Millions of Americans nearing their golden years enter retirement financially unprepared. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, “50% of women and 47% of men between the ages of 55 and 66 have no retirement savings.”
Unfortunately, this means millions of Americans enter retirement in a life-or-death situation, sometimes needing to hold down two jobs, working 10-12 hours a day.
The best thing to do is start early. That’s excellent advice. But what if you didn’t? The good news is that it’s still not too late to take charge of your finances to create financial stability.
The following six tips for transitioning into retirement will reduce financial uncertainty and make the process less uncomfortable if you have some catching up to do.
Reduce Financial Risks Now
Recent studies1 have revealed five major financial risks facing retirees: policy risk, market risk, health risk, longevity risk, and family risk.
Of these five, which two do you think rank consistently at the top? You guessed it: longevity risks (outliving resources) and health risks (medical bills/long-term care).
When preparing for retirement, try not to underestimate how long you think you’ll live, be realistic regarding healthcare expenses, and acknowledge the possibility of needing assistance later in life.
In addition, one of the absolute best things you can do to reduce healthcare costs and maintain your independence is to take good care of yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). Why? To increase the likelihood of aging gracefully, potentially reducing your medical needs and other costs later.
Track Your Spending
Start monitoring how much you spend each month before you retire to understand your monetary needs, especially if you want to maintain your current standard of living.
You’ll be surprised to find stuff you’re spending money on that you don’t really want or need. You’ll reduce spending and start saving.
Even if you have no money worries, it’s wise to know where your money goes because maybe you’d rather it go towards supporting something that matters more to you.
Either way, monitoring your spending helps avoid unwanted surprises down the road.
Prevention is King
Start making your health and well-being a top priority if you haven’t already; you’re worth it!
The difference between enjoying your retirement or suffering through it with aches, pains, and low energy usually boils down to lifestyle choices.
So, please add physical activity to each day, even if it’s just walking. Besides, walking is a great stress reducer; it calms your mind.
Regarding your diet, add a “rainbow of food” to your menu to fuel your body with health-replenishing nutrients.
Remember to take time to live life now! Pursue hobbies, enjoy time with people you love, cherish the moments, and savor life!
Life doesn’t start tomorrow or even at retirement!
Life is happening now.
Everything we just mentioned could lengthen your life, reduce the risk of disease, prevent illness and injury, and help improve your quality of life.
Retire From … Retire To…
Work consumes most of your time. So, what will you do with all that time when you retire?
Creating a schedule for yourself that incorporates healthy habits into your daily routine is a game-changer because it grounds you.
According to a study for Psychology of Aging, “the retirement transition is multi-dimensional. The transition involves two developmental challenges: adjustment to the loss of the work role and the social ties of work, and the development of a satisfactory postretirement lifestyle.” 2
Anticipating these changes and preparing for them in advance increases your chances for a happy retirement because you won’t just be retiring from something; you’ll be retiring to something.
People get so used to being busy that they don’t know what to do with themselves when there’s nothing to do.
It’s easy to waste time when that happens.
We need to learn to relax and unwind without our noses stuck in a screen, which is usually our phones, it seems.
Learning to relax may sound silly, but many people are so conditioned to be busy that suddenly having free time can lead to an identity crisis.
Consider meditation and prayer… just learning to sit and be still, exploring your faith, praying, reflecting on life.
Learning to relax and be still, without any distractions, boosts our health in many ways and eases us into retirement, especially emotionally.
Don’t Wait To Enjoy
Don’t put off living your life.
Why put off living your life now? Why wait for later?
There are no guarantees in life. Tomorrow may or may not come, let alone ten or twenty years from now.
If you want to avoid regrets, then make today matter. Start unlocking your best life now, and double down when retirement begins!
Fill your moments with things you’ve long wanted to try.
Be engaged, stay curious, keep your body in motion, cultivate your energy and vitality, and take charge of your life, time, and finances now! No more excuses. Don’t wait for tomorrow!
Not only will this help you transition smoothly into retirement, you’ll be creating a life that matters and is worth living today and throughout your golden years.
1. Hou, W. (n.d.). How Well Do Retirees Assess The Risks They Face in Retirement? Center for Retirement Research. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/IB_22-10.pdf
2. van Solinge, H., & Henkens, K. (2008). Adjustment to and satisfaction with retirement: two of a kind?. Psychology and aging, 23(2), 422–434. https://doi.org/10.1037/0882-79184.108.40.2062
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