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5 Easy Ways to Make Senior Retirement a Bliss

5 Important Keys to Retirement Bliss

 

What a happy and satisfying retirement looks like for baby boomers in the 21st century

 

How do you imagine your retirement 20 to 30 years from now? Do you see yourself in a tropical paradise hotel basking in the summer sun? Are you thinking of taking up music lessons or learning a new language? Will you continue to exercise every day or will you just relax and watch some films and series all day? Maybe you would also want to get another degree or finish your Ph.D.

In the past, the definition of retirement for most Americans equals quitting their toxic job at last and living a life of freedom and relaxation. While this is ideal, more and more baby boomers think this definition is passé. Instead, they believe that the following scenarios are what makes a happy and satisfying retirement in the 21st century. Try planning, your future around these keys to retirement bliss.

 

Retirement Happiness #1. Being healthy beyond your years.

In 2014, a study conducted by Meryl Lynch and Age Wave shows that retirees nowadays consider health as the number one key to having a happy and satisfying retirement. Out of 3,200 retirees and turning retirees all over the country, 81 percent of them think that happiness can be achieved only if they are free from worries and concerns about their health and health care costs.

The researchers believe that this is, due in part to the acquired trait of boomers and incoming retirees - being health buffs and overly demanding health care consumers. When compared to the previous “silent generation”, boomers are four times more active in researching information about their own health. 75 percent of them are also proactive in handling their health issues. They exercise regularly, tend to treat their doctors as partners in health, and are most likely to be open in trying alternative treatments (acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic treatments etc.)

In other words, most boomers have become health advocates and they are bringing this trait towards retirement. What makes them unhappy is the possibility of incurring health issues along the way. Most of the study’s respondents say that their biggest financial fear is the ever increasing healthcare costs and not being prepared enough to deal with it.

 

Therefore, health is happiness so you better invest in it. Take the following advice:

-No matter what age you are in right now, it is best to start living a healthy lifestyle and quitting bad habits such as vices, smoking, drugs etc. This way, you can ensure your well-being and maintain your vitality even beyond your final years.  

-Be informed of public and private healthcare insurance and benefits you can avail so you can be sure to be covered when the time comes you’ll need it. If you see a possibility of needing long-term care, you should get insured in your 50s.

-Expect that most of your nest egg will probably go to health care expenses so you should estimate how much you’ll spend out of your pocket and how much insurance and Medicare can cover for possible costs. According to a survey by Health View Services, 45-year-old couples who expect to retire at 65 will most likely spend $592,275 in health care expenses. In a decade or more, that would amount to $1.6 million with the inflation. Prepare earlier so you can include this projected cost to your retirement savings.

-Don’t forget to discuss health concerns in retirement with your spouse and your family. Your health is their happiness, as well as their health, is yours. When you bring it up with your family, more ideas and suggestions will pop up and you all can create a doable contingency plan to avert unforeseen health problems and the possible costs it may incur. By doing this, your mind will be at ease that whenever a health problem may arise you are all prepared for it.  

 

Retirement Happiness #2: Being Financially Secure

In the same study cited above, financial security comes second to health. More than half of the respondents believe that having a large nest egg will bring happiness to them in retirement.

Being financially secured in retirement decreases unhappy thoughts and anxiety about health care costs, outliving their nest egg, and insufficient personal savings, pension, and social security.

In a similar study conducted by NorthWestern Mutual, 91 percent of retired respondents who say they are happy living the rest of their lives, are those who were able to plan their financial futures well in their younger years.

Planning your financial security is a very daunting task. Ameriprise survey says only 52 percent of pre-retirees were able to do it. But if you want to live a happily ever after life in retirement, you need to plan. This means, planning and securing your retirement income plan decades before you turn senior.  It involves being disciplined in setting your goals, creating a strategy to meet them, and following through with your plans. Here’s what you should contemplate including in your plan:

-Calculate how much your 401(k) and other employer insurance accounts will be when you convert it into monthly retirement income.

-Check how much you’ll get from pension plans and Social Security.

-Keep fattening up your retirement savings (for future out-of-pocket costs)

-Know your average cost of living and lifestyle and adjust it depending on your retirement income and savings. This includes capping your lavish lifestyle if your nest egg couldn’t accommodate it.

-If you add it all up, set a cap on how much you will withdraw from your accounts per year. Most financial gurus will advise following Benge’s 4 percent rule. If you withdraw 4 – 4.5 percent of your retirement savings every year, your nest egg may last up to 30 years.

-Prioritize planning where to get money for these three types of expenses that will surely deplete your nest egg: Health Care, Taxes, and Food. Whatever’s left, you can allocate to traveling, hobbies and other things you want to do or spend on that would make your life complete.

 

Retirement Happiness #3: Being surrounded by loved ones

In the Age Wave survey, having loving family and friends is the third important ingredient to a happy retirement. True enough, another study confirms this claim. A research from Stanford Center on Longevity proves that being socially connected improves the physical and mental health of most retirees. At the same time, isolation increases the risk of health and personal problems among them. The researchers even conclude that the effects of social isolation are as worse as smoking.

Keeping your family close and your social life active can really brighten up the rest of your life. Always find ways to cultivate healthy relationships with your spouse, children, grandchildren, and friends. Here are some ways to keep them.

-SPOUSE. Retirees living with their spouses also face difficulties in retirement. While marriage boosts people’s personal well-being and health, some may find it hard to maintain it during retirement.   Since jobs usually kept couples apart for several hours a day, adjusting to the situation wherein all they see and talk to is each other may be toxic. To deal with this, marriage experts say that couples should always talk frankly about their retirement plans, dreams and label them accordingly if those are doable depending on their budget and their personal preference. Maybe the wife doesn’t want to go to Bali and the husband really does. Do they go together or can they travel alone? Both should be enthusiastic in their every decision and ready to compromise. While always taking the time to experience awesome escapades together is beneficial to both, taking time off of each other now and then also helps. Couples should also give each other space and time to other people they want to talk to and other activities they want to do alone.

 

-GRANDKIDS. With grandchildren to bond with, grandparents can help their adult children raise their kids properly, create memorable memories, and pass on their family values and traditions. A study also confirms that spending time with grannies and grandkids provides positive health benefits for both. The found that grandparents who take care of their grandchildren once a week have lower risks of developing dementia and Alzheimers.

 

-ADULT KIDS. Sadly, a lot of American families suffer from parental estrangement, a “silent epidemic wherein parents and their adult children find it hard to communicate with each other for decades and even until their demise. Nobody wants this, but due to negative parenting experiences such as abuse, neglect, or differing core values, forgiving a parent for his or her mistakes is sometimes an impossible feat. However, experts say that no matter how unyielding both are, they can eventually come around and forgive each other and reconcile (except for cases of abuse). They say that the keys to forgiveness are perseverance, anger management and humility.

 

-FRIENDS. Some retirees find it hard to maintain their friends and meet new one when they retire. We usually get friends from work or in your neighborhood. But once a retiree decides to live in a different place or abroad (due to financial and personal reasons), they will always find themselves lost in how to build their social circle again. According to a study from Stanford Center on Longevity, most baby boomers show signs of disengagement from the “usual modes of social relationships”, especially those who relocate. One way to deal with this is to join and volunteer with organizations that you are passionate about. This way, you can find like minded people with similar ideals as you. New friends, you can hang out with and talk to about your interests and experiences. Another way to build your social contacts is through part-time work, support groups and social media groups.

 

Retirement Happiness #4: Giving Back

In a recent study from Age Well, more and more boomers are likely to volunteer or donate money to help people in need. Based on their survey’s result, retirees tend to be generous with their money and time because it gives them happiness (66%), sense of purpose (59%), self-esteem (57%), and improved health (50%).

Their study also reveals that retirees are about six times more likely to equate their personal success based on the number of times they helped in charities or donated to a cause, rather than on the number of zeros in their bank accounts.

 

Popular volunteer activities that most retirees devote their time and effort to are:

-Helping poor people build their homes with Habitat for Humanity.

-Helping Troops, Military Families, and Veterans

-Helping school teachers tend to children

-“Voluntourism”, touring while helping nongovernment organizations implement projects in impoverished countries.

-Feeding the homeless and hungry in poor countries and those affected by the economic recession.

-Helping with packing, distributing goods during disaster relief operations

-Campaigning for issues, causes, political gains and rights (NoNukes, gay rights, women’s rights, NotoWar campaigns, Animal Rights)

-Giving free legal advice to organizations, causes, and individuals needing it.

 

 

Retirement Happiness #5: Trying new things

By the time you reach your 60s, you should already have a bucket list of new things you want to try and experience.   You can include at the top of your list the passions that you let go in your younger years so you could focus on your careers, such as playing the drums or painting. This is now the time to discover the other side of you – the person that your job kept away from you.  Here are some of the popular things and activities on the bucket list of retirees:

-Learn new musical instruments, arts and crafts and foreign language.

-Take college classes or finish a second degree or Ph.D.

-Go to places never been before (abroad, great wall of china, tourist sites, cruise ships, hotels, casinos, northern lights)

-Urban farming

-Help kids and grandkids with DIY projects.

-Write a memoir

-Ride trains, hot air balloon, jet plane, roller coasters, skateboard, elephants etc.  


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