If you hope to enjoy the best retirement possible you need to plan and prepare for your time in the sun. Waiting until after you retire is too late. By then there is little you can do to correct or fine tune any problem areas. A little homework now can help pave the way to a smoother road when you ultimately exit the working masses.
When it comes to retirement planning there are plenty of areas that require careful consideration. After all we are potentially talking about the next 20 to 30 years. How much will you need to live the life you hope to? Where will you live? What’s the best course of action when it comes to healthcare coverage? How do you stay active and engaged? Is there a place for part-time work in your second act? Will you be bored? Where will you find meaning in your days lived?
With so much at stake, it makes sense to investigate all possible sources for guidance.
Mom and dad lived in a different time. What worked for them might not be quite what you are looking for. However their experiences can prove enlightening. Steps they took to migrate from full time work to full time retirement may be worthy of consideration. Mistakes they made can be illuminated and hopefully avoided. Sharing those aspects of retired living they most love may stir your imagination and guide you toward similar successes. The ideal retirement envisioned by our parents is not necessarily perfect for us. But what they have learned along the way just might make our personal journey less bumpy.
Our children may be able to shine a useful light upon our retirement. They have seen the impact of your career on your and their lives. Other than you no one knows better the stress and strains endured to make it in the world. And our kids know what really makes our clocks tick. Who knows better the satisfaction dad felt dragging everyone on weekend driving treks? Or the joy mom experienced when her hand made placemats were the topic of praise at a family reunion? First hand experiences with our life’s ups and downs make them pretty decent coaches. Our kids can provide a good sounding board to bounce ideas off. They want their parents to be happy. And although their perspective is from a younger generation their insights may assist in our efforts.
Our friends are typically more than willing to offer what they feel is useful advice. The thing is when it comes to retirement they are often in the same boat as we. They are unsure exactly what to do in their next life chapter. They are learning as they go. It may well be we end up helping each other plot a course as we work through strategies and make adjustments. After all what are friends for?
Retirement bloggers are another source of useful retirement planning information. In addition to writing most are engaged in their own personal journey, openly sharing hits and misses experienced along the way. Useful insights often come from readers commenting on articles read. Their first hand input add texture to the retirement picture painted by bloggers.
LoveBeingRetired has been rolling since 2010. Since then we have enjoyed a few favorite sites:
Bob Lowry shares his retirement journey on his site A Satisfying Retirement offering insights learned while figuring out the best most meaningful way to live life as a retiree.
Retirement: A Full-Time Job immerses readers in the adventures lived by Sydney Lagier who retired at 44 and has not looked back since.
If you prefer an audio experience, tune into Retirement Journeys hosted by Ted Carr who shares an ever expanding collection of podcasts from authors, bloggers and people navigating their retirement journeys.
AARP, authors, pundits and those in the know offer another avenue to explore when it comes to preparing for your second act. With so many choices available see what friends and family recommend.
If you want to learn about retirement, talk with a retiree. Rarely will you find someone more willing to discuss the ups and downs of retirement than someone already living the life. First of all they have the time. Secondly a captive audience interested in what they have to say will be a positive in their day. Get ready for lots of details and plenty of stories. But what better way to glimpse what lies ahead? Researching what it will be like to be retired is all well and good. But until you find yourself immersed in the role, 24 by 7, you cannot really understand what is involved. Listen up to first hand encounters to learn what it’s all about.
As you prepare to navigate the retirement jungle it makes sense to gather as much information as possible. Get all the facts. Look at your situation from all angles. Listen to advice offered by others. But in the end your retirement is your personal journey. What works for others is rarely a blueprint for your successful retirement. Make plans according to how you hope to live. Trust your gut and be willing to make changes along the way. Accept there will be ups and down but try to stay positive. This is your time to do what you want to do when you want to do it. If that is not a good recipe for happiness I am not sure what is!