When to Start Planning for Retirement

If you hope to get it just right, it is never too early to start planning for your retirement. After all the saving it took to get here, you don’t want to overlook how you will actually spend your time in retirement. It is easier to deal with issues before you become a full-time retiree. That way if you discover any potential challenges to the retirement lifestyle you envision, you still have time to fix them.

On my website, I offer a free e-book called “Navigating the Retirement Jungle”. Often readers requesting a copy include a brief comment about where they are in regard to their own retirement. Typically they are at least in their fifties, in varying degrees of preparedness, and are beginning to think about their second act. If I have noticed any trend over the years it is how few people have done any in-depth planning for the retirement life they hope to live. A standard request will say something like, “I am a few years away from retiring and want to start planning,” or “I have just retired and can use your help navigating my retirement course.” It seems many people are hoping for the best and optimistically awaiting a future into which they have no real insight. And thoughts of planning, if any, are just now coming to their attention as they inch closer to retirement age.

How much time should we put into planning and preparing for the 20 or more years after we leave the workforce? And when should that planning begin?

When contemplating the right time to begin financial preparations for retirement, it is safe to say the sooner the better. It may be hard for a 25 year old to imagine the distant future when they will retire from the working world. They are caught up in living life now, and 65 seems very far away. But if they begin to foster the behaviors that will pay off in the long run, they can hope to find themselves ahead of the game. For example, setting aside 10 percent of earnings each month is a good habit to get into. Hopefully, if you do not see the money, you will not miss it. And that 10 percent saved consistently over the next 30 or 40 years has the opportunity to grow significantly. Regardless of what percentage you decide to save, the important thing is getting into the mindset of saving for the future as early as possible.

Along with saving and investing for retirement, it is equally important to plan for the non-financial aspects of retirement. While a 25 year old might have a difficult time imagining what life will look like at 65, those of us further along should certainly brainstorm some ideas. Imagine yourself freed from the daily struggle of making ends meet with time on your hands to do whatever you want. There will be no more deadlines, stressful meetings or workplace negotiations. When you envision yourself in retirement, what do you picture yourself doing?

Imagine how wonderful it could be to enter a retirement life where you know what you want to do and are excited about getting to it. Picture a life where not only can you choose to relax and do nothing, but where you also have an endless list of interesting things to do. With the right preparation you can hope for a life that is both engaging and relaxed, with more than enough hours in the day to get it all done. You are finally able to reward yourself with a quality lifestyle that you have earned and deserve. If you have taken time to visualize the years ahead and figure out how you can make the best use of the days and months at your disposal, you can hope to gracefully transition into retirement.

On the other hand, if you just happen into retirement, you are leaving your future to chance. You may luck out and experience a wonderful second act. But do you really want to risk just going with the flow rather than taking control of your own course?  If you make the effort to plan for your new found freedom, you will enjoy a much smoother transition into retirement. Do what you can now so you are ready to make the most of the years ahead.

From my blog on US News & World. Dave Bernard is the author of “I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be“. Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.

5 Ways to Keep Active in Retirement

Post by Amol Kotkar

As you age, one of the most important keys to staying healthy is to keep active, both physically and mentally. Not only is it important to exercise your body to remain limber and strong but it is also critical that you keep your mind engaged and sharp.  With a focus on maintaining harmony between body and mind, you can be better prepared to move into retirement and live a quality second act. If on the other hand you choose to do nothing to further your health you could find yourself deteriorating at a quicker pace and unable to enjoy the freedom you have worked so hard to experience.

Here are a few simple but effective ways to stay active and on top of your game:

Gardening

Gardening is a great way to keep fit and gives you a fantastic sense of pride and responsibility as you grow your own plants and vegetables. While working in your garden, you’ll enjoy fresh air and sunshine. You are able to decide how physically involved you want to become perhaps leaving the heavy lifting to a friend or family member.  Should you decide to grow vegetables, you have the added bonus of being able to eat them afterwards knowing exactly what has gone into their growth as far as pesticides and fertilizers. And you creatively engage your mind as you choose what to grow and construct the lay out for the perfect garden plan to fit your space and preferences.

Swimming

For those who love keeping fit, swimming is an excellent choice. While allowing you keep active, it is far less impactful than other cardio activities such as running. Your knees and hips will be much happier as you cruise through the pool improving your stamina with every stroke. Swimming is also a good option if you have recently had surgery as it may well be a part of your rehabilitation. And you never know who you might meet poolside.

Puzzles

As well as keeping physically active, it’s also important to keep mentally sharp. This is particularly important for physically disabled people who may be limited in their abilities. Puzzles offer a challenge while holding out the tantalizing promise of satisfaction should you successfully complete the task at hand. The varieties are many including Sudoku and crosswords or you may want to try ‘physical’ puzzles, such as Rubik’s Cubes, which help with physical as well as mental dexterity. Games of chess or checkers that require strategizing and seeing multiple steps ahead are also excellent. Even the lowly tic-tac-toe can get your mental juices flowing should you be so inclined.

Walking

This one may sound a little obvious but just going for a walk can be a great way to keep active. Again the exercise is low-impact and just a 15 minute walk a day can work wonders. Take the time to wander your neighborhood and visit nearby attractions. Having a regularly scheduled walk time such as after dinner or first thing in the morning can help to stay on track. Many places have local parks and hiking trails for the more adventurous. Even just a trip down the local shops or restaurants to can assist in your efforts to keep joints and muscles loose yet strong. The key is to get out and get to it.

Yoga

The thought of doing something like yoga might make your blood run cold, but it’s actually a fantastic way of keeping supple and flexible. And you don’t have to be able to bend your legs behind your head, either; there are some simple stretches that most people should be able to do. Take your time and don’t overdo it to avoid possible injury. Listen to the trained instructor who can guide you to assure you do the poses correctly for the most benefit. There are other types of exercise similar to yoga, such as Pilates, which may also be of interest and benefit.

All elderly people can keep active in some way or another. Retirement living should not mean an end to being physically or mentally active. Even those in retirement homes can still lead active lifestyles, and companies such as Extra Care can ensure you find a home that can help your retirement living stay active, no matter how old you are.

The Positive Side of Retirement

Post by Maria Prestifilippo

The 21st century has seen an explosion in the older population. The charity Age UK has said that there are currently over 10 million over 65 year olds in the UK today – and this figure is set to grow.

Good News if you are Planning Your Retirement

One way of planning for this important time of your life is to go online and have a look at some of the videos on the McCarthy and Stone YouTube Channel.  You’ll be able to hear stories about empowerment and independence and you’ll also feel reassured that getting older doesn’t mean a decline in your active lifestyle.

Increased Retirement Expectations

The Daily Express recently ran a story about how a retired couple traveled the length of the UK using their bus passes. Retirement definitely has its bonuses including increased
leisure time and many who downsize and move to an owner-occupier retirement community find that they still don’t have enough time to fit in all their activities!

Of course as some get older they do start to suffer with health problems but this doesn’t always entail a move to a care home.

Assisted Living in Retirement

There are now a variety of schemes where those suffering with mobility or other health problems can sell the family home and move into a convenient, adapted flat where they’ll be able to retain their independence, but can call on help if needs be. The doors of these flats are specially adapted for wheelchair users and there’s often a parking area specifically designed for mobility scooters.

Daily tasks can become a real chore as you get older. You might not have enough time or the job of cleaning and maintaining a property has become too difficult. If you stay in your family home you may find it hard to get help at an affordable price. Assisted living is a viable option for those who may want additional help.

In a retirement community, you are free to mix with others including care managers in the event you need assistance, but you can also close your front door and maintain your independent lifestyle.

New Beginnings in Retirement

Retirement used to be seen as the time when life started to slow down. An increasing number of stories show that this certainly isn’t the case in the UK. From pensioner choirs on The X Factor to an increasing number of the retired community taking part in yoga, dancing and other leisure activities, retirement is looked upon as the time to really indulge your interests and take up some new activities. You’ll still be able to entertain your family should you wish – but you may be too busy with your new friends from the retirement community!