Retirement can come suddenly or retirement can take the good part of a worker’s lifetime to achieve. A permanent disability that prevents a person from working at a full time; or a lump sum payment that ensures a comfortable income for life can lead to a life of early retirement.
Having some purpose, something to do and a way to keep in contact with a variety of other people is the best way to stave off boredom, depression, gambling, alcohol abuse and even loss of hope or enjoyment of life.
Retirement does not dictate that a person stops working. Many Americans find that it is necessary to continue working in a post-retirement job, just when they thought that they would be treated to years of travel and leisure. Others are unhappy in a life of leisure. They miss the satisfaction, accomplishment and human interaction that a good job or profession can offer. Quite a few have discovered a hobby, a charitable passion, a club or an avocation that involves a lot of work for little or no pay. But these activities can give them more satisfaction than they ever had when working for an employer.
While working, it is best to keep working on existing hobbies and talents. This is an excellent way to prepare for any type of retirement. While working, it is good to collect the tools and supplies, classes, opportunities and practice related to an activity and to continue as a great musician, artist, writer, sporting buff or hobbyist. By the time that retirement day arrives, there will be much better options for stepping right into the activity without having to struggle through the learning, buying and networking processes.
If travel is in the retirement plans, it helps to spend some vacation time and money while still working in order to make the grand tours of some desired destinations. This way, post retirement travel can include some favorite places and some new places, while the major sights will have already been taken care of.
Also, with travel, getting some travel done before retirement will teach those seasoned traveler’s lessons that can only be learned by doing. Knowing personal preferences, packing, how a country or city operates, where the best hotels are, and being safe are lessons that should be learned to ensure that post retirement trips are satisfying and without grave disappointment.
Financially, it helps to be able to tuck away savings for specific and costly post retirement plans, such as travel, hobbies and entertaining, but no one is guaranteed that savings might have to be used for something else. If this happens, it is time to start saving and planning for alternative goals.
A good retirement plan involves thinking about and preparing a realistic retirement budget and life plan. This will give some ideas as to whether a post retirement job will be necessary or if some habits will have to change.
For the disabled or for older retirees, budgeting for a good cable and internet service, plus the equipment, will provide enough movies, online activities and special events to fill a lot of the entertainment and communication goals. In other words, TV is not the vast wasteland that it is made out to be because new entertainment and informational programs are coming along all of the time.
With housing, the main consideration is whether to stay in the home or to downsize to an apartment or condo. When doing so, plans have to be made for storing or getting rid of excess furniture and possessions! Many a former homeowner suffers in overstuffed apartments that can barely contain the 8 foot sofa and the king sized bedroom set. The entire 135 piece china set or the garage full of tools will never fit when downsizing to an apartment or condo.
Many seniors are having a great time in senior apartment and homes complexes. Some are for “active seniors” (age 55-70) and have excellent programs for interacting, socializing and having every activity available. Other complexes are for low income seniors. Still more are for very elderly or disabled seniors who are transitioning into assisted living situations.
There are excellent renters magazines and online sources for finding senior rental and purchased housing.
Retirement can and should be the best part of life, a reward for working hard and working well. With some planning and a bit of extra work, the retirement years can be full, happy and fulfilling.