Retirement is often considered a negative experience, yet it should be a positive one. As more people aim for FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), early retirement is becoming more common. It often doesn’t mean retirement, as in sitting in your chair by the fire, whiling away the hours, but freedom to follow a different path, not worrying about money, and not restricted by work schedules. Retirement shoud be a positive experience, not something to be dreaded.
I am 61, I have been retired for five and a half years. What amazing words to write. If someone had told me at 46 that I would retire, financially comfortable in less than 10 years, I would have had so much less angst… I have had such fun over the last five years.
For me Retirement means
- A pension paid every month, meaning I don’t have to worry about putting food on the table, or heating the house. Total bliss.
- Time to look round and enjoy the world about you. Spring is here, the world is coming alive. Maybe time to put the bedding plants in, cut the grass, go for a long walk. Just enjoy and smile.
- Time to spend with your extended family. I had a lovely 3 years with my Mum that I wouldn’t have had if I was still working. I like to think that between my husband and I we kept her ‘young’ and mobile. we didn’t need to keep her interested… We struggled to keep up! It was great, we had friends emailing us from around the globe.
- Freedom to travel. Gone are the restrictions of 4 or 6 weeks holiday a year, and making sure your holidays don’t clash with someone more senior. Life is just one great holiday. Go where you want, as long as you want. As long as the money holds out and/or your visa (or maybe Visacard) runs out. Last year we had 6 weeks in Barcelona – we haven’t decided yet where this years trip will be.
- Follow your star. Hobbies, interests, even part-time work or looking after your grandchildren. Everything counts. Whatever makes you feel happy, content, needed …
Time to consider the future…
- You might live until 95, or even 100, which is what my genetics suggest I will make. I enjoyed reading Fritz’s article at The Retirement Manifesto on living to 100. He includes a couple of calculators. Try them out. Mine came up with exactly 100! So I had better plan for longevity.
- In the 34 years since I started working, salaries have gone up 10 times, at the very least. I started in 1977 on £3,000 p.a. the equivalent is about £30,000 now. Will my pension increase by 10 times? Well maybe, but I can’t guarantee it, so I need to have a plan to protect myself.
- With a potential 35 years ahead, that is half my life again, far too long to waste in an armchair, or even grandchild watching, as many of my friends are doing. That grandchild, may well be a grandparent themselves by the time you die! Scary thought. Plan for fun.
- Keep your health. Get walking. Lose weight if you need to, put it on if you need to… Make those lungs work and your heart beat a little faster. Every little helps. So time to get walking, swimming, dancing. Go for it. (proviso – you know your own health limits! I’m not suggesting exercising beyond your limits…)
- Keep your connections. Make the effort. In today’s world, where you can lose contact at the ‘swipe’ of a Facebook ‘Delete’, think twice.. Try ‘Unfollow’. It doesn’t offend, it gives you time to think about it, and you can pick it up, even years later.
- Keep a close eye on your investments, continue to save if you can. You will be glad of it in years to come…
- If you haven’t already got one, time to get a hobby, meet new people. Now that might be one of the following, or anything! … All sorts of opportunities. All those things you put off because you ‘hadn’t time’ Now you have. Here are some ideas.
- volunteer in your local church, charity shop etc
- joining a local quilting group or ‘Mens Shed’ group
- join the local community choir
- learning a new language, a new subject
- visit a lonely older person and take them out
- take a turn at looking after your grandchildren
My promise to myself
- I am going to go to the cinema once every couple of months. Afternoon viewings often cost less than in the evenings.
- I am going to meet my friends for lunch once a month. You can do this for very little, (p.s. Not an affiliate link..) e.g. My husband and his ex-colleagues meet up in a Wetherspoons, where on a Tuesday, they can get a steak deal . My friends and I prefer a slightly more upmarket meal in one of the many restaurants in Edinburgh, 2 courses for £10! But it is so easy for the appointments to drift. We find it most effective to set the next date before we leave the restaurant.
- I will continue my struggle to lose weight (Spoiler alert for the end of the month update – the scales are still stuck around there!)
- I will put some effort on looking at alternative income streams. It’s good for the mind to have a challenge. My hobby is jewellery making, could (should) I make it an income stream? The jury is out at the minute! I’ve set up a shop on Folksy. Please take a look. I haven’t sold anything yet!
- Always look for the good things, not the bad. e.g. on my morning walk today, there was a biting cold wind, but the sun was out, I saw a lovely young foal in a field. Instead of focusing on the cold wind, I came in and said, I saw this lovely young foal…
Positive Retirement indeed!
Sitting in the sun is still allowed…
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