Americans’ plans for retirement are changing as people are living longer and redefining retirement lifestyles. Unfortunately, many seniors are woefully unprepared for retirement and are forced to continue working longer or drastically change their lifestyle to be able to live off of their limited retirement income. In fact, a 2013 Transamerica study showed that 62 percent of Americans are less confident of their ability to have a financially secure retirement since the recession began in 2008 and 43 percent of Baby Boomers plan to work longer and retire later than they had originally planned1.
There are many ways to financially prepare for retirement: personal savings or investments, a company sponsored retirement plan, significantly downsizing one’s home or adjusting your lifestyle to match your retirement income. While everyone’s retirement planning and lifestyle are different, here are some additional suggestions on how to improve your life in retirement.
- Transition Into Retirement Slowly- Many retirees may find themselves bored with all their newly found spare time. Slowly transition into retirement by volunteering or taking up a new hobby. Keeping yourself busy while maintaining a routine can make the change from full time work to retirement a little easier.
- Shake Things Up- Retirement does not mean that you can’t keep growing. Retirement is a great time to try new things; whether that’s taking a course at the local college, trying a new hobby, or traveling somewhere exciting. Do something you’ve always dreamed of doing.
- Reevaluate Your Legacy- Most people see their legacy to their family as a number in a bank account or family trust. Instead of thinking in financial terms, decide how you would like to be remembered. Would you like to pass your love of sports on to your grandchildren? Or would you like to be remembered as the couple who spent their golden years traveling through the country? Often, it’s not the trust fund you leave your family, but the memories that they may appreciate most.
- Control Your Spending- If you live below or within your means, your retirement income will last longer than if you continue to live according to your pre-retirement lifestyle. For some, this means downsizing their home. For others, this means budgeting or giving up expensive hobbies or excessive spending. Speak with a financial advisor if you would like help managing your finances.
- Pursue Your Interests- One of the best aspects of retirement is the ability to focus an increased amount of time and energy on your interests. Now is the time to take up hobbies that you might have neglected while you were working.
- Make Friends and Family a Priority- Now that you have some spare time, spend it with your loved ones. Whether you’re taking family trips, participating in a game night or getting coffee every week with friends, retirement is a great time to enjoy their company.
- Make Amends- There’s no better time than the present to make amends.
- Live Well- Retirement is not an excuse for taking up unhealthy lifestyle habits. Sleeping well, maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise program can be the key to feeling good for years to come.
- Choose To Be Grateful- It’s easy to forget the things that make us happy. Whether you’re grateful for your health, family, friends, home, your faith or simply waking up in a warm bed, we all have something to be grateful for. Recognizing those things is what makes life worth it.
- Be Realistic- Maybe things aren’t exactly as you’d hoped, but being realistic about your finances can help you better plan for retirement.
If you are not as financially prepared for retirement as you would like, there may be another option to help you live a more comfortable retirement lifestyle.
If you are 62 years old or older and have sufficient equity in your home, you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage loan. A reverse mortgage allows you to access a portion of the equity in your home. To see if you may be eligible for a reverse mortgage loan, call a reverse mortgage advisor at 866-751-6105.