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Wise and Wonderful: How to Find Even More Sunshine and Health in Your Retirement

Wise and Wonderful: How to Find Even More Sunshine and Health in Your Retirement

Wise and Wonderful: How to Find Even More Sunshine and Health in Your Retirement

 

Why People Choose To Retire in Sunshine States

Senior couple on country bike ride

Many seniors seek out a warm climate in which to relocate during retirement. They look forward to spending their golden years focused on hobbies, traveling, and especially enjoying their grandchildren. Selecting the ideal location for these pursuits requires a great deal of planning, primarily because of the costs associated with relocating and creating a new household budget in the chosen community. Another consideration is whether you plan to continue working, which may necessitate choosing an area where the unemployment rate is low and the economy is rising.

Wherever you consider moving, make sure there is quality healthcare to accommodate your needs. In addition, consider the proximity of activities like fishing or golfing, to maximize your long-awaited recreational time. To make the best use of your leisure time, set your sights on locations that provide more of your chosen activities.

Some people select scenic areas like wine country or high in the mountains. Others choose to relocate to towns with historical significance, or to enjoy simple country living. Either way, the first step is to identify your retirement goal, and then design a plan to make that dream come true. Find a place that fits both your lifestyle and your budget, so that your retirement years are truly enjoyable.

Many people choose to retire in sunshine states for several reasons. For those living in states with harsh winters, the reason to move is simple. Not only does cold winter weather become harder to bear as time goes on, it may actually exacerbate certain health conditions. Those long winter months also limit the ability to enjoy outdoor recreation. Throughout your life, you may have enjoyed experiencing four individual seasons and the varying climate conditions each season brings. But as time progresses and the aging process continues, dealing with bitter winter weather may have lost its appeal.
Warmer states not only offer an endless supply of recreational activities but, often times, incredible sightseeing opportunities, as well. Although states with colder climates boast beautiful landscapes, the harsh weather may deter you from participating in outdoor activities. If your goal is to experience more time outdoors, a better decision is to choose a state that allows you to comfortably enjoy the seasons throughout the year.

Popular States to Choose for Retirement

Rear view of a senior man and woman couple walking arms around each other on a deserted tropical beach with bright clear blue sky

During the research phase before retirement, you will come across many “best and worst states to live” in lists. Ultimately what you need and want out of the state is up to you.  It is important, however, to consider as much information as possible in order to make an informed decision. Below are some popular retirement destination states, and the reasons they are considered so, for your consideration.
  

1.  Arkansas is considered to be one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to retirement destinations. It offers a humid, tropical climate, which is strongly influenced by the Gulf of Mexico. Summer weather is humid and hot, but frequent thunderstorms help cool things off. For those looking to get away from states with harsh winters, Arkansas winters are generally mild, with typical lows in January around 30 degrees Fahrenheit, with high temperatures in the 50s. Because of its mild climate, Arkansas is one of the most popular places to retire.

Hot Springs Village is a CDP (census-designated place) located in both Garland and Saline Counties that is considered to be the largest gated community in the U.S. Hot Springs Village has a plethora of recreational amenities available to its residents year-round. The Planning and Inspections Department ensures that all homes and landscaping are well kept, providing a picturesque environment for residents.

In addition to the variety of amenities available to residents, Hot Springs National Park is well-known for their hot spring water that is commonly used for therapeutic baths. For over 200 years, the water has been known to treat rheumatism and other ailments. Years ago, the property was considered to be a reservation; it was later developed into a resort named The American Spa. The Park attracts people from around the globe who are looking to improve their health. Today, you’ll find numerous bathhouses in the Hot Springs area that help people relax and wash away the tension from their busy lives. These waters are known to heal and have a rich history among world travelers who come to experience the area’s healing power.

In addition, the beautiful Arkansas landscape provides a perfect setting in which to retire. The cost of living is lower than most typical retirement destinations. There are many active communities that cater to people over the age of 55. In the northwestern parts of the state, the population is growing fast -- making it one of the fastest growing regions in the United States for people age 55 and older.

Arkansas is also a top pick for retirement because it offers retirees a lower cost of living than areas typically considered for retirement. In addition, in Arkansas, retirees can enjoy some of the best fly fishing anywhere.

2.  California is filled with gorgeous sunsets, serene beaches, picture-perfect mountains, and beautiful homes within great communities. The high cost of living is equal to the high quality of life that can be experienced here, if your goal in retirement is to experience the symphonies, world-class opera, museums, restaurants, and beautiful scenery that the golden state offers.

The exceptional climate is why California has remained a long-time retirement destination. It is said to be one of the most comfortable for retirement because although the sun is often shining, the Mediterranean climate provides cool temperatures. Summers temperatures are warm and dry while the winter weather is cool and wet. The marine air controls the weather on the coastline, but further inland, the climate is more varied.

3.  Florida is called the sunshine state with good reason. Florida is among the sunniest and warmest states that have a tropical climate in the United States. There is no other sunnier state with more beautiful coastlines or golf courses. There is also a plethora of outdoor recreational activities.

Over 17 percent of the population in sunny Florida is comprised of retirees’ age 65 years and older. Florida is one of the most common destinations to retire, especially for former military personnel. Roughly ten percent of the state’s retirees are veterans, who choose to settle near military bases to take advantage of discounted rates on medical and pharmacy services.

There are many economic incentives for choosing the state for retirement. Florida is one of the few states that provides financial incentives to retirees, providing reduced taxes on both retirement and inheritance income compared to other states. And for those who plan to work during retirement, the job market has been steadily increasing, with many job opportunities for seniors.

4.  Georgia is another popular states for retirement, where you’ll find welcoming communities and peaceful, scenic living. The peach state is home to a variety of activities. Recently many fair-priced retirement communities have popped up in beach towns along the Atlantic coast.

The climate is considered humid to subtropical, making the summers hot and humid, and the winters very mild. Although it is often overshadowed by Florida as a chosen retirement state, Georgia is often the more cost-effective choice, featuring a lower cost-of-living than Florida, and favorable tax incentives for retirees.

5.  Hawaii is a great place if you envision retiring in paradise. Every day will seem like a vacation, since the state boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The climate is appealing, with only two seasons. Winter averages around 70 degrees and summer temperatures reach around 90 degrees. Humidity can be high, as it is a tropical climate, but the breeze from the ocean makes it very pleasant.

There are many islands to choose from in Hawaii and each has different amenities.  It would be best to plan what type of climate and lifestyle you want before choosing which island will best suit your needs.

While some may feel that Hawaii is more costly, there are other factors that outweigh the higher cost of living. Healthcare and taxes in the state are lower than the national average. When you factor that savings into your monthly budget, it may not be unrealistic to set your heart on retiring in paradise.

6.  Louisiana is uniquely rich in culture and has communities that are attracting seniors more than ever. It is not only a beautiful state but the climate is mild, and the cost of living is low as well as taxes. Louisiana offers state-of-the-art medical facilities, friendly people, and culture like you may not find anywhere else. There are various recreational activities to fit most lifestyles.

If forests and hills are what you envision for your golden years, you may want to consider the northern part of the state. Winters are mostly mild, and the average temperature is about 53 degrees. In the southern parts of Louisiana where you’ll find prairies and bayous, the summers are hot with an average temperature around 82 degrees. Louisiana doesn’t really have a rainy season, but there are plenty of spring showers with the occasional thunderstorm during the summer months.

Taxes in Louisiana have been categorized as “friendly for retirees.” State income tax does exist, but you may be exempt from taxes depending on several factors.

Mardi Gras is not the only activity that Louisiana has to offer. There are several hundred festivals throughout the state; there is always something going on. But the people of Louisiana are probably one of its most valuable assets.

7. Oregon is a lot more that just a beautiful coastline. Living near snow-capped mountains and green river valleys appeals to many; the state is filled with small towns that offer active seniors some unique outdoor adventures. Many people in retirement communities are enjoying the mix of arts and culture as well as hiking, sailing, white water rafting and other outdoor activities.

Some of the coastal towns are becoming increasingly attractive to retirees because of the gorgeous scenery and abundance of recreational activities. People who are looking for a laid back lifestyle would find this the perfect state to settle in.

8.  South Carolina attracts many retirees and has been often ranked among the top ten states to retire. It is mainly loved for its Southern charm and gorgeous landscape, but also because of its rich history and low cost of living. In fact, the slow paced living and outdoor recreation makes this state a great destination for a relaxing retirement. There is plenty of music, art, and theater for those who enjoy a cultural setting.   

The coastal area from Myrtle Beach to Charleston has over 100 golf courses. The beaches along the coast are beautiful and may be appealing to live in as well depending on how close to the water you’d like to live. The people of South Carolina are some of the friendliest and family-oriented folks you’ll find in the country.

9.  Texas has many big cities with small towns that are perfect destinations for retirement. Don’t allow the population numbers to discourage you from considering a move to this immense state. The most major attraction to living in Texas is the great outdoors. There are beautiful country landscapes, picturesque bodies of water, and best of all ten months of comfortably warm weather.

The lone star state is home of many music legends and during this new phase in your life; you may welcome the opportunity to enjoy music festivals and events featuring some of your favorite artists. There is also a symphony and ballet company to enjoy, as well as a lyric opera. The cost of living is comfortable for retirees and has a wide variety of trusted medical facilities and health care programs to fit many different budgets.

How Climate Affects Your Health

Senior Couple In Fitness Clothing Running Along Beach

Statistics show that warmer weather can reduce death rates throughout the United States. A two-year study analyzing monthly death rates in particular states across the country found that deaths peaked during the winter months and were significantly lower during summer months. The International Journal of Biometeorology (WCR Vol. 4 No. 9) published literature highlighting the beneficial factors of heat versus cold weather.

According to the publication, a higher percentage of deaths occurred during winter months. Taking the study into account, recent cold waves across the Northeast and Midwest have brought record-breaking, low temperatures. This resulted in increased health threats and in turn, increased mortality rates during winter months. It is clear that weather can have an extreme impact on our well-being and health. Climate change will not only take a toll on our physical health but our mental health as well. These factors may increase in years to come as global warming continues.

How to Choose the Right State to Retire In

Depositphotos_67115863_s

Every time you open a magazine or browse online, there is a new article on the best places to live in during retirement. Whether its content on the best 50 cities, most cost-effective, most popular, best health care, transportation, or even lowest tax rates, it is not easy to pinpoint just one ideal location.

It is important to keep in mind when reading articles suggesting retirement cities, that these ranking change year-by-year. Rankings help sells magazines and advertising space,  which is why the articles are so popular. Whether or not they provide accurate information is questionable. The main problem is that these lists are based on broad geographic statistics, and while the data may measure certain significant factors, there will always be criteria that cannot be quantified.

The ideal retirement location is something only you can decide, and while lists may help by providing information about different states, the lists will not determine what best fits your specific needs or circumstances. Only you can define the ideal location for you. The best way to determine that is to ask yourself:

  • How close in proximity do you want to be to your family and friends?
  • Do you have aging family members that you may have to take care of in upcoming years?
  • What interests and hobbies are important to you and are they available where you’re thinking about living?
  • Do you plan to work during your retirement? If so, it is important to consider the work market wherever you move and your access to transportation.
  • Do you have medical needs that require specific accommodations?
  • Does your retirement destination meet your budget?

Remember that as you age you may not want to drive, so choosing a city with a better public transportation system may become more important. You’ll also want medical facilities within a close proximity, as well.

An easy way to focus your research and planning is by basing your decisions on where you can live your best life rather than where is the best place to live. Use the lists you find during your research phase as a tool for comparing potential locations, but don’t be swayed by the hype.

When You Should Start Saving for Retirement

Saving

The most practical answer of when to start saving for retirement is in your 20s. As soon as you have completed your education and begin your career, you should allot a percentage of your earnings each pay period towards your retirement fund. The sooner you begin, the more your money will grow. Each year’s savings will generate their own gain year by year; this is known as compounding.

Let’s review an example of compounding. If you begin saving at age 25, setting aside $3,000 into a tax-deferred account over a period of ten years and then stop, by the time you reach 65, your $30,000 investment will have built to more than $472,000, assuming an 8% annual return.

If you wait to start saving until 35 years of age, and save the same $3,000 per year over a 30 year period, by the time you’re 65 and ready to retire, your savings will be up to $90,000. Assuming an 8% annual return would garner approximately $367,000 -- a major difference.

Tax-deferred retirement accounts, also known as IRAs and 401Ks are the best account types to save your retirement funds. The different plans have various features but mostly they allow you to defer taxes on the amount you save and the returns you earn.

Tax deferral is best defined as the amount you contribute escaping the usual income tax until you begin to withdraw the money during your retirement phase. The result is that more of your money can earn investment returns over time which is a great advantage over ordinary taxable accounts.

There are other advantages to these plans depending on your contributions and the contributions of your employer. Consult your financial planner or employer to learn more about your options.

In the following videoRon DeLegge talks about retirement savings readiness with Ron Surz, President of PPCA.

 

Financial Resources for Retirement

Discussion of papers

With all of the advancement in education and medicine, people are living longer, which means that there is a good chance you will outlive your retirement funds. With that in mind, you should know what other income sources may be available to you.

Savings. As discussed earlier, the earlier you start your retirement savings, the better off you’ll be when retirement time finally arrives. If you haven’t started saving, now is the time. You can start small and try to increase the amount you set aside each month. The sooner you start, the more your money will grow over times. Saving for your retirement should be a priority. Create a plan and stick with it because it’s never too early or too late to begin the process. Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they waited to think about saving, they might as well disregard the process altogether. In terms of saving for your future, doing something is always better than nothing.

Medicare. Medicare provides health care coverage for people who are 65 and older, despite your income. Medicaid is a federal and state program that offers health care coverage to people of all ages that meet particular low-income criteria. Medicare can provide seniors with different inpatient and outpatient services and a variety of prescription plans. There are several plan options that you should review before applying to make sure your needs will be covered.

Social Security. Social Security will pay benefits during retirement at approximately 40 percent of your pre-retirement earnings. You will receive a payment each month and can have the amount adjusted based on your cost of living. Spouses are also eligible to receive Social Security benefits. If you work during your retirement, an estimate of your earnings will play a role in the amount of Social Security benefits you receive. Visit the Social Security Department’s website to calculate what your monthly earning will be before you apply.

The following information is provided directly on the Internal Revenue Service’s website

Retirement Accounts. Below you will find a list of the available retirement accounts. You can review each account type to learn more about what each one offers and decide what will best fit your needs.

Types of Retirement Plans

Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
Roth IRAs

401(k) Plans
403(b) Plans

SIMPLE IRA Plans (Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees)
SEP Plans (Simplified Employee Pension)
SARSEP Plans (Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension)
Payroll Deduction IRAs

Profit-Sharing Plans
Defined Benefit Plans
Money Purchase Plans
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)

Governmental Plans
457 Plans409A Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans

Depending on your financial status prior to retirement, you may have other income sources available to you from previous investments, pensions, profit-sharing, and home equity. Speaking to a financial advisor during your planning phase is ideal so that you have a full picture of your financial future.

The following charts are available from the Department of Labor’s website.

 

Timeline for Retirement

fishermen perfectly spend time on the river bank

Your timeline to retire depends on a number of factors; generally people retire around the age of 65. Depending on when you were born, you may have certain benefits available to you in addition to the money you set aside throughout the years. Below is a timeline to give you an idea of what’s to come.

At 50 Begin making catch-up contributions, an extra amount that those over 50 can add, to 401(k) and other retirement accounts.
At 59½ No more tax penalties on withdrawals from retirement accounts, but leaving money in means more time for it to grow.
At 62 The minimum age to receive Social Security benefits, but delaying means a bigger monthly benefit.
At 65 Eligible for Medicare.
At 66 Eligible for full Social Security benefits if born between 1943 and 1954.
At 70½ Start taking minimum withdrawals from most retirement accounts by this age; otherwise, you may be charged heavy tax penalties in the future.

Age to Receive Full Social Security Benefits

If you were born: You can receive full Social Security benefits at age:
In 193765
In 1938 65 & 2 months
In 1939 65 & 4 months
In 1940 65 & 6 months
In 1941 65 & 8 months
In 1942 65 & 10 months
Between 1943 & 1954 Age 66
In 1955 Age 66 & 2 months
In 1956 Age 66 & 4 months
In 1957 Age 66 & 6 months
In 1958 Age 66 & 8 months
In 1959 Age 66 & 10 months
In 1960 or after Age 67

 

Your Needs and Wants for Retirement

Happy Senior Couple Sitting On Sofa With Dog

Balancing your finances can seem like a juggling act. One of the most significant skills is to manage your wants and needs. It may seem difficult to decipher the difference between the two at times, but you will become more adept at the distinctions over time. Wants are the items that you don’t need for survival, but would like to have. Sometimes wants disguise themselves because of how much they are desired.

Throughout life, you develop habits that may affect your financial stability during your retirement. Living on your retirement income can create a weaker support structure for your new life. The transition into retirement may seem uncomfortable because finances may impede you from continuing old spending habits while you enter a new phase of life. Most people would like to retire with the freedom to do everything the heart desires. After all, this is supposed to be your leisure time, and it can be as long as you plan ahead before retirement. Consulting a financial planner early in life can help you put your spending into perspective so that you can satisfy both the wants and the needs of your retirement.

It is important to make a plan in order to determine what type of lifestyle you want to experience during your retirement. In your planning, include all of your day-to-day expenditures. Make sure to list all expenses, including housing, food, transportation, utilities, and possible medical expenses. Your “wants” list should include travel, social activities, car, and shopping expenses. Some people also create a wish list that would include items like charity donations and gifts to friends and family. By categorizing your expenses, you will have a better outlook on the money required to maintain your desired lifestyle during retirement.

Finding and Securing the Right Living Arrangement

lake charles

Independent living is designed exclusively for retired, active seniors looking to experience worry-free living. This housing arrangement works well, since most communities offer a safe environment with on-site staff, restaurant-style or buffet-style meals, activity programs, transportation and the flexibility to live in an easy to navigate apartment that requires little to no maintenance. Although residents live independently, there are plenty of recreational activities available on site. Independent living allows residents to connect with each other, while still enjoying all the comforts of a private residence.

In the future if needed customized nursing services are available to provide assisted living and memory care for alzheimer’s and dementia.  These services cater to each individual patient’s needs, but can provide round-the-clock care, if needed. Independent living communities can provide the full array of necessary services, ensuring residents safety

within in a relaxed, comfortable community.

Typical services provided at an independent living community:

  • Easy access to medical & healthcare
  • Three meals per day
  • Housekeeping
  • 24-hour security
  • Recreational & Social activities
  • Exercise program
  • Wellness program
  • Transportation
  • Laundry service
  • Medication management
  • Emergency call system
  • Full staff that can accommodate your scheduled needs

Once you've decided if an independent living community is right for you, begin researching which location will best fit your needs. Try not to get overwhelmed during the process -- remember to make a list of your needs and wants. Amenities are a significant matter to consider, as is interaction with staff and other residents. The people who around you can  make a huge difference in your comfort level. The type of people who currently reside in a community indicate how well you will live there. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, make sure that there are plenty of social activities available to residents.

You’ll want to visit potential locations during different times of day to get an accurate picture of what the facility has to offer. There are also many senior living resources online that provide resident and employee community reviews. It’s important that you get feedback from existing residents and their family members as well. There is no more accurate way to learn about a community than from the people who live and work there.

Remember to check for cleanliness throughout the community but especially in private rooms or apartments. Remember to verify that the community is compliant with local and state licensing requirement. Lastly, you want to verify their security systems and procedures in order to ensure your safety in case of emergencies.

Are interests and hobbies vital to your health?

Happy elderly woman painting for fun at home

Some of the main ingredients in a happy, healthy life consist of making positive choices to maintain a healthy diet and to exercise regularly. However, interests and hobbies can also play a vital role in your health, as they provide nourishment for your mental health and serve to relieve stress. Over time, you will find that outside interests can become an asset to your physical health as well.

Having lived a life full of to-do lists that are full of stress, finding a hobby or taking up an interest in an activity that is to your liking can bring you a much needed mental break. Hobbies and interests are refreshing because you're spending time doing things that you enjoy and can help recharge you as you put aside the worries you've had up to the time of retirement little by little.

When you take up a new hobby or activity in your life, you’re also increasing your social standing. Meeting new people and building relationships with people that share the same interests can be quite fulfilling. It can bring a new sense of happiness, which improves your quality of living.

Just as important as exercise is to your physical health, exercising your mind is beneficial to your mental health. Spending time enjoying activities like puzzles, reading, card games, and travel will help build bonds with new people, and help will you maintain a positive outlook.

In addition to providing benefits to your mental health, hobbies and interests play an integral role in boosting your self-esteem. It helps you improve yourself by learning something new or reaching goals and accomplishments you can be proud of. For example, taking on a sport you've never tried before is a step in the right direction. Building this new skill is not only enjoyable mentally but also physically. You will have a sense of accomplishment that will boost your spirits.

Healthy Activities to Nourish Your Mental Health

Senior woman decorating a ceramic pot

Where do you begin to choose an interest or hobby that best fits your likes and lifestyle? Let’s review some of the great activities that may nourish your mental health and more importantly improve your quality of life. Learning how to fill your time during retirement can be a challenge but the research will teach you about yourself and will benefit your mental health.

Connecting with others. Maintaining relationships with the new people around you will help greatly enrich your life. The strength of your personal relationships has a huge effect on your well-being. It can be quite rewarding to get to new different people. You’ll not only learn about them, but in the process, you may rediscover aspects of yourself that have been buried for forgotten.

Community Outreach. Volunteering time to a cause or issue that is close to your heart can actually help you feel good about yourself. Utilizing your free time by being active in your community will also give you a sense of purpose. Contributing to causes, therefore, may help you contribute to your own needs as well.

Wellness Activities. The fact that you are retired from working doesn't mean you’re ready to slow down. This is a great time to find an activity that exercises not only your body but also your mind. Consult your physician in cases to see which activities are feasible for you. From water sports to golf and yoga, there is something out there just waiting for you to enjoy.

Crafts. Creating crafty items is always an excellent pastime. There is something to be said for the instant gratification from completing a project. Some may find interest in creating decorative items, while others may choose to make everyday items. Find your niche in the arts and begin your journey to creativity.

Antiquing. Selling and collecting antiques is a challenging and exciting hobby where you can meet other people while making money. If you've ever collected items throughout your life, this activity may appeal to you. Start by going through your own collections, and anything you may feel may be of value. Once you’ve sold a few items, you can begin to collect and sell more. Antiques can be very profitable, and the process of collecting is quite enjoyable.

Photography. Capturing life’s moments can be very therapeutic; there is a plethora of possibilities in photography. You can spend days taking pictures of subjects that interest you, or perhaps you enjoy shooting landscapes. You may even find that photography can bring in income by selling your pictures to stock photo companies.

Model Cars. Car lovers that enjoy building but never had the time to do so may find that this is the perfect time to take up the old hobby. Building model cars as a hobby is rewarding and relaxing. If you are crafty and patient, taking the time to build model cars is a great hobby to develop.

Travel. Many retirement communities offer travel programs that will allow you to stay at a sister property free of charge. During retirement, there is no better time to make a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit but never had the chance. Designing a ten year wish list for starters is a great way to set goals for your retirement. Make sure your list is realistic to your budget so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Rather than decide on countries or states that you wish to visit, make a list of things you’ve always wanted to see or do and then find a place that offers those things. You may think that you always wanted to visit Paris to take in the arts and architecture. You may find that you get similar satisfaction somewhere in the Unites States, and that the opportunity to explore arts and culture was what you sought.

Writing & Scrapbooking. One of today’s most popular crafts is scrap-booking, where you create books filled with pages and pages of memories. Creating a written memoir of your life experiences can also be quite satisfying. Revisiting old times will remind you of all the great things you have experienced and accomplished. One of the benefits about writing and scrap-booking is that your loved ones will cherish your stories -- you may even find a unique way of telling your untold stories to your children, helping them appreciate the life experiences that helped shape you.

Another avenue of writing that can bring comfort to your mind and soul is writing poetry. Throughout your life, you may appreciated the art in limericks and lyrics but never had the chance to explore your inner poet. Writing is a great way to occupy your mind and relieve stress. Joining a poetry group where you can recite your work can be gratifying as well.

Activity Groups. No matter where you choose to retire, there is a local group that enjoys doing some of the same things that you do. From playing cards to golfing and fishing, your new friends await you to join them in this adventure-filled phase of your life. Take the time to do a little research and ask around about the available activities in your area.

There are an endless number of hobbies and activities to partake in during your retirement. As long as it’s something that makes you happy and does not put your health or life at risk, it’s a good choice to explore. Prior to retirement, you may not have had the time to indulge in these passions. Use your retirement as a reward for all your years of hard work.

Putting It All Together

A married couple planning their retirement life

Now that we've covered mostly all of the aspects of the retirement process, we will break down the steps to the “golden years” in a brief and clear form.
At age 50. This is an excellent time to envision the type of retirement you envision. Once you’ve concluded where you’d like to set your heart on living, it’s time to have a conversation with family and friends. For some people, how close to your family you live is vital to your happiness. If your ideal retirement location is too far from family and friends, it may not be the best choice for you. Remember to factor in your health needs when it comes to choosing the right climate to reside in. You still have ample time to decide, and many factors can change before you’re ready to retire. However, having a general idea can help you reach that goal.

Start your research on different living communities after you've decided which state you would like to live in. Remember to factor in your wants, your needs, and your budget.

Although you are years away from retirement, you may have an idea by now of what your medical needs are and will be. During the research phase regarding living facilities, make sure you also keep in mind the various levels of care that the location offers. If you are predisposed to any medical conditions, it is wise to prepare for all possible future medical care. Selecting a location that will not meet future needs will cause for you to start your research over again when the time to retire arrives.

Financially, now is the time to begin making “catch-up contributions” to your retirement account(s). People over the age of 50 can add to their 401(k) plans as well as other retirement accounts.

Consider your physical and mental stability and adjust where need be. If you have never really been adamant about exercising or visiting your physician every six months, now is the time to begin. You want to make sure that you are in top physical and mental condition from here on in so that you can fully enjoy your retirement phase as long as possible.

Remember that we learned the importance that having leisure time will be to your retirement years. Now may be a good time to start brainstorming what it is you love to do recreationally. You may want to test the waters in different areas to see what hobbies and activities fit you best.

At age 59.  It’s time to revisit the state you chose to either remain in or move to. If it’s still your ideal choice, then another conversation with family and friends may be in order so that everyone who is important to you is aware that your decision is becoming a firm one.

In terms of living communities, it’s time to narrow down your selections. If anything has changed for you medically, then remember to choose a community that will meet your needs.

At this time, there are no more tax penalties when withdrawing money from your retirement accounts. However, leaving the money is beneficial because you will be allowing more time for it to grow. Remember that the same rule applies at the age of 62 when you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits. The longer you delay the application process to receive benefits, the more your monthly benefits amount will be.

At age 65. Welcome to retirement! You officially qualify for full benefits and are now eligible for Medicare. You’re just another year away for Social Security benefits (if born between 1943 and 1954).

This is actually the perfect time to start the relocation process if you've decided to move to a living community. No sense in putting off all the great activities and travel you have planned up to now. This is your time, enjoy it.

By now you should be comfortable and content with your chosen recreational activities and social life. Make sure to keep up the good work as it is conducive to healthy living. If you’re not finding full enjoyment in your chosen activities, there is no one holding you hostage. Explore! Try different hobbies and see what else fits your lifestyle. If you haven’t started your traveling goals, then it’s time to do just that. Bon voyage and don’t forget to send everyone postcards throughout your trip.

At age 70. Six months into your 70th birthday, you can start withdrawing from most of your retirement accounts, at least minimally because otherwise you may be charged tax penalties.

Senior couple with their daughter

The key to a successful retirement lies in your happiness; your physical and mental health lies on the forefront. Financial planning is an integral part of obtaining that happiness because money is what facilitates all of the needs, wants, and wish during your retirement. The only thing you want to worry about is having enough time to do all of the things your heart desires. Having control over how you spend your time should be your only concern, next to enjoying your family and friends. Pursue your passions and interests like never before so that you're allowing yourself to live your very best life.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living


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