Retirement is the last great stage in your life. It is full of new milestones, but it can take a lifetime to adequately plan and prepare for it. Many people feel overwhelmed with the details of planning for retirement or wish to avoid it altogether. But, retiring is easier than you may think - and well worth any trouble it takes to get there. After all, these are your golden years. Retiring doesn’t make these years any less enriching than the other stages in life. It does the opposite. Seniors in retirement are often happier, healthier and get more out of life than non-retired seniors.
One of the reasons why people choose not to retire or find retirement too daunting, overwhelming, and risky is because they don’t really understand the experience of retirement. There are a lot of myths about retirement that cloud people’s judgment and keep them from discerning fact from fiction.
Read on to find the most common myths about retirement debunked.
First, many people believe that their expenses will be lower while living in retirement. This is not only not true, but quite the contrary. The reality is that your out-of-pocket expenses will likely increase during your retirement years. People tend to spend more money when they have more free time, so you’re more likely to have time and money to spoil your grandkids if you go into retirement! A majority of people who retire travel more and pursue any hobbies that they didn’t previously have the time to enjoy or the money to do so. However, keep in mind that while you are living in retirement, medical expenses will increase at a faster rate than they did in your pre-retirement years. This can have a huge financial impact on retirees. Fortunately, there are many social services and living communities, which help retirees take care or offset the cost of these medical expenses.
Second, many people believe that they will pay fewer taxes when they retire. The truth is that, while it’s possible that you will be in a lower tax bracket because you’ll be making less money, what is more likely is that you’ll be paying a higher percentage of your income to taxes post-retirement. Your state and local taxes will increase as you lose deductions and exemptions. Also, taking money out of specialized retirement accounts like IRAs or the traditional 401(k) plan creates taxable income that can push you into higher tax brackets. You may also qualify for fewer deductions than you did in your previous pre-retirement years. For example, if you pay off the mortgage for your house before you enter retirement, that deduction is now gone.
Third, many people believe that long-term healthcare will be covered by their health insurance or Medicare. But just like with any type of insurance in any stage or area of your life, qualifying for Medicare does not mean that all of your healthcare costs will be covered. People assume that Medicare will cover them if they have to go into a nursing home but that isn’t always the case. Even if Medicare does agree to cover your nursing home costs and other related expenses, it will only be for a set amount of days. Many retirees actually rely instead on supplemental policies to cover co-pays, deductibles, and any other expenses that Medicare does not cover. But, keep in mind that these policies, which are called Medigap policies, can be expensive.
Another myth is that you should collect Social Security as soon as you are eligible at the age of sixty-two. When it comes to Social Security, it can be tempting to just "take the money and run," as they say. More than likely you’ve been paying into the Social Security system for the majority of the time that you have been working, and you’ve made up your mind that you are ready to receive the benefits you feel you deserve. Besides, a guaranteed monthly income, especially during a time when you know you will not be working, is a good thing to have. However, delaying those benefits until you reach the age of seventy increases your lifetime benefits by about eight percent per year. That could pay off in the long run, so remember that patience is a virtue and strive to practice it. If you start reaping retirement benefits the moment you turn sixty-two, you will only receive reduced benefits.
Lastly, another common myth that people have about retirement is that they need to get out of stocks when they retire. The reality is that while investing in the stock market has its risks, as it always has, stocks are a good tool for helping to provide the long-term growth that retired people need in order to make their assets last longer. A retirement will most likely last several decades, so this is a good plan to have. The truth is that traditional pension plans are not a guaranteed option and many have been replaced with the likes of IRAs and 401(k) plans. This means that individuals are responsible for making their own smart asset-allocation decisions while living in retirement. Therefore, allocating a portion of your savings to a diversified stock fund can be a great way to continue to grow your nest egg during these special golden years.
As the individuals from the Baby Boomer generation hits their sixties, the number of people retiring grows every year. The average age for retirement is sixty-three, with the average span of retirement lasting for eighteen years. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population is sixty-five years of age or older, the ideal retirement age range, and thirty-six percent of Americans over the age of sixty-five rely completely on Social Security. Nearly twenty-seven percent of people who are the age of sixty-five or older live in retirement, and only three percent of people who are or are over the age of sixty-five are still working.
Many people realize that retirement is the best option for living out their golden years and worth the investment. They feel happier, healthier, and realize that retirement comes with many benefits that are worth any risks or sacrifices you might take before you enter into retirement. However, to better ensure that you know what you are doing and can be prepared for anything before you retire, here are some of the most common regrets that people have about retirement.
Most people regret not retiring sooner. This is mostly because they could not afford to do so, and because of this they have less time to enjoy retirement and all of its benefits. Many retirees who have this regret found that their spending and general cost of living dropped significantly to a level where they could have retired at an earlier time. While not saving enough for retirement is a scary and possible reality for many people, saving too much is also a possibility. As people age, they tend to spend less money on consumer goods and services, meaning they have more money left over for retirement than they realize.
The second main regret is not doing enough research. Many retirees only take the time to learn about the fundamentals of living and experiencing retired life when they are nearing or already entered retirement. Naturally, this can cause a lot of problems, especially when it comes to accounting for higher medical expenses and social services like Social Security. It’s best to know what you are getting into years, not months, in advance. Fortunately, with this guide you can be better prepared for retirement and senior living.
A third regret that people have once they’ve entered retirement is not downsizing earlier. Downsizing your household and your lifestyle by doing such things like moving into a smaller home or getting rid of any unwanted junk in yard sales or through thrift shops is a pretty common practice among people who are retired. It is a great way for people to clean out any clutter before they move on to the next big step in their lives. Many retirees wish they could have downsized earlier, however. Downsizing early on provides less of a hassle while on the brink of entering retirement, when seniors already have their hands and heads full with other more important and pressing matters. Downsizing earlier so you can expend more energy on making your retirement process smoother and more efficient will help you build your retirement nest egg faster and will spare you a lot of financial burdens and obstacles.
A fourth regret that people have when they enter retirement is something we have already mentioned in the myths vs. facts section. One of the most common regrets that people have when they enter retirement is that they reaped the benefits of their Social Security too soon. They wish they could’ve been more patient and waited for their benefits to increase by eight percent per year when they had the chance. Most of these regrets are instances where people waited too soon or too late and didn’t have an adequate knowledge and understanding of how retirement works and how to make the most of it.
Another regret that people have is not making up with any family members or friends whom they may have strained relationships. Retirement should be a time for spending more time with your family and loved ones now that you are not busy with work. Carrying any emotional baggage or tension into your retirement can be a huge weight and tarnish what should be your golden years. Retirement should be a time of peace, happiness, and relaxation. It should be a time for spending with your loved ones and doing what you’ve always wanted. That way, you can be the happiest you’ve ever been. If there’s anything that might hold you back from that or prevent you from making those years as golden as they can possibly be, then it is best to patch things up before you enter into retirement.
Many retirees also regret not planning enough time for leisurely travel or traveling earlier in their retirement. One of the many benefits of living in retirement is having more time and money to travel than you did while you were working. You don’t just have “time off” anymore; you have all the time in the world. Make the most of it and travel. Take a cruise or hop on a plane to see the world. You deserve it and retirement can give that to you. Don’t hold off on it any longer or take any of it for granted.
One last regret that people have when they retire is not taking better care of their health when they had the chance. As previously mentioned, medical expenses significantly increase once you hit the golden years and though there are ways to find money while you’re not working, rising medical costs can still be a huge financial burden and should be accounted for by advance planning. Don’t count on Medicare to cover all of your medical expenses and other health-related needs. Entering retirement while you are in ill health can especially have dire consequences that will only get worse as you age. It can seriously impair the quality of your life and your financial savings.
Maintaining optimum health throughout your life, whether young or old, can have a great effect on how you enjoy your retirement, which should be the best years of your life. However, don’t despair if your health is not in tip-top shape the moment you enter into retirement. Many retirees said that they noticed a significant increase in their overall health and well-being once they entered retirement. One of the many benefits of retirement is that you can dedicate more time to fitness in plenty of senior living communities. They have fitness facilities on their grounds and offer many different fitness classes for you to stay fit, active, strong, and healthy throughout the rest of your life.
The bottom line is that retirement is not a sign that your life is over. In fact, it can be a sign that your life is starting anew. Retirement can be an amazing stage in your life and there are many benefits that will make you want to consider taking this next big step in your golden years.
One of the best benefits about living in retirement, and one of the biggest reasons why many people consider going into retirement in the first place, is that you can simply do what you want when you want. Now that you no longer slave away in a nine-to-five routine in your office, day after day after long day, you now have all the time and opportunity in the world to do all the things you love or have always wanted to do.
Retirement gives you the chance to play golf all day or take swimming classes to stay fit. It gives you more time to relax on your front porch and even go on that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to go on. There are many other fun activities you can do while living in retirement, like going on more service trips, outdoor excursions, or pursuing hobbies you’ve always wanted to pursue but never had the time to because of work.
Best of all, going into retirement means having more time to spend with your loved ones. You’ll have more time to see your family, like your children or, even better, your grandchildren! Yes, retirement can give you more wonderful opportunities to bond with and spoil your grandchildren. After all, that’s the best part of being a grandparent.
Living in retirement also gives you more time to take care of a pet. You’ve always wanted to own a pet, but never had the opportunity because the work would get in the way, and what kind of a life would a pet have if they spent all their days locked up in a crate, with nobody to take care of them, because you’re away at work all day? Or maybe you do already have a pet, but feel as if you don’t have enough time to take care of them and be their companion because of work. Well, with retirement, you’ll have all the time in the world to own, take care of, and bond with any pet you want.
Once people go into retirement, many choose to move out of their own homes and live in a senior living community with other retired folk. Senior living communities can greatly improve the quality of your day-to-day life.* They are also a great opportunity to meet and socialize with other people your age, and to make new great friends with whom to enjoy the rest of your golden years.
Senior living communities provide a wealth of fun activities and any important service you might need to make your time in a senior living community as beneficial and enriching as possible. Many senior living communities provide swimming pools, game rooms, and fitness rooms for your own amusement and enrichment. Activities at senior living communities go far beyond a game of bingo nowadays.
Senior living communities are constantly recognizing the changing and varying interests of people and what they want or need. In order to keep retired people as happy and active as they can be, senior living communities offer a wide variety of fun and different activities such as field trips to museums or baseball games, dancing, karaoke nights, outdoor excursions and light hiking, virtual bowling, fitness classes, special events like Senior Olympics, entertainment in the form of concerts or stand-up comedy, and many classes and workshops. Additionally, senior living communities provide a multitude of ways for seniors to keep their brains sharp, including offering classes in foreign languages, arts and crafts, computer skills, creative writing, and book clubs (A Place For Mom, 2015).
Senior living is a wonderful and amazing way to learn and grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. It is a great place to do all that you’ve always wanted to do, like pursue new hobbies or take a class in a subject you’ve always wanted to study, to connect and bond with loved ones and even to make new friends with people from your own generation. Assisted-living programs, which are offered at many senior living communities, are especially helpful if you are in poor health or just need an extra helping hand in your day-to-day life.
While retirement provides all the time in the world, freeing you from the hassle of your pre-retirement years (work, traffic, tracking your savings, never having enough money or time to do what you want to do when you want to do it), senior living communities provide all the rest. Senior living communities provide a chance for personal growth, socialization, relaxation, creativity, spirituality, improving health, spending time with the ones who matter, and of course, making the golden years the happiest and most rewarding and enriching that they can possibly be.
At this stage in your life, retirement is a wonderful option for you. It provides plenty of time and opportunities to do everything you’ve always wanted, but couldn’t because of work and other prior commitments. You have more time to relax, play golf, make new friends, spoil your grandchildren, own a pet, and see the world.
The process of figuring out how and when you retire can be daunting and it’s important to know as much as you can before you take the jump from your pre-retirement to your post-retirement years. But don’t be set off by the risks and concerns. If you do your research, know what you’re getting yourself into, and come prepared for anything that life may throw at you, you’ll do great. After all, you’ve been waiting for this your whole working life. You should enjoy it as much as you can; they don’t call it the golden years for nothing.
At Sunshine Retirement Living, our mission and goal is to enrich the lives of those we serve. At any one of our nineteen different communities you will find a genuine caring and kindness that you can feel as soon as you walk in the door.
The staff and the residents are one big happy family and we are always happy and ready to welcome more into our close-knit group. Founded in 2010, Sunshine Retirement Living has grown over the last six years to include nineteen living communities across eight states: Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon, California, Florida, and Louisiana. Whether you’re looking for independent living, assisted-living, or memory care, Sunshine Retirement Living has a community and a program that is the perfect fit for you or a loved one.
For more information, you may sign up on our website, or reach us by phone at 541-323-3456. You may also find us on Facebook.
*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living