Special to the Financial Independence Hub
We all look forward to retirement: complete freedom. We can do what we want, when we want, and don’t have to traipse into an office every day to join the rat race that dominates younger people’s lives.
Unfortunately, the transition to not working can come with a different set of pressures, not least the financial stress triggered by your drop in income. Current statistics show that 68% of working-age people in the U.S. don’t participate in an employer-sponsored pension plan, so this is a common anxiety that affects much of today’s retired populace.
Luckily, there are ways to combat financial stress and still relish what should be some of the most enjoyable years of your life. Here are three simple steps to help you do so:
Value yourself, and act like it
All too often, the change of routine involved in retiring after a lifetime of work can cause us to drift into a kind of daily limbo where time starts to lose meaning, and so as a consequence does our everyday life. Combat this lack of direction by actively redefining who you are without your job. What do you stand for? What do you still want to achieve? What do you enjoy doing? How do you spend your time? Take some time to reflect on these questions: brainstorming can help, as can physically writing things down or discussing them with a friend.
Make sure to avoid isolation by getting involved in regular, structured activity that enriches your life and brings you into contact with people who have a positive influence on you. This will help you keep financial worries in perspective and remind you that there are other important and valuable things in life.
Last year, the Hub reviewed a classic (i.e. not recent) book called Flow, written by a University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi. This time, we’re going to take a look at the same author’s followup book, Creativity, which bears the subtitle Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.
It’s a fascinating read for anyone who has fancied themselves an “artiste” or musician, but were never able to extract a living from their creativity. But of course, one bonus of achieving financial independence is that it’s never too late to cultivate one’s creativity. One of the author’s concluding points is that we should strive in various ways to boost our creativity, whether or not it leads to the world’s recognition of our talents. The concluding words are these:
“… what really matters, in the last account, is not whether your name has been attached to a recognized discovery, but whether you have lived a full and creative life.”
Much depends on what “domain” one chooses: there is a chapter on the domain of words: for writers, poets, novelists and those who are “vendors of words,” to use an expression often used by the British journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge Continue Reading…
Special to the Financial Independence Hub
One of the chief concerns regarding senior citizens, especially those who live alone or in assisted living facilities, is boredom. Experts in senior care know that when a person is bored or feels unstimulated this can escalate to depression, which is already another concern among the senior population.
While the lack of activity could be due to a physical ailment that prevents the person from doing things they loved to do — such as walking, running, or other highly physical activities — in many cases it’s simply that a little nudge and some positive guidance is needed. A caregiver can be instrumental in this role and encourage their client to be more active, mentally or physically.
If you work with or know a senior citizen who needs to be challenged, adding a hobby to their daily routine can make a world of difference in their mood and ultimately their overall health. These are just a few hobbies that are fun, challenging, and can help lift mood and energy levels.
Art is one of the easiest hobbies to introduce because it comes in so many forms. From painting with watercolors to adult coloring books, art brings a sense of freedom and independence as there is no right or wrong way to do it; art is subjective.
My latest MoneySense Retired Money column was published today. Click on the highlighted text for the full piece: Retirement planning is about more than money.
The piece is based on a recent Seniors’ Luncheon hosted by the Toronto church I attend and as you will read, I was struck by how the experiences of these seniors — who ranged in age from 82 to 100 — reinforced the theme of my recently released co-authored book, Victory Lap Retirement.
In short, every senior at the table believed in continuing to work in some fashion even in their looming old age. Including 100-year-old Meta, pictured. While I changed the names of the other seniors in the article, Meta is a real name and used there and here with her permission.
Here’s the thing. Until she suffered a hip injury earlier this year, Meta was still working one or two half-days a week at a nearby printing firm. And at her 100th birthday celebration earlier this month, this continued work connection meant several of the people celebrating with her were from work, as well as the church, neighbours and various other circles.
And now that the din over her 100th birthday milestone has subsided, Meta told me last week that she wanted to return to work one day a week, because she misses her co-workers and she likes to get out of the house (she lives in the top floor of a house overlooking Lake Ontario, and has been there since the 1960s. The last thing she would want would be to move to an institution catering to seniors.)
The danger of retiring “too soon”
As for the senior men I chatted with that day, one regretted having voluntarily retired “too soon” at the tender age of 58: Kevin (not his real name) said he did so because he had a good teacher’s pension but when his wife passed away soon after, found himself with too much time on his hands.