Four Things They Didn’t Tell You About Retirement
Doesn’t it seem like every stage of life ends up being more complex, difficult and amazing than anyone ever told you?
When you got married, they never told you how thrilling and how difficult it could be. When you had your first kid, you were surprised how most people never told you about the misery of sleepless nights and days that seemed to never end.
And, of course, when you retire there are plenty of surprises that most of your friends failed to mention. While not all of those surprises are bad, they tend to be unexpected and that’s where things can get stressful.
No, You Won’t Lose Your Social Life and Waste Away in Loneliness
Retirement age is creeping up for a whole host of post-Boomers who most likely moved more than their parents did and who may or may not have built lasting relationships with friends.
You might think that all chances of finding best friends dissipate once you hit retirement age, but, as a Feb. 2017 article from The Wall Street Journal points out, new retirees are realizing that just isn’t true.
There’s a catch, though – you are going to have to make an effort to connect.
“Readers said that retirement offers countless opportunities to meet people if you’re willing to be proactive: exercise classes, coffee-shop get-togethers, shared hobbies and interests … volunteer groups, nonprofits. The list goes on,” the article said.
Yes, It’s Really Going to Hurt to Leave Your Job
One of the painful parts of retirement is leaving behind what we hope is a busy work schedule where you were needed on a daily basis and where your presence in the office or at your place of business was indispensable.
Now, imagine what it’s like leaving that behind and coming home to your spouse or partner. Yes, you’re needed around the house for the usual stuff, but the rush and excitement of being a necessary piece of an important company will almost instantaneously vanish.
A reader named Kevin Blakely explained it pretty well in The Wall Street Journal.
“My biggest and most unanticipated retirement adjustment was my temporary loss of self-value,” Blakely said. “Having burned both ends of the candle for 40 years, it was a shock to the system to suddenly find myself and my calendar no longer in demand.”
Yes, Money Will Most Likely Be an Issue
In a perfect world, we’d all retire with enough money saved up to get us through our golden years comfortably with enough to spare for new adventures and experiences.
There are tons of metrics we could look at to make the case that retirement may be a financial strain, but we’ll keep it simple and refer to a USA Today article in which contributor Jason Hall pointed out that most retirees will have less than $500 a month from which to live off their 401(k)’s.
“The median age 65-74 household has $148,000 saved … in terms of dependable retirement income, it's only worth $347 to $493 per month in retirement income,” Hall wrote. “Paired with an average Social Security benefit of less than $1,500 per month, that's not a lot of money to live on in retirement.”
Yes, You’ll Have Time to Do the Things You’ve Always Wanted to Do
While free time in retirement could drive you a little crazy if your pre-retirement job was high-strung and competitive, you’ll find that the extra time you have throughout the day is a veritable gold mine for the exploration of hobbies you’ve always wanted to try.
Think about it in this context. The Villages, Florida, is arguably the most dynamic retirement community in the country. Their clubs and social organizations listings have more than 1,000 different groups you can join.
Some of those groups are based on games, others are based on past careers and many of them focus on one particular hobby like music, art and travel.
The vast number of retirement community clubs that exist around the country are a testament that creativity doesn’t wane as you get older; it grows.
Patricia Plumeri is a good example of this. The retired accountant told the WSJ that she took up guitar after she retired.
“I wanted something in my life that wasn’t income-driven,” she told the paper. “The feeling of accomplishment—and the realization that I can actually play a guitar—is pretty heady stuff.”
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