challenge less so? What is within our individual power to impact our situation? We don’t have to do it all on our own. Family and friends are there to lean on and provide support. Getting through unexpected times calls for us to utilize all of our tools, our contacts, our networks and whatever else might help.

Not all unexpected events are negative. More easily dealt with are joyous announcements of pending weddings or births. Far less intimidating are ecstatic calls received when kids describing the new “perfect job” they just landed. Uplifting are those times when your tomato crop exceeds your wildest expectations. There are plenty of good unexpected surprises in life.

We can expect the unexpected to be a mix of positive moments as well as challenges. Hopefully the scale tips in our favor. How we handle these ups and downs will define the person we are and the quality of the retired life we live. Good luck to us all. And while you have a moment why not double check the expiration of that passport of yours. No need to unnecessarily add stress to your next airport encounter.