3 Things That Won't Change in Retirement
It’s nearly here. Retirement. Sometimes, it may seem you’ve been planning, prepping and worrying about your retirement for ages. If retirement is close, you may already see yourself out on the golf course, sleeping late, or moving to the south of France. Before that happens though, it’s good to take a breath and review three big things that won’t change as you move into retirement. Addressing these three can have a major effect on the quality of your retirement.
1. Use it or Lose it: Your Health is a Priority
Good health should always be top of the list for everyone, regardless of age. But we all know that when life gets hectic, taking care of ourselves can quickly drop to the bottom of the list. The difference in retirement and later life is that poor health can very quickly alter our plans and effect everything. Good health and mobility allow you to travel, to stay in your own home, to maintain independence and security longer.
80% of Adults 65 or over have one chronic disease and 68% have two or more.[i]
Common ailments include arthritis, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension. The two largest killers of people 65 or older are heart disease and cancer.[ii] The good news is, being proactive regarding your overall health can make a huge difference. Nutritious diets, quitting no smoking, exercise, and regular checkups can drastically change your health. Better eating and living can be incorporated into your new (more open) schedule. Remember too that mental health is equally important as 1 in 4 adults suffers from some sort of mental disorder.[iii] Getting yourself out there, continuing to learn, delving into artistic endeavors and having hobbies can enrich your life. Meditation and stress management may help. Checking in with yourself and being able to talk openly with trusted friends, family or health care professionals is also important. 20% of suicides are in people over the age of 65, with white males being particularly at risk.[iv] This information is not here to bum you out but rather to motivate. Your health inside and out will shape your retirement. Investing in it can only help.
2. Quality over Quantity: Make Happiness and Relationships a Priority
Now that you’ve committed to taking care of yourself, the next step is building your relationships. Loneliness and isolation can be as bad (or worse) than smoking or obesity for long-term health. [v] It’s easy to take for granted the social aspects of working and the busyness of raising kids. But as a retired person, you may find your social calendar, and even the contact list in your phone a little vacant. If you are in a relationship, this is also a new chapter with your partner. You’ve had your routines for a long time and adjusting to the new normal may take some time and work. The good news is that you have that time! This is a wonderful opportunity to nurture old relationships and start new ones. A great way to make friends is through shared interests, so getting involved in your community, going back to school, volunteering, mentoring, exploring larger roles in your church or social club can get you out there and socializing. Your retirement is not just the end of something, but also the start of something new. You’ve worked hard at your career and possibly raising a family, now is the time to really focus on you. You have the time to dedicate, you just need to decide what to use it for.
3. Financial Security Long Term
Now you have your health in order and your social life, great, the next step is making sure your retirement is financially sustainable. If you’ve spent decades squirreling away and budgeting, fantastic! But a lot of folks will be entering their retirement worried that they don’t have enough. Baby Boomers are retiring with more debt and higher mortgages than their parents.[vi] On top of that, only 23% have the security of a pension to cover their retirement years.[vii] If you are worried about your long-term financial health, talking to a professional may be a good place to start. A certified financial advisor who specializes in retirement planning can look over what you have and what you need and get you on track. While you are still working, you may want to focus on paying down your debts, ideally reaching retirement as debt free as possible. This is also the time to look at your lifestyle and expenses: your house, your cars, all of it, and start cutting down. Downsizing to a smaller, more economical home that will allow you to age in place comfortably may be a better choice than staying in the big family home. Ideally, you want to be saving and paying down before you retire and have a fixed income. It’s hard to anticipate the unexpected but being prepared can save a lot of trouble down the line. Having emergency savings, an up to date estate and named beneficiaries can stave off a lot of stress and heartaches.
Peace of Mind
You want to retire as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Taking the time, while still working, to start making healthier choices, shoring up relationships and preparing financially will help to do that. To your happy retirement!
About the Author
Carroll W. “Bill” Hayes, MBA, CFP® Mr. Hayes started his financial career at Merrill Lynch in 1989. In 1992, Bill left Merrill Lynch for Fidelity Investments. During his career at Fidelity Investments he held roles in various divisions of Fidelity. Those roles included positions in the Trust, 401(k), Brokerage, and Money Management divisions. Bill held management positions at Fidelity and in 2001 led a Private Access team based in Boston. In the Private Access role his responsibilities included managing a book of business in excess of $3 Billion and a client base that was international in scope.
In 2008 Bill established Charles Carroll Financial Partners. The firm is an Independent FeeOnly Financial Planning and Investment Management firm. Charles Carroll Financial Partners embraces its fiduciary responsibility to its clients.
Bill is a graduate of Marquette University, and holds an MBA from the Sawyer School of Management. Bill holds the designation, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, and currently presides as a Commissioner on the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. Bill resides in Massachusetts with his wife Christine and travels up and down the East Coast meeting with clients of the firm.