Part 2 of a 2 part series on retirement.
Are you tired of working? Dread getting up in the morning during the week but have lots of umph and energy on the weekends? If you are in your sixties, you may be ready to consider retirement. This is a daunting topic for many. There are significant financial and emotional factors to consider. Last week, we were fortunate to have the insights of recent retiree Adreon Hubbard. We will further explore retirement below.
You probably have less savings than your male counterparts.
The gender wage gap is very real and becomes glaringly apparent when we look at financing retirement. According to the Women’s Institute For a Secure Retirement, we are behind the 8 ball financially. In addition to the 7 factors they outline here, it is important to consider the financial ramifications of staying home to take care of children. Hopefully, you were able to start early and save for retirement. If not, don’t despair. Find a good financial planner and start strategizing. Even if it means working longer, at least you will have an endgame
Making retirement affordable.
One of my favorite pieces of advice is from Chip and Dan Heath’s brilliant book, Decisive. They suggest “widening your options” when making decisions. How can you make your lifestyle more affordable? Here are some ideas:
- Can you move to a place with a lower cost of living when you retire?
- Would you consider sharing your home? Renting out a room could be beneficial beyond the extra rental income. Maybe the border could also do lawn/house work as well.
- Would you be willing to host a student? Oftentimes, professional graduate students relocate temporarily for internships or field placements and may only need a place to live for a few months. These include Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Social Worker, and Medical Students. The advantage is that they are usually so busy with their work, that they will stay out of your hair. If it is a bad fit, their placement has a set time duration so you know they will leave.
- Find a retirement job. This sounds redundant but if you truly can’t fathom staying in your job anymore and only need a small supplemental income, options exist. For example, if you are a teacher- can you tutor? Do you enjoy infants? Perhaps nannying would work. These jobs certainly are not easy but they may be the change you need and can be financially lucrative.
- Budget. Take a long hard look at your expenses. Document all your transactions for 3 months. You may want to use one credit card for everything to simplify it. What can be cut? The little things add up.
Emotional Aspects of Retiring
Once you form a financial plan, it is important to be emotionally ready. You may already have a purpose and feel great about it. If so, skip to the next section.
- What aspects of your personality or values does your job validate? How can that need be met in another way? For example, if you enjoy working with people, can you find a volunteer opportunity in which you do that?
- What are your social needs? Think about how often you like to meet with friends and ways you can do that once you are not working. Some people are happy socializing once a week, others need daily interaction. If you tend toward the latter, then plan ways of meeting people. Community groups, volunteer positions, or post retirement work are all opportunities to connect with others.
- What opportunities does retiring open for you? Sometimes, the best retirement plan is using the first six months to explore what you want to do. You do not have to have it figured out all at once. However, you need to be comfortable with the uncertainty that holds.
“The need to take actions to preserve nature feels like an external obligation.” -Adreon Hubbard
Structuring Your Day
For advice on creating a schedule for yourself, I again turned to recent retiree, Adreon Hubbard.
She says: “First, I get up at 5 am and run 3 miles. No, I don’t. I can’t find my alarm clock, or my patella cartilage (if you find it, please give it to me!) I get up when I’ve had enough sleep. I then walk to the park down the street, where I observe a surprising variety of birds, insects, and plants. It’s kind of like my morning “nature bath.” When my exercise program, “Classical Stretch,” comes on (TV), I do that in the late morning. Searching for my phone also takes up a fair amount of my time. “
Adreon finds additional structure in her regular physical therapy appointments, birding classes, and numerous community events she is involved with.
Adreon adds: “The important thing to me is to feel I’m doing something that matters and that I am plugged into community in some way. My achy body requires movement, so that’s partly how I structure my day. I make “to- do” lists and check my weekly and monthly calendars often. This is especially important when every day is “Blursday.” They fill up quickly with community meetings, nature webinars, appointments, etc.”
So, in short, find what you love and what you need. Those two things will create your structure. A whiteboard or a calendar hung in a central location in your home can keep you organized. Periodically, check in with yourself to see if you need more structure or less. Are you overcommitted or would you enjoy doing more? Don’t be afraid to change things up. It is healthy and normal to need different levels of stimulation and structure at different points in time.
Putting it all together
Retirement is an exciting time. It may also be overwhelming and scary. It is normal to experience all these emotions. Having a plan and carefully considering your options will help you better decide when to retire. Once you take the plunge, ongoing planning and assessing will help make the transition smooth.
Nurtured Well, LLC helps women of all stages and ages navigate their lives. We provide tele-health and in person medication management for women in Maryland and D.C.