One of the common mistakes people make about retirement is that they think of it purely from a financial perspective. Retirement is a way of life and a major life change that not everybody is prepared for. So what does it take to actually be mentally prepared for the act of retirement? Here are a few things that you should consider.
Preparing in Advance
Many people only prepare for retirement financially, but they must be aware of the emotional impacts of retirement. For example, how are you going to live your life when you are in retirement? This is a very big question, and this throws up a lot of options. For example, if you are going to downsize so you can live a simpler life, you’ve got many choices there. You may want to go to a senior community rather than a retirement home. The most important thing to be aware of is the emotional repercussions of retirement. You need to visualize your retirement and what it will consist of.
Trying Out Retirement Before You Start
It’s entirely possible to prepare yourself for the world of retirement by reducing your working hours or taking a sabbatical every couple of years before your retirement date. Doing this gives you the opportunity to test the waters, and helps you understand if you are able to live your retirement dreams in a realistic manner. Also, it gives you the perspective of not working. This is one of the biggest problems people find when it comes to retirement because they are, very simply, bored. Allowing yourself to gradually tiptoe into retirement means you can understand better what you want to achieve from it.
Being Aware of the Transition Period
Retirement is not sudden. It’s about gradually easing into it. You could go through the pre-retirement phase, and allow yourself to come to terms with it, but also understand that there is the honeymoon phase where you are living a life of leisure, but also, this could follow with a period of disappointment. And this is where you will need to understand how you can best keep yourself happy in retirement. Sometimes, people find that retirement is the ideal opportunity to live out the dreams they had in their youth. For example, you could go on many vacations, or you could even start a business.
Looking After Your Health
Of course, retirement is a way of life, but it’s also the time when people slowly become aware of their mortality. In order to prepare yourself for retirement, you really need to make sure that your health is not in a terrible state. Regular check-ups will make a big difference, but it’s about making sure that retirement is a time of your life that you enjoy. It shouldn’t be a time where you worry about paying the bills and waiting for the Grim Reaper. Mentally preparing for retirement is about making sure that you are in the right zone. Not everybody is. So try these methods to get yourself ready.
When you look to the future as you get older, it is a very different thing than from when you were younger. You might be thinking about winding down, downsizing, slowing down, and looking to enjoy life a bit more. Coming to terms with getting older can be one of the toughest challenges of aging. So much of the western world is geared to youth; people are always trying to look younger, feel younger, and reverse aging. However, it can be accepted now that 80 is the new 60, 60 is the new 40 and so on.
However, just thinking young doesn’t necessarily mean that you will fight off the inevitable effects that aging can bring. If you are suffering from health issues or you are alone and are concerned about aging, then you might want to start thinking and planning for the future, whether it’s thinking about moving house, getting some home help or getting your legal and financial affairs in order.
Although you may not want to, if you make your future health, accommodation and legal decisions now, you can make sure that you get the support you need if you can no longer care for yourself. This will ensure that your family knows how you want to be cared for in the event of severe illness and outline what to do with your estate. While it may seem like something, you can put off as there’s always tomorrow, if you can do it now you might as well because even injury can happen at any time and you may not be able to make decisions about your care.
When it comes to your financials for the future, saving for retirement is essential. You will want to make sure that you have enough money to live on and enjoy your life as you age. It is also necessary to make sure that your money is protected and that you can get to it if you need it.
You will likely need more health care as you age, more so than you did in your younger years, so it is essential to make sure that you are looking after yourself and if you need health insurance then make sure you have it. Look after yourself by taking regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, quit smoking if you are a smoker and lose weight if you need to otherwise you may be at risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as some cancers.
Where you live now may be easy for you to navigate and you might feel very comfortable in it now, but think about how that may change as you get older. A big house with lots of stairs to climb may present a serious challenge if you have a health or physical problem. A big home with lots of rooms to clean and maintain won’t be ideal and also it will be costly to run. Have a look at your living arrangements and if you want to stay where you are, then have a look at modifications you could make to your house for safety reasons. Alternatively, think now about downsizing or moving in with friends or family members and looking into granny flats. Make decisions now about your potential living arrangements, whether your choice in a few years might be to go into a retirement village or an assisted living facility.
Some of us welcome the prospect of retirement. With the opportunity to kick back after years of toiling away at work, that retirement date can’t come fast enough. For others, the idea of retirement is something to be feared. As we will discuss in this article, there are worries that prevail, some of them tied in with the prospect of aging. Sadly, we can’t freeze time, so we do have to face up to our retirement fears, but there are ways to reduce them.
Retirement Fear #1: Diminishing health
Some of us fear retirement because we are afraid of the corresponding health issues around aging. We worry about losing our physical and mental faculties. We worry that we won’t be able to cope. And to be honest, these fears are very real, because we won’t always be as fit and able as we might be at present. However, we can take preventative measures to reduce this fear.
Tip: The key to staying healthy is to look after our mind and bodies. By living a healthy lifestyle now, we can reduce the risk of old age health problems, such as arthritis and heart disease. Exercising daily, eating a healthy diet, and cutting out unhealthy bad habits, are just a few of the ways to counter any problems in the future. And we can continue to do this as we age, living a healthy lifestyle in our advancing years, staying fit with senior exercises, and making sure we eat well. Regular checkups with our doctor is a must too, as any long-term health issues can be dealt with early if any warning signs are noticed.
Retirement Fear #2: Money matters
Another common fear is not having enough money to retire with. With a lack of a regular income, there will be concerns around those basic things, such as paying the bills and stocking the food cupboard, and there will be fears about not having enough money to pay for those nicer things in life to make retirement less undesirable. This is a fear many of us have, regardless of retirement, but for the long-term future, we can put things in place to make our lives easier.
Tip: To reduce your financial worries, you need to sort out your finances early. Choose the right retirement account for you, be that independent or something affiliated with your workplace, and add to it as much as possible with any savings you can make on a weekly basis. You might want to look into ways to increase your income too, perhaps by moving into a better-paid career, working towards promotion in your current workplace, and/or by taking on a side-hustle to boost what you regularly earn. And even after retirement, you might still be able to find part-time work, as providing you are healthy enough, there are some jobs perfect for retirees. As with your physical and mental health, the onus is on you to reduce this fear, so get your finances in order now, speak to a financial advisor if you need to, and then consider any money-making opportunities you can take on before and after retirement.
Retirement Fear #3: Losing independence
Closely affiliated with health problems around aging, this is another common fear for many of us. We don’t want to be reliant on others, but if we aren’t well enough to manage after retirement, we might have to be. However, the prospect isn’t as bleak as you might imagine.
Tip: Again, one way to counter to loss of independence is to take care of your health. If you can make the effort to live an active and healthy lifestyle, you should then be able to live longer, without the support and care of others. However, even if you do lose some of your ability to manage completely alone, there are solutions. Many retirement villages offer independent living, so while medical support and care will be available to you, there will be no need to completely give up on the idea of losing independence entirely. And thanks to advances in technology, it is also possible to continue living at home for longer, without the need to rely on family and friends for round-the-clock care. Consider the options available to you, and then speak to your family about them, so they are fully appreciative of your need for independence.
Many older people become isolated, especially when a partner passes away, and this can lead to a decline in health. For those people who thrive on social company, the fear of loneliness is of particular concern. Thankfully, this can be alleviated, as isolation does not have to become the norm for anybody, regardless of age.
Tip: If you are of able mind and body after retirement, it is possible to avoid loneliness, be that through meeting up with friends and family, joining social groups that are designed for those of an elderly age, and by volunteering within the community. Thanks to advances in tech, you can keep in touch with others when you’re at home, using Skype, FaceTime, etc. to talk to your friends and family. There are often befriending services available in local communities too, and by signing up, you might be able to visit other retirees to give them company or allow for the visit of somebody else to your home. And if you do decide to move out of your home and into a retirement village or other care facility, you will also have the advantage of regular social activities, whether you choose to take part in them or not.
You aren’t getting any younger, so the fear of retirement might be a very real one for you. We hope the suggestions in this article have been useful, but remember to speak to others about your feelings and concerns for further advice and support. By talking to your friends, family, and any professional agencies who may be able to help you, the prospect of retirement might become less of a problem for you.
Let us know what you think, and if you have any advice for any of our readers, perhaps because you have beaten your retirement fears, be sure to share any words of wisdom with us.