How to Get the Most Out of Retirement
Retirement these days is drastically different from a few years ago when it simply means to stop working, laze around the house entire day while living off a retirement pension.
Now, everybody wants to retire in style. They want to get the most out of it, i.e., spend their days the way they want to, engage in sports, travel, fine-dine at least once a week and, for singles, give love another go, and many others.
And they should. They owe it to themselves to loosen up and have fun after all those years of making a living. Now they should have a life.
Unfortunately, age-related issues like failing health, money, relationship problems, lack of a social network, etc., make all these unreachable for most.
Money is usually at the core of a retiree’s problems. It is estimated that 65 % of Americans retirees are having money difficulties. For them, getting the most of retirement is not the primary concern. Survival is.
For others who are getting by, though not lavishly, having fun at retirement is achievable and are having the best time of their lives.
How they do it may be a poser for those who have just joined the league of “old and happy men and women.” To set them off on the right track, here are some tips I learned through the years as a retiree:
1. Manage your money:
Some people still cling to the saying that “money is the root of all evil.” If that is a beacon of their moral scrupples then let it be. But experience tells that nothing is worse than being old and poor.
So whatever financial resources you have, no matter how small, manage it well.
Limit your budget to cover the essentials, not the extras. Keep within your budget even if you have to go minimalist. Besides, abundance is not an ingredient for happiness. Contentment is.
Be content with what you have and be grateful for it. Remember that so many seniors are in worse situation than you.
Familiarize yourself with the provisions of Social Security and Medicare just in case you need financial relief from these institutions.
2. Manage your health:
After money, the greatest spoiler of an enjoyable retirement is health issues. Statistics show that about 80% of seniors have at least one chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes), and 77% have two.
If you are still healthy at your age, you have much to be thankful for. Most seniors that stand behind a drugstore’s counter carry a wad of prescription.
Even if you have one or two medical issues, don’t lose heart. Medicine and science have gotten to the level of allowing you to live a normal life despite these. But you have to be careful with your diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.
3. Manage your relationships:
“Relationships,” covers not only your spouse, your children and immediate members of your family but also those within your social circle, like friends, work associates, former classmates, neighbors and everybody you have more-than-casual interaction.
Don’t by the grouchy old man. When you are old, you need all the friends you can count on. So make peace with those you had a falling out with, create new ones.
Don’t shut people out from your life. Going solo in old age is like committing suicide. We need people to talk to when we are lonely; people to help us with our personal needs when we are unable to do them; pick us up when we fall, or send us off when we die.
4. Have lots of fun:
Are you having fun? I am. Lots of it.
No, I don’t have a fortune in my bank account and, except for two or three people I can share my problems with without fear of having them go viral, I don’t have a large social circle either.
But I do have two wonderful kids who are supportive of my “oldishness” and I am in excellent health.
Having fun, however, is not a matter of externals. It comes from a deep desire of giving life one last hurrah. Old age is the time to do what we never had the chance to do in our younger years, it is the time to be what we are meant to be.
So throw all inhibitions to the wind and have lots of fun. Don’t leave this world regretful of not having done the things you always wanted to do.
Please share with other seniors so they will also have the greatest time of their lives.