Making the right choices about retirement is personal and unique to each person. Time spent considering the options available is never wasted but needs to be carried out in a logical way. Dreams held throughout a life time of working do not always measure up with the critical light of reality. A point that can ruin one person’s retirement could make an ideal option for someone else. The checklist that follows is to highlight some of the issues that need to be addressed honestly.
Underestimation of your income on retirement.
When you set up a pension plan the figures always look fantastic, and there’s a false impression in our mental processes that we won’t spend as much when we reach retirement age. All the big purchases of setting up home have been made during our working life, so it should only leave basic household running costs, food and a couple of holidays a year. The problem of the unexpected can drain any extra cash and once this has dwindled away there’s no way to replace it. Inflation and global economy changes can have a serious impact on a pension, especially if combined with currency exchange rate changes.
The idyllic cottage in the country, with the roses climbing over the porch can bring disaster to the unwary. Who wants to spend every last penny on some crumbling ruin that there is no way ever to win back?
It is very tempting to sell up and move from the family home, the kids have left and as a couple the extra space isn’t needed, but downsizing can be the wrong option. To exchange a well-known property at this stage of life can bring untold problems. It might seem an ideal time to get rid of the accumulated clutter from a life time of collecting, but once it’s gone there’s no way of getting it back. To suddenly find yourself spending considerably more time in a new and confined space is asking for trouble. Hobbies that weren’t a problem when closed behind the door to the spare room could suddenly be invasive when sharing a communal living area.
The peace of mind from knowing the idiosyncrasies of your home can also be underestimated. The relief when you manage to sell to some unsuspecting buyer a problem that you have put off dealing with for years could back fire. There is always a reason a house goes on the market and it’s not usually because it’s an ideal place to live. To buy a new house with hidden problems can make retirement more hassle than being at work with the added burden of decreased financial security.
If you buy a property from a builder, then the hazards of snagging and getting everything finished to the standard you expect can be exhausting. Additionally, the expense to health can be greater than anticipated.
An opportunity to learn about another culture takes the relocation one step further, and can sound exhilarating. It might seem fantastic to move to another country or an area by the sea, but under the tempting exotic paradise usually lingers some cultural aspect that though quaint for the occasional visit can be exasperating when it applies to your adoptive home country.
A negative discovery can leave you isolated in a hostile environment unable to communicate. To be on the receiving end of racist comments can be disturbing especially when government elections are taking place. The first years can be fascinating, but unless there is an escape route out being trapped a long way from your home, land can be devastating. All of your friends and acquaintances are left behind when you relocate and making new friends in a strange country can be difficult, and the choice restrictive; not an ideal situation at this time in your life. Being surrounded by familiar faces in banks, offices and shops that we use creates a feeling of security that should never be underestimated.
Slowing down too much.
The chance to spend your time doing all the things you’ve never had time to do before can drag you into a negative spiral of doing less and less, leading to an inability to do things because your physical body has degenerated. If your days are filled watching the TV or sitting on the computer, then make sure they are integrated with some more active occupations, especially if they include socializing and enjoying the outdoors.
Spending all your time doing mundane chores.
Once the rigors of a working schedule have been taken away other people readily observe that you have an option to do what you like with your day. Family and friends can find many tasks that they will off load at your door if you’re not careful about what you accept to take on. The feeling of self- worth can soon become dented when each day brings some other chore that you’d rather not do. It’s an admirable quality to help people, but you owe it to yourself and your partner to consider the negative impact it’s having on your relationship.
Lose contact with progress in electronic gadgets.
It is very easy to slide out of date once the working life gate has closed. Letting go of the present is very easy to do, especially when money is tight. The wheel of technology turns quickly, and once you’ve fallen off it’s very difficult to climb back on. Keeping every available means of communication open can be beneficial to your future mental health and well-being, maybe the only available method to watch your grandchildren growing up.
So think carefully when the big decisions have to be made. Ask those difficult questions and answer them truthfully, and only when you’ve fully investigated the facts.