Where to Find the Best Retirement Advice

If you hope to enjoy the best retirement possible you need to plan and prepare for your time in the sun. Waiting until after you retire is too late. By then there is little you can do to correct or fine tune any problem areas. A little homework now can help pave the way to a smoother road when you ultimately exit the working masses.

When it comes to retirement planning there are plenty of areas that require careful consideration. After all we are potentially talking about the next 20 to 30 years. How much will you need to live the life you hope to? Where will you live? What’s the best course of action when it comes to healthcare coverage? How do you stay active and engaged? Is there a place for part-time work in your second act? Will you be bored? Where will you find meaning in your days lived?

With so much at stake, it makes sense to investigate all possible sources for guidance.

Parents

Mom and dad lived in a different time. What worked for them might not be quite what you are looking for. However their experiences can prove enlightening. Steps they took to migrate from full time work to full time retirement may be worthy of consideration. Mistakes they made can be illuminated and hopefully avoided. Sharing those aspects of retired living they most love may stir your imagination and guide you toward similar successes. The ideal retirement envisioned by our parents is not necessarily perfect for us. But what they have learned along the way just might make our personal journey less bumpy.

Kids

Our children may be able to shine a useful light upon our retirement. They have seen the impact of your career on your and their lives. Other than you no one knows better the stress and strains endured to make it in the world. And our kids know what really makes our clocks tick. Who knows better the satisfaction dad felt dragging everyone on weekend driving treks? Or the joy mom experienced when her hand made placemats were the topic of praise at a family reunion? First hand experiences with our life’s ups and downs make them pretty decent coaches. Our kids can provide a good sounding board to bounce ideas off. They want their parents to be happy. And although their perspective is from a younger generation their insights may assist in our efforts.

Friends

Our friends are typically more than willing to offer what they feel is useful advice. The thing is when it comes to retirement they are often in the same boat as we. They are unsure exactly what to do in their next life chapter. They are learning as they go. It may well be we end up helping each other plot a course as we work through strategies and make adjustments. After all what are friends for? 

Bloggers

Retirement bloggers are another source of useful retirement planning information. In addition to writing most are engaged in their own personal journey, openly sharing hits and misses experienced along the way. Useful insights often come from readers commenting on articles read. Their first hand input add texture to the retirement picture painted by bloggers.

LoveBeingRetired has been rolling since 2010. Since then we have enjoyed a few favorite sites:

Bob Lowry shares his retirement journey on his site A Satisfying Retirement offering insights learned while figuring out the best most meaningful way to live life as a retiree.

Retirement: A Full-Time Job immerses readers in the adventures lived by Sydney Lagier who retired at 44 and has not looked back since.

If you prefer an audio experience, tune into Retirement Journeys hosted by Ted Carr who shares an ever expanding collection of podcasts from authors, bloggers and people navigating their retirement journeys.

Experts

AARP, authors, pundits and those in the know offer another avenue to explore when it comes to preparing for your second act. With so many choices available see what friends and family recommend.

Retirees

If you want to learn about retirement, talk with a retiree. Rarely will you find someone more willing to discuss the ups and downs of retirement than someone already living the life. First of all they have the time. Secondly a captive audience interested in what they have to say will be a positive in their day. Get ready for lots of details and plenty of stories. But what better way to glimpse what lies ahead? Researching what it will be like to be retired is all well and good. But until you find yourself immersed in the role, 24 by 7, you cannot really understand what is involved. Listen up to first hand encounters to learn what it’s all about.

As you prepare to navigate the retirement jungle it makes sense to gather as much information as possible. Get all the facts. Look at your situation from all angles. Listen to advice offered by others. But in the end your retirement is your personal journey. What works for others is rarely a blueprint for your successful retirement. Make plans according to how you hope to live. Trust your gut and be willing to make changes along the way. Accept there will be ups and down but try to stay positive. This is your time to do what you want to do when you want to do it. If that is not a good recipe for happiness I am not sure what is!

LoveBeingRetired.com

Dealing with Isolation After you Leave your Job

Written by Louise Nayer

As I walked down the serpentine road of City College of San Francisco, going to class, I always met students and colleagues. Some students would shyly walk past me as I smiled; others would say “Hi Professor Nayer!” and sometimes we would hug each other.

Faculty and staff, many whom I had known for over twenty years would stop and we would chat about children, grandchildren, classes, illnesses, deaths, and births. So many little chats over so many years.

When we retire, we lose those voices. Many of those we talked to we will not see again. How do we continue to be engaged with people when we leave our work places? Even though people can never be replaced, how do we create a new community? Many studies point out that human connection is by far the biggest marker of happiness. Older people who have left the workplace can feel isolated without that constant connection to people at work. Some get depressed and feel their life is meaningless. However, there are myriad ways to plan so you can have a retirement connected to others.

Before I left my teaching job, I knew I wanted to write, so I joined the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. I rented an office space two days a week and knew I would have a place to go with a writing community. Was it easy? Not at all. At first when I joined The Grotto, I looked around at all the strange faces. Where were my friends? I felt lonely, disconnected, like walking into a new middle school and wondering if I would be liked or say the wrong thing. But slowly, that changed. Now, years later, I love this new community. I’m excited to wake up on my Grotto days and see my friends. Others, like my husband, go back to their place of work one or two days a week, to volunteer or to work part-time.

It is important to be patient with yourself and realize adjustments take time, as you find a good volunteer opportunity, a class at a nearby community college, a gym with exercise classes, a garden club or a hiking club or whatever you fancy. If you are not a very social person, it’s important to force yourself to have face-face lunches, dinners, and connections to people, along with email and phone calls!

For some, having more time with children and grandchildren gives people that needed engagement to others. My friend Dixie and her husband moved from California to Ashland so they could help their daughter who had twins. Was the move easy? No. Packing up a home full of memories and leaving the state where you have lived most of your adult life can be daunting and terrifying. But over time, they are both thrilled that they moved. They love Ashland for all it has to offer, and they help their daughter with the twins every week.

It can take a few years to settle into “retirement” and figure out ways to surround yourself with people you care about. But there is no void. There are always ways to connect—from tutoring at the local school, to volunteering to helping students write college entrance essays, to hiking clubs or to a sick or disabled neighbor who needs help with groceries. You’ll also have time to call family members or old friends who you haven’t seen for a long time.

Pets can be wonderful, too. My husband and I got a puppy that is now one year old. It has been a very challenging year as we are 68 and 74 and a puppy has endless energy. But now, our dog, Ella, a member of the family, has many moments of sprawling next to us on the couch. Pets can offer great solace, plus in walking dogs you get to meet your neighbors.

Finding a new community or filling your day with connections to others might be challenging at first, but over time and with some effort, everyone can find wonderful ways to reach out and engage with others.

Louise Nayer’s latest book, Poised for Retirement: Moving from Anxiety to Zen, part memoir and part-self help, is a guide to emotional planning before and after retirement. Many fears surface during this pivotal time and the book  includes interviews, expert wisdom and calming techniques. Her previous book, Burned: A Memoir, was an Oprah Great Read. She is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.

Revive Your Retirement

In the beginning entering retirement is a glorious adventure. How incredibly liberating it is to finally have time to do all you have wanted to. It feels wonderful to live at a pace you are comfortable with rather than one dictated by others. Days can be filled with activities you enjoy, hobbies you choose to revisit, and an endless variety of new things to explore. What could be better?

And yet some find sustaining a fulfilling fun retirement is not so easy. After a year or so spent catching up on travel dreams and reconnecting with friends and family and whittling down that to-do-list and taking a second look at hobbies of yore, that initial excitement can begin to wear off. What next? What do I do to find meaning in my days?

Keeping your retirement fresh and interesting is a full time job. You cannot laze your way through if you want to make the most of your second act.

Get a Job (you like)

I am not suggesting you jump back into the mad working fray you so recently escaped. Rather, imagine a role you would enjoy at a company you respect doing something that brings a smile to your face. Such a place does exist – you just have to find it.

Create the blueprint of your perfect job. Figure out how many hours you would like to work. Factor in your commute or if possible avoid that time sink completely. Make a list of those things you do not want to do and avoid those situations. Reach out to your professional as well as personal network to share what you are looking for. As you know many jobs are never listed but rather filled by someone who knows someone.

Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. You have paid your dues. Those days of stress and struggle are behind. Take your time, consider your options, and do your diligence before you make your move. And remember if it does not work out you do not have to stick with it.

This time around don’t settle until you find a job you like/enjoy/look forward to.

Set Free the Creative You

Each of us is creative in his/her own way. It’s just some of us push that creativity down inside us rather than unleash it. Whether we resist expressing our talents because we are shy or afraid or lack confidence or are simply hiding, if we dig down it is there. Not all of us can be a Da Vinci or Hemingway but so what. You do not have to impress anyone.

The thing about creativity is it seeks an outlet. You can only deny your inner self so long. Write a book or a play or a short story or a poem. Compose a song. Paint a landscape. Start a garden. Remodel a room. Rehabilitate an old car. Try something new not because you have to but because you choose to.

Expand your Mind

Would you be interested in learning more about a topic that excites you? Going “back to school” when you retire is a whole new ballgame. Firstly with all the online offerings you don’t necessarily have to go to a classroom. This time around there will be no exams, no competition to be the best, no deadlines to deliver. You can work at a pace you choose. You “study” when you want to. And if you lose interest along the way you are free to move onto something new.

Retirees find themselves removed from the demanding world they knew, a positive in many ways. But without that routine requiring us to think and engage it is easy to lose your edge and find your senses dulled. Exercise that brain to stay on top of your game.

Be Wild and Crazy

Retirement offers a chance to step outside the box you have lived within all these years. No one is watching – do what you want. And even in someone is watching, so what! Dance in the street if the mood strikes you. Color your hair or your nails or your lips anyway you want. Sing, laugh, dance, enjoy – if not now, when? As a sage Forrest Gump might venture, “crazy is as crazy does.”

Record your story

Many are interested in understanding the people and places that constitute their personal history. Ancestry.com and other sites help dig up facts and faces to better understand where we came from. But the best source of accurate information for future generations is stored in our individual memories. No one knows better the minute details that make up the life we have lived. Who can more vividly paint a picture of the environment and times, the hopes and challenges, the happiness and tears than someone who has experienced them first hand. Imagine a descendant reading your story a hundred years from now, reliving those times that tie you together forever.

Our second act can be the best time of our lives. Revive your retirement by trying new things. None of us wants to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity when it comes our way.

LoveBeingRetired.com