We don’t realize it, but retirement is a game. And, like all games, there is a winner and a loser. Now, no one likes to lose because winning is fun and addictive. But, no one wants to lose at retirement because a loss can have a major impact on the rest of your life.
There is no doubt that you don’t want this to happen. After all, our golden years are supposed to be the time when we enjoy the fruits of decades of hard labor. Still, it happens to people all of the time, and it happens because they are ill-prepared.
As such, you have to be ready if you want to win. And, to do that, you have to know the tricks of the retirement trade. So, here is everything that you need to know to retire into successful bliss.
Be Mentally Prepared
The biggest mistake everyone makes is to assume that retirement isn’t a big deal. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is a huge deal because your life is about to change forever. Yes, the idea of slowing down and pottering around the garden is appealing, yet it is still a transition. Indeed, when was the last time you took the time to relax? Exactly, and now you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, which can be intimidating. To avoid any scares, you should try and get used to the idea. Then, there is no need to wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. People often focus on the physical, yet the mental aspect of retiring is just as important.
Continue To Work
‘What?! I’m never going to work again!’ Okay, you have every right to think this way, particularly after 40 years of hard work. However, not to be critical, it is a little short-sighted. Although working hasn’t always been enjoyable, it has given your life structure. And, sweeping that structure from under your feet is a recipe for disaster. It is no secret that the golden generation suffers from boredom, and working is one way to relieve the monotony of life. Plus, it adds value because it gives you something to look forward to every week. Of course, it is your decision how much to take on because you are not fully employed. Still, one or two days should break up the week nicely.
Stay Physically Active
Again, ‘letting yourself go’ is another benefit of quitting work and getting old. But, again, it isn’t a good idea if you want to win the war as well as the battle. Staying healthy is the key to a long and happy life, and that never changes. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many dues you have paid in the past. Your body still needs maintenance, and exercise is the only method that works. Now, there is no reason to get down with the kids because that is too much. But, there are ways to get the blood pumping without encouraging a heart attack. Walking is the ultimate example, as is gardening. Try and opt for activities that are active but not too strenuous.
Get Your Finances In Order
Anyone that doesn’t work full-time has to be financially savvy or else retirement could be more of a nightmare than a dream. One thing you have to understand is that your earning potential has limits. As a result, it’s imperative to use what you have to your advantage. To do that, you need a working total of all your assets, and you need to write them down. Next, work out your expenses and how much you pay out every month. The total that is left is your overall budget and the trick is to stick to it as much as possible. Sure, there will be some expenses that are bigger than others, yet these are the anomalies. On average, your monthly payments must hit a certain figure. If the number is too low, consider cutting back. It isn’t nice, but it is necessary.
Consider Living Arrangements
An example of cutting back is moving out of your home. Let’s face it – a house is expensive and maybe too big for your needs. The logical thing to do is to downsize or consider the alternatives. For example, living with one of your children may be on the cards if they have the room. Or, moving into a residence with in-home care facilities is also a popular choice. Whatever you decide, it’s essential to be logical and analytical if possible. No one likes the idea of leaving their home, especially if it has sentimental value. However, sometimes it is the only option if your finances are not in order. Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep your independence for the foreseeable future, but you shouldn’t assume that to be the case.
Talk It Through
The important aspect of a successful retirement is making an informed decision. Usually, this can’t happen without having a conversation with the people you love. Quite simply, your life and theirs are intertwined, so your actions impact their lives. As a result, you need to sit down and inform them that you plan on retiring. That way, everyone can bounce positives and negatives off one another and cover all of the issues. It may be that you’re not ready to quit work for financial reasons, or you’re only doing it because you think it is right. At least when you have a discussion, you will realize if it is the right move or a mistake. Don’t forget that people do make retirement mistakes all of the time, and you don’t want to be another statistic.
Finally, don’t do it too early. The idea of retiring and emigrating to somewhere hot is always appealing. However, it also means you have a lot of time to sit around and do nothing. Even if you work part-time and look after the grandkids, it is still a long time.