According to research by the National Center for Health Statistics, the average person who reaches age 65 can expect to live another 19.3 years ... or until they are age 84. What do you plan to do with those extra two decades of life? Have you given that serious thought?
Will Retirement Be Fun?
Many people imagine spending long days on the golf course, in their fishing boat, or taking cruises and vacations to exotic locations. However, is that really what you want to do every day for the last twenty years of your life? Will you even be able to afford that daily round of golf, the fishing boat, or the travel?
According to U.S. News & World Report, the typical retiree between the ages of 65 and 74 spends four hours a day watching television ... and that is the age group of the youngest retirees, the ones who are most capable of being active.
Is it inevitable that your retirement will eventually leave you feeling isolated, bored, and lonely? Not necessarily.
What Retirement Options Will Keep Your Life Interesting?
In addition to financial planning, people who are preparing to retire, or who are newly retired, should spend plenty of time thinking about the lifestyle choices they can make as they approach their mid-60's. Below are some options they may want to keep on the table:
* Keep working at their current career - What? After all these years of planning to retire, why would you want to keep working? Presumably, you have earned a nice income from your job in the past and now you will be able to supplement that income with your Social Security benefits ... which will give you extra money for travel and having fun. You might also decide to postpone collecting your Social Security until you are age 70, thus substantially increasing your benefits. Staying at your current job also enables you to maintain your work friendships and connections with other people. It can give structure to your life and keep your brain alert ... without resorting to endless crossword puzzles.
* Find an Encore Career - What if there is no way you want to keep working in your old career? That doesn't mean you need to give up working altogether and just sit home every day. There are so many possible career choices. You could find a job with a local business or non-profit, work as a consultant in your former field, become a tutor, or give lessons. Retirees are even eligible to sign up for the Peace Corps and share their valuable knowledge and experience around the world. Yes, many people in the 60's (and sometimes a little older) join the Peace Corps.
* Volunteer in your community - If you really don't need extra income, you still do not want to spend your days sitting around the house, watching television. Why not contact your local hospital or charity and see if they need your help? I know a woman who helps out one day a week in a local hospital. She particularly enjoys caring for premature babies that just need extra time being held. The work is not physically demanding, but she feels it is very rewarding.
* Find affordable, social hobbies - Everything you do in retirement does not need to be expensive. Nor do you need to spend time alone when you are pursuing your hobbies. Join a book club or other activity that you can enjoy with other people. If you don't know how to find other people who enjoy your hobbies, try www.meetup.com. This website helps you link up with people in your community who are looking for people with common interests ... whether that means hiking, traveling, tai chi, golf, playing games, learning bridge, dancing, tennis, photography, dog walking, writing, painting, yoga, attending movies, boating, playing music, cycling or eating out. Many places of worship also have special activities for their older members. Go to your local senior center to find exercise classes, low-cost meals and a wide variety of activities. There is no reason to pursue your favorite activities in solitude when it is so easy to connect with other people who enjoy doing the same things you do.
Plan Your Life After Retirement
Financial planning is a very important part of getting ready for retirement. However, it is equally important to plan what you will do with that free time ... and hopefully that will not mean just sitting around for the last twenty years of your life.
Plan to have a satisfying and fulfilling life during this period of time. Think about how you could enrich your life while sharing your gifts with others.
I know people who are as busy or even busier in retirement than they were when they had full-time jobs during their "working years." What is most interesting is that those are the people who seem to be the happiest as they age!
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