Make the Most of Retirement by Staying Active

Retirement promises a chance to escape the busy lifestyle demanded by fulltime work and raising a family. After decades spent racing madly down the path of life ever struggling to make ends meet retirement tantalizingly tempts with that light at the end of the tunnel, that shelter from the storm, that taste of freedom well deserved.

Before retiring I imagined what life would be like when (and if) I finally got there. No more stress, no more hurry-hurry, no more time spent frozen in immovable traffic, no more struggling to make ends meet. I envisioned myself setting my own comfortable pace, choosing how I spend the hours, content in the knowledge I was in charge. And for the most part it turned out to be just that. But few things worthwhile just happen.After seven years retired (that went fast!) I learned when you finally arrive at the doorstep of retirement it is important to keep moving. Without a variety of interests or passions or distractions the dreaded boredom may find its way into your days and that we do not want. It took supreme effort and commitment to get here – now is not the time to live anything less than the best possible retirement we deserve.

Keep physically active

My wife gave me a Fitbit for my sixtieth. I have always been someone who keeps active. I can’t sit still for long before I feel the urge to move. Whether heading to the garden for a little trimming or firing up the vacuum to tidy up or throwing the ball for our ball-obsessed Boston Terrier Frank or walking up the hill, I like to keep moving. After wearing the Fitbit for a month I found my antsy nature translates well into steps taken for the day. The target is 10,000 steps each day which it turns out I regularly attain. I try to walk rather than ride when possible and take the stairs rather than elevator. I confess at the end of the day should I find myself close to but not quite at 10,000 steps I will walk up and down the house until I get there! Not really cheating since the goal is to ultimately get to 10,000 steps.

A friend from years ago who was a dedicated bodybuilder used to say “If you’re not lifting, you’re shrinking.” I like to retune that sentiment with the emphasis on staying active each day. “If you’re not moving you’re slowing down.”

Keep mentally active

The reality is if you do not keep your mind engaged you begin to lose your edge. That first year after quitting my job for the final time I felt I was not as sharp as while working. Nothing drastic it just seemed I didn’t have the same old pop in daily conversations. Without the job I did not have a lot new to talk about. My career was in sales where I talked with people all the time – that was the job. Now in retirement I was spending more time alone without the interaction I was accustomed. I love having time for myself. I am able to do what I want when I want for as long as I want. That was not the problem. The problem was since I found myself talking less those speaking skills taken for granted were beginning to dull. And that was after only one year! My retirement should last 20-30 years God willing so something needed to happen.

When I left my final job I swore I would never work again. Retirement was to be my salvation from fulltime employment. There was no place in my busy retired life for another job.

After a handful of years feeling relatively content ensconced in an assortment of interests that insidious boredom started to creep into my world. What I was doing began to feel routine, the same thing day in day out. I was running out of things to do earlier and earlier in the day. There were no new activities I wanted to explore. It did not look good.

Then I found what turned out for me to be the perfect retirement gig – pouring wine at a small tasting room within walking distance of home. Three days a week I engage with people from all over the world sharing some excellent wines along with the story of our winery. We tell tales and share laughs in a friendly happy environment (it is a wine tasting room after all). But more importantly I engage with others on a regular basis, keeping my mind active. And I believe my thinking is sharper than it would be if I was alone.

Find meaning (or a reason for being)

One positive aspect of a job is when you look back at the end of the day you feel you have accomplished something. You may not have solved the problem of world hunger but in your own little piece of the universe you made a difference. Achieving goals and completing tasks has a positive impact on our psyche. We are worthy, we made it happen, we matter. Retirement does not typically offer such milestones, such measures of achievement. But you can find your own ways to experience that satisfying end-or-the-day contentment. It may be as simple as pruning a row of roses in preparation for winter. You may exceed those 10,000 steps a day for a whole week. Maybe you plan a surprise sixtieth birthday party for your spouse who comes home from work to be totally surprised (totally) at the whole thing. That expression on his/hers (my) face can be incredibly satisfying.

With time on your hands there are many activities and undertakings, hobbies and interests, passions and experiments to investigate. Whatever floats your personal boat it is important to stay active and engage. You will feel more energized. You will be more interesting. And ultimately you will make the best retirement possible for you and those around you. Good luck and enjoy!

LoveBeingRetired.com

Experience the Joy of Patience in Retirement

As a survivor of a Bay Area based career it is not always easy to slow things down despite my enviable retired status. Old habits die hard and decades of hustling to the next event or jetting down the freeway toward another oh-so-important meeting impacted the person I was and influenced the lifestyle I lived. Everything was so fast. While in the midst of my career I honestly felt guilty taking a moment to escape the busy day. There was always something I could be doing, something I should be doing.

Now that I am retired I am beginning to understand not everything need proceed at turbo speed. It is okay to pursue the day at a sane pace. And it is much easier to appreciate and tune into the world around if moments are not flashing by at the speed of light.

In the Bay Area, heavy traffic is a fact of life. If you are on the road you expect to proceed at slower than posted speed limits in all but the rarest of times. As congestion increases everywhere, there is no longer any non-rush hour time to journey out. I never got used to the traffic. I would prefer to drive twice the distance so long as my car kept moving. Waiting, burning gas, watching the minutes tick by – it wound me up like a watch.

Where my wife and I retired there is no real rush hour traffic or at least nothing like what we were accustomed. There are a few stretches of highway that back up at various times of the day. But as I learn to be patient in retirement I am able to better deal with these delays. Perhaps it is because I am no longer pressured to be somewhere at a specific time. I sit back and remember how things are just 70 miles away and smile broadly. “This is rush hour traffic I can handle just fine!!”

Being patient is not always easy. If you are an active retiree there is nothing worse than sustaining an injury that sidelines from your normal pursuits. Exercise keeps us limber, engaged and out there living. I know that if I miss more than a few days I start to get a bit testy. My wife notes this as well and thank God for her patience!

As the aging game plays forward it doesn’t take something big to knock you out of circulation. A minor tweak of the knee and you end up unable to take your daily walk. A few months ago I tried a new yoga pose to relieve a little back/hip pain. Unfortunately I did it incorrectly and now two months later my elbow is a painful reminder to do it right or don’t do it at all. I haven’t returned to my normal workout routine and it drives me crazy. But I know how important patience is when it comes to recovering from injury, even more so entering my sixth decade. I am letting time mend me, doing what I can around the injury to stay active, optimistic I will be back before too long. And when I am, look out!

Throughout life we will run into situations that test our patience. We all have our hot buttons, triggers that quickly set us into orbit. Where traffic is my personal bane others may feel challenged when forced to engage in mindless small talk or tolerate barking dogs at night or enduring those ever so slow grocery clerks.

When I feel my tension level rise I try to consciously slow down. I take a few slow, deep breaths to help bring my heart rate back to normal. I put a smile on my face to help put things in perspective. Most importantly I remind myself where I am in life – retired from the rat race, free to spend my days as I choose to, able to proceed at a reasonable pace, no longer burdened by must-have-an-answer-now decisions. Feeling in control of my days is a blessing.

Sure I get a little impatient on occasion. But I am learning what matters and what does not. I try to overlook the annoying little things, to focus my time and energy on what matters and what I enjoy. Living in that state there is no cause to hurry. I savor my freedom and appreciate the moments I am fortunate enough to live.

LoveBeingRetired.com

Should You Continue to Invest After Retirement?

Written by Becky Wilcox

How much money is enough for retirement? Although that’s a common enough question, the answer may surprise you. Any number you come up with for your lifestyle will be something of an educated guess. In other words, it’s unlikely to be accurate. While it would be wonderful to establish a figure that defines a comfortable retirement, there is one problem with coming up with anything close to an accurate reckoning: the goal post keeps moving. Some variables that confound any calculation is that the rate of inflation, the cost of living, and confidence in the social security system keeps changing. In addition, with medical science making rapid advances every year, your chances of longevity keeps improving.

It’s unrealistic to simply hope to stockpile enough money to live out your retirement years. Rather than hoping you won’t outlive your money, it makes more sense to continue to generate passive income during your retirement years. Some investment vehicles that would be a good option for continuing to invest in your retirement years include precious metals, real estate investment trusts, dividend-paying stocks, US Treasury notes and bonds and Treasury inflation-protected securities.

Gold Bullion

When you invest in gold bullion, you’ll be joining a trend that has become increasingly popular during the last decade as the US debt has increased at an alarming rate. With the US national debt rising by an average of $3.8 billion a day and government borrowing at the rate of $5 billion every single business day, faith in the stability of the US dollar has been shaken. Consequently, gold is seen as a hedge against hard economic times.

People who are interested in gold bullion find it easy to buy and sell gold and appreciate the accuracy with which gold content can be verified after purchase. They believe that investing in gold has significant upsides in an uncertain economy.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

When you buy Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), you make money as a shareholder. REITs make money by purchasing property and then renting, leasing, and selling them. REITs are made available to the public through IPOs, or initial public offerings. After your purchase, you will be pleased to observe that 90% of a REIT’s taxable income is regularly distributed to shareholders like you.

Dividend-Paying Stocks

When you buy stocks, you will receive dividend payments. The best way to make money from your investments in stocks is to find companies that have developed an excellent reputation for increasing their dividend payments every year. These companies will continue to pump money into your bank account year after year. And, of course, as you add more shares to your portfolio, the more money you’ll make.

Municipal Bonds

When you buy municipal bonds, usually refer to as “munis,” you are lending a government entity money. A muni, then, is a debt obligation issued by a government entity to fund its diverse projects. In exchange for your loan contribution, you will receive a fixed number of interest payouts over a predetermined schedule.

U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds

When you buy U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, you will be paid interest on a discount bond upon maturity. This is a bond that you can buy for less than its face value. You will then be paid the full value of your bond when it matures.

Treasury Inflated Protected Securities

When you buy Treasury inflated-protected securities, otherwise known as TIPS, you will benefit from inflation protection. The primary disadvantage of TIPS is that you will earn a lower interest rate than if you were to buy other types of government securities or if you were to buy credit securities. In addition, your tax bill will be higher.

In conclusion, you should continue to invest in your retirement years. Although you might expect to only spend a third of your retirement savings to cover your living expenses, this evaluation may not be accurate. In reality, much of your savings will be used to cover costs that you had not anticipated. For instance, the rise in the cost of medical expenses may be much higher than you could have predicted.