As you transition from full-time work to retirement to later life, many things are going to change. It’s important to stay engaged and pay attention to your budget, health, and mental stimulation. Healthcare especially is an ongoing expense that needs to be reevaluated throughout your golden years.
Recognize the Stages
As people move to and through retirement, our experiences, priorities, and social connections evolve. According to a Merrill Lynch study, there are four stages.
- Winding Down & Gearing Up (5 Years Before Retirement): Most feel overwhelmed with work and desire more time for non-work activities. Pre-retirees are more likely to feel worn out and lonely, and 74% of respondents said work was a barrier for them to having more fulfilling leisure.
- Liberation & Self Discovery (Retired for 2 Years or Less): There’s an enormous sense of liberation and relief, as most (78%) feel they finally have enough free time and nearly all (92%) say retirement provides them with the freedom to now do what they want. However, some retirees feel unsettled, anxious, or bored, and 35% say it’s harder to structure their time than before they retired.
- Greater Freedom & New Choices (Retired for 3 to 15 Years): As they embrace their new identity, feelings of happiness, contentment and confidence are high, spontaneity peaks, and anxiety wanes.
- Contentment & Accommodation (Retired for More Than 15 Years): The focus is maintaining health and independence as well as enjoying familiar activities rather than new ones. Compared to other stages, people are most likely to prioritize simplifying their lives.
Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health
The best health care is preventative, especially in the early years of retirement.
If you find that you’re not using that gym membership enough to justify the fees, it might be time to shake up your workout routine. The pandemic broadened online fitness options. It’s never been easier to try a new class or talk to a new personal trainer — sometimes at no cost, and often without leaving your home.
As you age and begin to slow down, the cost of maintaining your comfort and care can spike dramatically. Working with a health insurance professional is the best way to make sure that you and your spouse get the coverage each of you need. Check in with your agent every November during the open enrollment period to evaluate any changes to your health and the options available to you. Take advantage of annual wellness visits and any mental health services offered.
Don’t Wait for an Emergency
Too many late-stage retirees put off making difficult decisions until they’re dealing with a major health or financial crisis. Living longer means more money must be spent on health and long-term care costs that continue to rise every day.
Planning ahead puts you in a much better position to choose how and where you’re cared for on your own terms. As you age, you also must consider your housing, how you want to receive care, personal advocacy, your legacy, and more. Be proactive and figure out a plan for the last stage of retirement. Find programs or resources available in your area or reach out to a trusted professional to help you build a clear and effective plan. Learn more about Marca Life Planning’s Age in Place program, and get in touch to succeed in retirement and make every stage fulfilling.