Now That You Are Retired – Don’t Blow It!

Category: Health Issues

June 8, 2016 — Congrats on your retirement, you earned it! Unfortunately a happy retirement doesn’t happen automatically – a lot depends on how staying young and maximizing your happiness every day. This article will share the best research we’ve seen to help you to live longer and get the most out of every moment of retirement.

To write this article we have taken a “Best of the Best” approach. To do that we assembled a list of great articles from around the web on the “secrets” and “mistakes” surrounding retirement. From each one we have picked out what we think is the most important tip or two. The result is a lot of variety in terms of ideas and themes – turns out a happy retirement has many different components.

Staying young in your mind
Is there anything worse than grumpy old people, or folks who We love this article from Grandmagazine on Tips to Avoid Old Fart Syndrome. The author, Karen Beatty, offers 12 tips, and every one of them is great. Here are our 2 favorites:

Tip #1: Verbal repetition gets dull and tiresome. Ask someone to monitor you – do you keep trotting out the same old stories in response to almost any stimulus? Repeating yourself really does date you and make you seem like an old codger.
Tip #2: Don’t attempt to manipulate the larger environment. Try to be more accepting when things don’t go your way. Karen explains: “The royal road to Old Fartdom, in fact, is paved with bricks of grumpy, fussy and resentful.”

On the same theme, here are 2 tips from Topretirements on How Baby Boomers Can Stay Young in Their Minds.
Make friends with people of different ages. Every age has something different to offer, and it’s boring to just have friends your own age. Find someone interesting much younger or older and make a new friend. It will keep you younger, and more interesting.

Avoid the “organ” recital.Ration your talk about your Medical problems. No doubt we all have our physical ailments and medical treatments that take up more of our lives than we would care to. But for heavens sake, there are other things to talk about. Your companions will appreciate it.





Longer Life
Here are some great tips for keeping your body strong and youthful for as long as possible. Bad health can of course strike at any time, but if you don’t take preventative actions, it is a lot more likely to happen sooner.

Balance and Stress Reduction. Barbara Beskind, a 90 year old occupational therapist, has 2 tips in her article “The Surprising Secret of Aging Well“. They are: good posture and a 30 minute walk. She thinks these activities help improve balance and cardiovascular strength, not to mention reducing stress. We agree.

Working longer leads to a longer life. The SquaredAway Blog recently published the results from a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The study found that delaying retirement even one year longer tended to prolong life. It concluded that people working gives people “substantial financial, psycho-social and cognitive resources” to draw upon, while retirement can create stress, anxiety and even depression, especially in countries “where work is highly valued”. We believe that even after you retire, you can get the same healthy contributions you got from work by engaging in meaningful part time and volunteer work.

Do It Now
Do it now before it’s too late.. In our article, How Older People Can Show Us How to Stay Younger, we reported a tip we fervently believe in. The first is to write out your Bucket Lists and get started crossing off items. Experiences and people are often the best things in life. The trip you didn’t take, the grandchild you didn’t visit, the time you could have helped someone, the thrill you missed – all opportunities for happiness and fulfillment lost. Do them now. You may never get the chance again.

Your Financial Life
Having enough resources to enjoy your retirement without worry is high on everyone’s list. So is thinking about what happens after you are gone.
Develop a budget so you know where you stand. The first tip in our article, “7 Things You Must Do Now That You Are Retired“, was to understand and face the state of your finances. The Center for Retirement Research estimate that over half of retirees are at risk for a reduced standard of living in retirement. You need to prepare a detailed budget that lists all your income sources, matched up to your expenses. Once you understand your financial picture you either have to live with it, add income, or reduce expenses.

Create Your Will and Living Will Now. Don’t leave your kids or surviving family members a mess. Act now to clean up what will happen after you are gone, and how you would like the family to act if you need to go on life support. This will bring you peace of mind and your kids will thank you.

Where You Live in Retirement
We encourage you to think carefully about where you live in retirement, this should not be a casual decision, or a no-decision (let inertia rule).
– Don’t build your dream house right away. In our 3 part series on “Retirement Wrecking Mistakes“, one of the biggest is to plunge into building your dream house early in retirement. That’s because chances are you still might not appreciate what your retirement will be like. You are likely to build a home that is too big, too expensive, and not suitable for your needs as you move from a youthful early retirement to life in your 80s and 90s.

Good News – Retirees have more fun and lower stress
A recent Merrill Lynch study found that people aged 65-74 rate themselves as having more fun, lower stress, and are more relaxed than any other age group. With just a little effort, you can be in the same happy boat!

Comments? What are the best tips you have for living a happy and long life in retirement. Please share your ideas, along with your reactions to any of these ideas in the Comments section below!

For further reading:
Tips to Avoid Old Fart Syndrome
How Baby Boomers Can Stay Young in Their Minds.
The Surprising Secret of Aging Well
SquaredAway Blog
How Older People Can Show Us How to Stay Younger
7 Things You Must Do Now That You Are Retired
Retirement Wrecking Mistakes
The Extraordinary Happiness of Retirees




Posted by Admin on June 7th, 2016

37 Comments »

  1. Enjoyed it!

    Here’s a piece I wrote on just that subject – “Six Secrets for a Successful Retirement” http://www.lifelivedforward.com/2013/02/01/secrets-successful-retirement/

    by Jan Cullinane — June 8, 2016

  2. I would highly recommend someone near retirement to check out the “active adult” type of communities. My wife and I visited 11 such communities in CA, NV and AZ. We chose Del Webb’s Sun City Festival in Buckeye, AZ. This is northwest of Phoenix. You can be as busy as you want and at times find yourself “overbooked”. We play pickleball, bocce ball, water volleyball and table tennis. We also attend computer workshops via ASU program within our center, play chess and many card games to play. Then there is the wine and beer club we attend such club activities. About 35 charter clubs in our community. You can do “stay and plays” here where you stay in a vacation model house on site with full rights in the community during your stay. A great, low key sales associate is Ms. Elaine Ransom who can be reached at 928-252-6521. When speaking with her you can have her contact me and my wife and I happy to join you at the Indigo Grill (our onsite restaurant) for a drink or meal and you can ask us resident type of questions. We are so happy we retired to resort style living at our community, Bill Baptista

    by BillyBap of AZ — June 8, 2016

  3. All good advice, although the comments about deferring on building your dream home are vaguely insulting. The best way to avoid building a too-big, too expensive and unsuitable-for-aging home is to use all the resources available — like Jan’s articles — and don’t build an unsuitable home. Sure, some retirees want to validate and show off all the money they’ve made by building a retirement McMansion, and they will be able to weather the expenses; not worried about them. But many of the rest of us have read the “Not So Big House” and similar books, and are well aware of the shortcomings of living in a large home. Also, in visiting and reviewing almost 200 golf communities in the Southeast over the last 10 years, every new home I’ve seen has a master bedroom and bath on the first floor and other characteristics relevant to 60 somethings; builders know their audiences. More importantly, most retirees are smart enough to balance their dreams with their best interests. Land is still extraordinarily cheap in most areas of the South; if you want to go straight from a career to your dream home, laid out the way you have always have envisioned it, enjoy it while your are still “young.” You (we, I’m 68) deserve it.

    by Larry — June 8, 2016

  4. As I approach “retirement” (I’m 66) as one who hasn’t saved enough, the main thing that eats at me is “Do it Now”. I have such a nice list of things I want to do but can not afford to stop working to do them. I need to wait until I am 70 to maximize social security, but worry about how my health might deteriorate in the next four years, cutting things I want and can do now from the list. Not to mention being a bit burned out on full time work…It’s a problem with no real solution, since the solution lies deep in the past.

    by Tim — June 8, 2016

  5. Tim,
    Not sure what is on your list of things to do but maybe there is a way to do miniature versions of what you’d like to do now instead of waiting 4 years. Like if you wanted to go on a vacation, maybe you could take a long (4-5 day weekend Wednesday-Sunday) and try to do it as frugal as possible. If you’d like to take some college courses, you could take one course at a time so you wouldn’t be bogged down with it and working a job too. Give us some ideas of what your interests are, maybe we can think of ways for you to get some bang from your buck now! There are so many free things to do that might not be on your list. My town has free concerts on our Village Green in the summer. You bring folding chairs, blankets, food and enjoy an evening of music. If you have any National Parks in your area or within a days drive you can buy a pass for $20 and you can use it for life for all the National Parks. Here is the application for anyone interested: https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/upload/-Final-OMB-Approved-Senior-Pass-App80-pdf.pdf

    by Louise — June 8, 2016

  6. I really enjoyed this article as I am struggling to “find my way” in this new part of my life….well written and helpful! love ur newsletter!

    by Valerie — June 9, 2016

  7. Tim, it really depends what sort of retirement you are needing. If you want to do a lot of traveling you’ll need more money….but if you can get by with less you can start earlier than 70. If you have equity in a home you can downsize to make up the difference. For me retiring at 62 or waiting until 70 came out to be a difference of $78 monthly…..not much of a difference…..

    by Mary Jane — June 9, 2016

  8. Mary Jane, Good points you have made! Also, if Tim’s house is paid for he could consider a Reverse Mortgage and take the equity in cash money to finance his retirement. As you pointed out, downsizing whether from a bigger house to a smaller one or from an expensive apartment to a cheaper one could help. Collecting SS and working part time could be an option too.

    by Louise — June 9, 2016

  9. Tim,
    If you live in an expensive city with over the top property values, income and/or sales taxes, consider moving. I did. I worked for the City of Portland, OR and lived in Vancouver, WA and realized that taxes and expenses were going to eat me alive after retirement so I moved to middle Tennessee. I found the property of my dreams for an extremely reasonable price. Not only could I not find what I have now but I couldn’t have afforded it in the Pacific NW. I had visited a friend in TN half dozen times for the 10 years leading to retirement, so I knew what I was getting into. There was an adjustment period of about a year but things are going well now. I don’t miss the rain, grey skies, high taxes, traffic or all the rude people. This is just my story and I realize relocation is not for everyone but I’m now living and not existing due to the cheaper cost of just about everything.

    by Maureen — June 9, 2016

  10. Maureen,

    Would you mind reveling the name of the city/town you moved to in Tennessee? We now live in Portland Oregon and are looking for a much cheaper place to live, as you well understand.
    thank you.

    by Jodeen — June 10, 2016

  11. How about coastal Oregon? Apts start at $500…..

    by Mary Jane — June 11, 2016

  12. All,

    It is not necessarily just the selection of a State but where in the state. We relocated to South Carolina when my job moved me here. We considered North Carolina but their tax structure and other costs are way to high for those of us on fixed incomes.
    Now that I am retired I find that the area around charlotte is lacking in cheap things to do. Everything we like is 2 to four hour drive. Property near the coats is very reasonable. Property in the Greenville area is also reasonable and close to the mountains and Lake Hartwell which is a huge lake on the border of Georgia and SC.

    Politics are very right wing unless you live in a city area like Greenville or Hilton Head… Temperature os hot hot hot in the summer and nice in the winter.

    by Ron — June 11, 2016

  13. Jodeen, Coming from Portland, one thing to consider is simply terrain. I have moved many times including from the mountains of western Virginia near the TN state line. The move that I made from that area to No. Va. near Washington DC (basically flat land) was surprisingly difficult. I very much missed the mountains though I had only lived there for two years. I think this is generally temporary, but in my case, the feeling lasted for years.

    Tennessee has huge differences in terrain. East Tennessee has some of the highest mountains in the eastern US (though low compared to the Sierras). Western TN (Nashville and west) is basically flat land. I personally like the area from Knoxville east and particularly Johnson City.

    As with every state, you would find differences from OR. Basically politically conservative. Low income tax, but high sales tax.

    by Rich — June 11, 2016

  14. Ron: Are you planning on going East or West (or maybe even North again?) I was relocated to the Charlotte area for work too. I’m 1-2 years away from retirement, and trying to figure out where to go next. There are some great things about this area, but it is also a little too congested for me.

    by Kate — June 12, 2016

  15. Kate, Charlotte is by far the most congested area of NC. Fayetteville and the Research Triangle Area (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) have some traffic issues also. But when we moved back to this area from No. Va. with a commute into Washington, we laughed when we heard about what the radio said was a backup. We found four cars ahead of us at the point described.

    Get out of the cities or even simply avoid rush hour and most of NC is relatively congestion free.

    by Rich — June 12, 2016

  16. Kate,

    I have been looking around a lot, obviously that is why we are on this blog. Moving North seems to have huge tax disadvantages. The two states that seems best are Georgia and South Carolina.
    I’ve lived in south Florida for several years and I loved to be able to walk to the beach and have my boat in the backyard but prices have skyrocketed in Boca Raton and nearby areas.

    I’m researching the Hilton Head area, and also southern Georgia but have not found anything that really entices me yet.

    I don’t think I could ever get my wife back into snow country.
    I’ll post if I find that ideal area.

    by Ron — June 13, 2016

  17. I have heard Tennessee is a retirement friendly state but have not done enough research.
    Has anyone out there reviewed the Pro’s and Con’s of Tenn? Iknow they have no income tax but there are a lot of other taxes that can really bite into your limited retirement funds.

    by Ron — June 13, 2016

  18. Ron, last time I tried to answer on this forum I wrote out an informative, lengthy and detailed post. Took about an hour to gather all the information. When I went to post it the website told me I was too “spamy”, they are not to “big on spam”, and deleted the entire post. Didn’t even leave it on the screen so I could slice and dice it into smaller posts… just GONE. That post was an answer for a lady asking about retiring in Virginia and asking about certain cities.

    I have some things I wrote about retirement costs and Tennessee that I can send you if you want. Just encrypt (to avoid email harvesters) an email address here and I will send it to you. Something like john smith attt someaddress dottt kom, where I know to replace the attt, dottt and kom with the correct stuff.

    by Art Bonds — June 14, 2016

  19. Hi Art,
    I’m wondering if i’m the ‘lady’ you wrote that post for. Whether i am or not, i’m so sorry we all never got to read it. I value the information in your posts (and Rich’s) so much! One thought on writing a long post is to do it in MS Word first. Then, you can save it and not have to start all over again.

    Another thought – Elizabethton compared to Jonesborough or Greeneville TN? I never visited the latter as i heard a negative, but yesterday it was brought back to my consider list.

    Thanks!

    by ella — June 14, 2016

  20. Art, I’ve had various issues with several sites on losing large posts. I bet you’ve already learned to save or write those responses in a simple editor first and then try to post. I use Notepad, but any editor or word processor can work.

    I think I responded to the request you got from Va, but my information on TN is limited. I’m very interested and hope you’ll send your info to me also. That would be richpbg att gmail dtt kom. I suspect the lady in Va. may contact you also. :<)

    by Rich — June 14, 2016

  21. Hi Ella. The lady in VA *if I remember correctly* was from the North East and wanted information about a few cities in VA. Husband was retired Navy. She lived there (VA) quite a few years ago and wondered if it was now too crowded. All I had was a bunch of links to things like housing, utilities, expenses, etc, nothing that could not be dug up using Google Fu. No first hand knowledge at all from me.

    Hey Rich your message is in the email. If I put enough epostage on it you should receive it esoon.

    Art

    by Art Bonds — June 14, 2016

  22. ella, sorry but I have no specific personal information on any of those towns, other than I can say I have at least passed through Greeneville. The other two I haven’t even driven through.

    by Art Bonds — June 14, 2016

  23. Thanks, Art! House is close to being sold, so i’ll discover the answer to those questions soon myself. Then i can share!

    by ella — June 15, 2016

  24. Art, As I responded directly to you, I much enjoyed your thoughts on TN and how it relates to VA and NC. Well worth the read. It confirmed for me what I had decided and showed me better than ever before that the choice between the three states is largely what appeals to you individually.

    Ella, it’s well worth asking Art for his information. Also, I have traveled through Elizabethton many times over the past 40 years and, while it is an attractive nook back in the mountains, I have to say that traffic is a real thorn. Residents may have ways around, but I’ve done some Google searching and still end up going through the strangle downtown. Road updates have occurred, but just seem to increase the burden.

    I can’t help with Jonesborough or Greenville, but certainly neither town is a little Chicago. My own thoughts bolstered by Art’s (though he barely mentioned the place), lead me to Johnson City. A small city with beautiful scenery (just down the road from Elizabethton), continuously evolving while retaining its essential character, home of East Tenn State Univ and Mountain Home National Cemetary (where my parents are interred — I always knew I would keep returning to this beautiful part of the country), I think the location is near ideal (and only an hour at most from VA or NC). While completely happy with our decision to retire here in central NC, Johnson City is the one place that I continue to look back on with any regret that we never specifically gave it a try.

    by Rich — June 15, 2016

  25. Rich
    We have been looking at Eastern Tennessee and central to western North Carolina now for several years. I’ve been able to get a lot of information from here and the posters do give good information!
    WWe need to stay fairly close to a VA HOSPITAL. Where in central North Carolina did you decide on?

    by Virginia — June 15, 2016

  26. Rich, Thanks so much for reaching out to me! I’m surprised about traffic in Elizabethton. I would have thought it would be Johnson City that had the traffic. The person who inspected my house plans to retire to Elizabethton. I was so surprised to find someone here (NYS) who knew about the town. What he liked, and what appeals to me, is that you would have the amenities and conveniences of Johnson City, while having the rural environment of Elizabethton. He also mentioned downtown cafes, etc. in Elizabethton.

    Your thoughts on the above would be much appreciated. Thanks, again!

    by ella — June 16, 2016

  27. Virginia,

    http://www.mountainhome.va.gov/

    Johnson City, TN.

    by Art Bonds — June 16, 2016

  28. Virginia, Conveniently, Art listed the major VA hospital at Mountain Home. In NC there are VA hospitals at Durham, Salisbury, and Asheville. I don’t have experience with any of these, but I can say that the Natl Cem at Mtn. Home is very well run and has kept improving its standards over the years. We laid my father there in 1980 and my mother just three years ago, so I have continuous awareness of the area in that time. I also have had good support from the VA (not the hospital per se) in Durham. I tend to believe that good service in one area of an organization tends to suggest good service in other areas within the same vicinity.

    Ella, My knowledge of Elizabethton is limited to passing through — over and over through the years. I find it to be attractive and apparently thriving, but two major local arteries — 19-E and US 321 cross/merge at Elizabethton leading to the traffic. As I said, locals may know how to get around, but if you are interested, I would suggest the west side toward Johnson City might be better for the interest you have. Be aware that both towns seem to be growing toward each other.

    And I must hasten to add that I’m not talking about DC or Atlanta level traffic. But locally, it has always been surprising and a little frustrating to me. Over the years, the attempt has been to improved the throughput (widening, improving) but not to bypass.

    by Rich — June 16, 2016

  29. Louise, Mary Jane, Marueen, Thank you for all the thoughts. It comes down to two things for me I think – champagne hobbies with a beer budget (pardon the old expression) and location. Today I’m thinking that the next time you pass a beater truck pulling a rusted out trailer driven by a guy who looks “homeless”, that’ll be me 😉

    by Tim — June 16, 2016

  30. Art Bonds – I may be the woman asking for any current info on Williamsburg, VA. I lived near there in the 90’s, my husband was in the USAF stationed at Langley AFB in Hampton and I now live in Connecticut. I did not check before typing this (from my cell phone) but my previous post may be under the blog that compares VA, NC, & SC. My husband wants (or should I say is determined) to move to Williamsburg area (Yorktown, Toano, New Kent etc., not Newport News, Hampton, or south of Williamsburg) when I retire 1/2018.

    I want to move to a less expensive area than how I perceive Williamsburg will be. Looking for anyone that may have recently researched the area, know of someone that lives there now and may want to comment or has even been through there lately and can comment on local traffic now that there are even more entertainment attractions. Not really interested in the 55+ communities or golf. Art, did you have any comments (that we previously lost before posting?

    I was person who has also recommended the Trulia.com site for looking at some really specific crime stats by homes for sale or rent. If you see a property you are interested in on that site, scroll down to crime star area and click on it for very detailed info.

    The other site that offers a lot of demographics on towns is City-Data.com.

    by BeckyN. — June 16, 2016

  31. Thanks for your info. on traffic in Elizabethton, Rich. Much appreciated! I will make an extra effort to check out the intersection (several times) you described when visiting.

    by ella — June 17, 2016

  32. The intersection is one thing, ella, but the issue is the volume of slow-moving traffic from that intersection out of town toward Johnson City. The last time I was through there was two years ago and despite a nice road, the traffic was the same. Problematic enough that, with memories of slow trips through town, I spent time on Google maps searching for a way around that I didn’t find. If you go there, I would suggest stopping to ask a local resident how they get around (if they do). And you never know — what bothers me may not be a concern for you.

    by Rich — June 17, 2016

  33. Thanks, for that update Rich! And, yes, sadly slow traffic is an irritation to me as well!

    by ella — June 18, 2016

  34. BeckyN, yes your name sounds familiar, it probably was. I don’t have any personalized information for you having never been there, all I had was things I looked up on the internet, Google searches for cost of housing, taxes, utilities, crime. But it sounds like you have a fairly good handle on that… you mention city-data, one of my go-to sources for demographics and crime data. In fact I learned of a new source of information from you; Trulia.com. Thanks! Part of what I typed was a recommendation to take a look at Johnson City, TN, with it’s VA hospital, reasonable prices and (IMO) great weather.

    ella, for some reason your discussion with Rich about slow traffic being an irritation now has an older song rolling through my head that I can’t get out… “It’s the little old lady from Pasadena…” 😉

    by Art Bonds — June 18, 2016

  35. BeckyN – my wife and I moved to Williamsburg about 18 months ago from the north and we love it here. Housing prices can range from moderate to extremely expensive, depending on where you live and what kind of community (age restricted, gated, etc.) you are looking for. We have found it significantly less expensive here except for sales taxes and personal income taxes, which are higher. There are so many things to do here, it’s hard to keep up. Regarding your question about traffic, I-64 is a mess heading to and from east of Williamsburg. They are in the process of widening it in both directions.

    by Dennis — June 18, 2016

  36. For you people living in the Phoenix area. Could you please describe in detail how you deal with the extreme heat? Do you “sleep during the hot hours” and stay up at night? I tend to be a night owl and love to stay up at night and sleep into the late morning. I ask because I am a few years away from retirement when I hit 66 since I have had many years of the dreaded 3 hour commute into Silicon Valley and I have had enough of that. So, do you just stay indoors and avoid heat? Do you swim? Is there enough shade? When do you shop for groceries and essentials? Speaking of that, how is produce in the area stores? I am used to getting Costco fresh strawberries most of the year, fresh broccoli, etc, do the stores carry down there? It seems there are good areas to live and retire as well some not so good areas in the Phoenix area, once just needs to be able to afford a decent place. I am fortunate, I can buy due to my current home equity in California, yet most of the homes seem too large but on the other hand I want some decent space in the place I am living, large kitchen, large master bedroom, large bathroom with a whirlpool bath. Maybe even my own small pool or spa. Maybe dreaming. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I suppose I will have to also learn card games!

    by Bruce — June 22, 2016

  37. Another question for those living in Florida. Are mosquitoes under control or are they an ongoing constant problem? I know they LOVE to bite me when I travel for whatever reason. I was looking at Cape Coral and Sarasota but I read some about mosquito issues and especially now with the Zika issues. Also, is insurance a problem for a new owner in those areas?

    by Bruce — June 22, 2016

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