People are living longer. People are retiring longer. People are working longer. People are retiring later. People are retiring sooner. Retirement is a whole new bag, geared to adjust to any new way people want their retirement to be.
The retirement vision of Americans over the age of 65 has changed dramatically. No more gold watch and an easy rocking chair. People today are very active. Retirees today want to pursue personal goals, expand their horizons, enjoy life, learn new things, go to new places, start a business and totally enjoy their new found freedom. Retirees are healthier today, thus living longer and in turn want to age in place in their own homes. This capable fact can help keep retirement health costs down considerably. Thanks to new technological advances, many retirees can remain in their own homes and avoid the burden of long-term care fees and/or nursing home fees.
Retiring later, living longer and healthier can also be a boom to those seniors who were unable, for whatever reason, to save adequately for their own retirements. According to this NY Times article (click here) the average Baby Boomer might have saved $152,000 in median retirement funds. Trying to stretch $152,000 across potentially 25 years or more years in retirement is going to be tough. Staying healthy, working longer, delaying social security benefits may just be the ticket to a successful retirement.
Retirement isn’t a permanent vacation. Once the initial dust settles, life goes on. Bills have to be paid, homes have to be maintained, investments have to be decided upon, grandchildren need our attention, as do our friends, family, spouses and/or significant others. Retirement has many challenges as well as health concerns to be mastered. Most times, you have to learn how to live on a budget. Sacrifices may have to be made.
I’ve been retired now for almost 18 years. People used to ask me all the time: “But what do you do all day?” The answer was always simple: I live. I get to do whatever it is I want to do. I get to choose how I want to do it. I get to decide if I want to do it at all. I get to try new things, go new places, start a new hobby, end an old hobby, continue with or without a hobby. I get to read. I get to watch movies. Or not. I get to be with nature. I can listen to the wind in the trees. I can watch an ant move a leaf. But the best thing about retirement is this: I get to sleep however and whichever I want. I can stay up late. I can sleep late. I can get up early (which I do) and then I can go back to sleep till noon (which I sometimes do also!).
Retirement isn’t an end destination. It’s all part of your life journey. Retirement is all about change and staying the same. It’s a time to think about what we can do, not what we can’t or couldn’t do. It’s a time when you don’t care what other people think or say about you. It’s a time to be and look as confident as you’ll ever be because it just may be the first time in your life you accepted yourself as you truly are: wrinkles and bat wings and all!