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 (https://aaacreditguide.com) 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

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.

Easy Gardening For A Happy Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

After retirement, it’s important to keep an active lifestyle and avoid being sedentary. Staying active and keeping busy is the best way to maintain good health. Researchers found that retirees who did a moderate activity like gardening were two and a half times more likely to age in a healthy way. Doing gardening as a hobby you get to do a lot of exercises every day. All the daily activity of kneeling, bending, carrying tools, digging in the dirt, is a great way to stay healthy and in good shape. As a retiree, you can add years to your life if you start a garden at home. Additionally, think of all the healthy fresh produce you’ll get to eat and the money you’ll save on vegetables and fruits. More and more people are being drawn to the process of putting their hands in the dirt, digging and creating something beautiful.

Health Benefits of gardening

Taking up gardening goes beyond keeping you active and cutting down on grocery bills. When you grow vegetables your diet improves as you tend to eat the vegetables you grow. But it’s not just your diet that gets better, as you share your produce with your family and friends, you’ll help them eat healthy as well. With that said, spending time outdoors tending the garden and getting a decent exposure to sunlight fights off dementia and boosts your immune system.

Gardening tasks also keep you occupied and give you a sense of achievement. Studies show that being in a natural environment has therapeutic effects and reduces stress and anxiety. The same goes for participating in a community garden where you get to meet fellow gardeners, share tips and make new friends. Having a diminished social life is one of the problems of retirement. But with gardening, you could join a community that helps expand your social circle and network of friends.

Gardening made easier

If you suffer from low stamina and limited mobility, you might find gardening challenging. This might have a negative impact on your experience in the garden especially if it’s difficult to get around. However, the good news is there are ways to make gardening easy for you even if you have back pain and your joints are not as flexible as they used to be. Consider for example using waist-high raised beds. That way you can do your gardening standing up and remove the need to bend down altogether.

Now you can seed, weed, and harvest with putting pressure on your back. Vertical gardening is another way to eliminate the need to bend down. Some vegetables like melons, squash, and cucumbers grow well when trellised. With your plants at face level, it’s easy to walk around and tend to your vegetable patches. Remember to place stools and benches in your garden for rest. Stone benches are durable, functional and versatile. They also don’t require much maintenance.

Tools of the trade

If your knees hurt and you can’t kneel down easily, you should use a kneeler stool. These are stools that have a thick foam pad for the knee. You can also flip it over and it becomes a comfortable stool to sit on. It is also worth mentioning that when you squat down to weed in the garden always keep your heels on the ground. Lifting your heels puts a strain on your ligaments. Or you could try kneeling with just one knee down.

Ergonomic pruners are specially designed to be easy to use. They have comfortable handles and require less effort to cut than normal pruners. One thing to remember, however, is to always keep your wrist in a natural position. Twisting your wrist or bending it down at an angle for a prolonged time might lead to tendonitis. Also, make sure the pruners you use are the right size for you. When you hold the closed pruner in your hand, the handle should fit in your palm. Getting a pruner that is either too big or too small for you will put a strain on your hand and diminish your grip.

What to plant?

Finally, you should choose plants that are easy to grow. Plants that don’t need lots of attention and aren’t prone to disease or insect infestation are the best choice. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots are some of the easiest plants to grow and maintain in your garden. You can grow them in containers or in mounded soil. And apart from sowing the seeds and watering them, you won’t need to do much else. They practically grow from seeds and don’t require much care or maintenance.

If you’re new to gardening then you’ll need to wrap your head around the basics. There are plenty of books and information online to get you started. But if you really want to get the best tips then you should ask another gardener. You can find enthusiastic gardeners in community gardens and garden clubs. Most are more than willing to give advice and help a novice fellow gardener get their hands dirty, so to speak. And when all is said and done, what’s a better way to increase your home’s curb appeal than with a well maintained and beautiful garden?

How a Canine Companion Could Help You Live Longer

Article provided by Acorn Stairlifts

We always strive to learn the secrets to living longer. One of the secrets appears to be the companionship of man’s best friend.

A study conducted in Sweden has recognized a link between owning a dog and reduced risk of early death. The study involved 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 – 80 found there was a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease or other conditions linked to early death among those people who owned a dog.

The large study was made possible to be carried out in Sweden for two mains reasons. First, anyone who owned a dog must register it officially and, second, all visits to the hospital and treatments are accurately recorded. This made is possible to compare national databased for dog ownership with those for hospital visits covering the periods between 2001 – 2012.

Researchers found a marked reduction in the number of early deaths among dog owning households in their study, especially from cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death worldwide. In Addition, they found the risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and other causes was reduced by up to a third among people who lived alone if they owned a dog.

Details found the a Swedish databased even enabled them to pinpoint specific types of dog which seemed to have a more beneficial effect. Owners of breeds that traditionally hunt, such as terriers, retrievers and scene hound, appeared to have the lowest risk of early deaths.

It would be possible to duplicate the study in the USA, because it is not compulsory to register dog ownership here, but there is nothing to suggest that its conclusions would not be replicated. The conclusion is that dog owners are more active, because they have to take their pets on walks at least once a day, some breeds can even require more than once a day. So, there are several well-proven health benefits of remaining active and taking regular exercise. Even the evidence about different breeds seems to back this up, as hunting breeds require more walks because they are more energetic than other types of dogs, such as lapdogs.

People may already be active and choosing to own a dog, rather than the dog forcing them to become active, but in either case there is a link between dog ownership and regular physical activity

However, there might be more to the health benefits of dog ownership than physical activity alone. The Swedish study found particularly pronounced benefits for single people and since they are unlikely to all be exercising more than dog owners in multiple households, there must be something else going on. The researchers speculated that the companionship of owning a dog could alleviate psychological stress factors for single people, such as social isolation, depression and loneliness.

All these factors have previously been linked to increased risk of early death from CVD and other causes. It isn’t just that the dog is providing companionship in the home; it also means the dog owner is likely to get out and about more, meeting and interacting with other people, especially other dog walkers. There is also evidence that owning a dog helps people to recover and rehabilitate more quickly following an accident or medical procedure.

There could also be another link between dog ownership and more robust health, operating at a microscopic level. Dog owners have been found to have a different “microbiome” to non-dog owners, the “microbiome” being the collection of microscopic species which live in a person’s gut. This is because the dust and household dirt in a dog owner’s home environment is influenced by the dog, and low-level exposure to these additional bacteria can help a dog owner’s immune system become generally more resistant to infection and disease.

Senior author of the Swedish study, Tove Fall, said while it did demonstrate a link between dog ownership and reduced risk of early death, it did not set out to prove causes for that link. More specific work would be needed in order to do that. He also acknowledged that rather than dogs causing a healthy lifestyle among their owners, it could be that people who already favored a healthy lifestyle chose to own dogs as part of it.

Reacting to the study, Dr. Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation, said previous studies had already shown a link between owning a dog and having a reduced risk of heart disease, but never on such a large scale as the Swedish study.

“Dog ownership has many benefits and we may now be able to count better heart health as one of them,” he said. “Whether you’re a dog owner or not, keeping active is a great way to improve your heart health.”