Covid-19 has recalibrated retirement planning for older workers. Age, health, and workplace conditions have pushed many seniors to put their well-being ahead of other considerations and retire early.
The pandemic has also added to the normal stress that comes with leaving the workforce. Social distancing and other public health recommendations are making it harder for retirees to stay active and create new schedules that will make retirement fulfilling.
Here are three ways you can navigate the retirement transition safely during Covid-19 while still connecting with people, enriching yourself, and having fun.
1. Be together separately.
Although we’re still learning new things about Covid-19 every day, some consensus has emerged on how to stay connected and interact safely with people you’re not living with like social distancing and wearing a face mask.
While meeting other couples at restaurants probably isn’t a great idea right now, it’s possible to have backyard get-togethers. You can even have everyone bring their own food, drinks, and chairs for an extra layer of safety.
Outdoor sports are another option, especially activities like bike rides and hikes where everyone keeps moving and can maintain their distance. While most public health experts advise against sports requiring the sharing of equipment, golf, softball, and tennis can be played safely if everyone brings their own gear.
The pandemic is affecting communities across the country in very different ways. Wherever you live, exposure to Covid-19 is a high risk for seniors and those with preexisting medical conditions. Review guidelines from health experts and talk to those you trust if considering activities with people outside your household.
2. Make new online connections.
The new tech skills you learned while coping with lockdown open a world of virtual options in retirement. You have probably mastered video chat, but many of the same apps you’ve been using also allow you to watch movies and play games with friends and family.
If you picked up a new interest from all the free quarantine classes on social media, you could pursue that subject with more formal online learning. Dedicated online education platforms are plentiful. Your local university or community college might have new online programs. Plus, colleges and universities often offer discounted enrollment to seniors.
The pandemic forced organizations of all shapes and sizes to restructure and move at least some of their operations online. If you’re comfortable with your computer, part-time job or volunteer opportunities may be available to you right now. As more people do more business online, you might spot an ideal niche to plant your own flag and start your own dream company, all from the comfort of home.
3. Review your retirement plan.
The retirement plan you’ve worked on with your financial planner should change as your needs and goals evolve. Early retirement is a significant change. A review of your anticipated retirement budget and projected annual withdrawal rate should be re-evaluated.
It’s also important to consider your health in retirement. Make sure you and your spouse get the coverage you need, whether that means moving to Medicare or purchasing a plan from your state’s marketplace. You may want to weigh your options and any changes like living arrangements. You should review your estate planning documents and go over any potential changes with your attorneys and tax professionals.
We all know that retirement is a big life transition, and many things are in flux. Your identity and relationships may change with Covid-19 adding in another (unknown) layer.
Chart Your Best Path Forward
In a positive light, the change in schedule and time at home may have shown you that working at a slower pace is not bad. Maybe you have seen that you can fill your time with other things that interest you. Knowing that you put in the work to create and follow a plan for your retirement means you have options. Now is the time to chart your best path forward.