If you are reading this blog, you’re either thinking about retirement or enduring it. Either way, read on! Some look at the “golden years” apprehensively, as if any change, even a good one, might be about as enjoyable (or as exciting) as boiled spinach. Others think they want to retire…until they do.
The change from gainful employment to every day a Saturday impacts your life in several ways:
- Income changes
- Health insurance changes
- Activities of daily living change dramatically
Let’s look at each one. Income. Most of us aren’t sure just how much we’ll have at retirement until we actually retire. Bear in mind that pensions are fixed, and Social Security offers few increases for the AGI. Guess low.
Medicare requires a translator even for a college-educated health professional. Find a retirement consultant you like for advice, with prescriptions in hand. The balancing act of a Medicare Advantage plan is like gambling with a roulette wheel. You trade lower monthly costs for the advantage of having good health, but one major incident changes your pre-existing conditions and preempts you from a change in plan. Medicare is not for the faint in heart, no pun intended. Don’t try to navigate these uncharted waters without guidance.
The infinity of free time holds the key to both of the above. Find meaningful, hopefully profitable ways to employ your time at your own discretion. I have four side gigs to contribute income, offer me stimulation, and improve my life. I started with one, of course. I made glass beads and sold them at trade shows. China flooded the market with cheap beads and that ended that. In all honesty, it proved to be very labor intensive, and it probably needed to disappear anyway, much as I loved it What I discovered is that life is not stagnant. Your interests change, your energy and health dictate what you can do, and that’s okay. Now that I juggle four interests, time management requires budgeting my hours, but I’m good with that. I don’t sit still well anyway.
The long and short of it is simple. You spent many a year preparing for a career, and many a year building a career. Spend some time preparing for and building an enjoyable retirement. Don’t assume you can retire on Friday and fill Monday with meaningful activity–you can only reorganize your sock drawer so many times. Closing your eyes and peeking out to see if you’ll like it is not a good retirement plan. I am finding ways to enjoy this season of my life despite the curve balls and losses, and think that all of us could…with some preparation. Enjoy your retirement. Don’t just endure it.