The colors are just absolutely beautiful this time of year, I hope you can find your favorite hiking trail or park and get out to enjoy them this week. I was at a conference a couple of weeks ago where I attended a session on retirement planning that I thought was interesting. Most often, when people start talking about retirement planning, they think of finances. Do I have enough money saved? Do I have a budget that will allow me to do the things I want to do? Have I saved enough for medical costs? Speakers in this session talked about how really that’s the easy part for most people. There are several additional major areas of emphasis for us to pay attention to. Here’s a quick summary of additional things to consider if retirement is in your near future.
The speakers indicated five to eight years is not too far out to begin thinking about the social, emotional, health and overall wellness of retirement. Here is a list of questions to help you reflect on what retirement means to you and your family.
What are the memories, values or life lessons that you want to pass on? Many of the younger generations aren’t interested in the “stuff” but they have great interest in the family history, stories and connections to the past.
Who will care for you if there is a need? Research indicated that more than eight in 10 people planned on having some help from family members as they aged but had not had conversations with those family members to indicate so.
If you choose to leave the area for a different climate, what happens to your support circle? The speakers pointed out that isolation leads to a greater risk of heart disease and dementia and more than one in four retirees who relocate become isolated, thus increasing health problems. If this is the choice you make, what plans will you implement to make new friends, get involved or overcome isolation with little or no family available?
Here are some other important questions to consider. Who are you outside of work? What are your hobbies and interests? What are you going to do with your time? What will be your reason to get out of bed every morning and give your life meaning? I’m guessing that for many, just having some time to catch up on projects would be good, but once those are accomplished, then what would you spend time on? The speakers advised setting personal goals such as taking some classes on topics that interest you to expand a hobby. Maybe music, art, crafts or trades have always interested you, but you have never made the time for them. Try traveling to some places where you think you might like to retire and visit those places at different times of the year. Use vacation time to investigate locations and spending time with family and friends. Is volunteering something that you’d like to do as well? Make a list of places and causes and begin to check them out.
In retirement, it is important to keep moving for our metabolism and strength. Doing this will assist with keeping our bones strong and maintaining a sense of balance. Nutrition is needed now more than ever as with decreased activity additional pounds tend to accumulate. Eat smaller more frequent meals with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
As a quick review of finances, the conference speakers reminded us to remind others that it’s never too early to start planning. The only regret people have is that they didn’t start earlier with their planning. Don’t leave money on the table with your employer. Maximize your taxes and savings and make sure to protect your assets by having your documents in order.
In closing, what are the five things you really want to do in retirement? Can you make a list right now and begin to explore them in your spare time? How much time do you spend doing those things now? If you’re not doing them, is it because you don’t have the time, or they aren’t a priority? Make a checklist of things to explore from month to month.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or email@example.com
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