Don’t Tarnish Your Golden Years
Most retirement centers provide advice on saving for retirement as well as what to do to help you age gracefully and reach those golden years . But what should you do once you have actually retired ? Perhaps more importantly , what should you avoid doing ? Making poor choices during your retirement could negate all the effort you made to escape the rat race and enjoy your later years . Here are 6 behaviors to avoid when you are retiring .
Don’t Stop Learning
It can be very tempting to kick back , and do nothing with your brain during your retirement . After all , you do not have a true need for new skills . Everything you already know has gotten you through your working years and into your later life . You are no longer working , so you do not need to learn new skills for a job , and you no longer have children at home , so you do not need to learn how to accomplish new tasks to help you keep up with your little ones . You have no responsibilities to anyone but yourself and potentially your spouse . Given that there is no external need to learn anything new , it can be easy to let any thoughts of continuing education slide . Learning , however , is more important than ever in your later years . Your must work your brain to keep it healthy in the same way you must exercise to keep your heart healthy . The mind naturally begins to deteriorate as you age , and learning new things can help keep this age-related decay at bay . Do not just sit back and rest on your laurels during retirement . Work to master a new skill that engages your whole brain . Learning a second language or learning to play an instrument have been proven to be some of the best full-brain workouts .
Don’t Become a Couch Potato
It is easy to see retirement as a final , multi-year vacation where you lay back and relax . You put in years of hard work . You earned this period of rest , right ? You are only partially correct . There is nothing wrong with spending retirement relaxing , but relaxing should not mean a complete lack of exercise for the body or mind .
The general rule of the human body is use it or lose it . If you do not exercise your mind , your mental capabilities will begin to decline . If you do not work your heart , this vital muscle weakens . If you do not push your muscles , they begin to fade . This basic biological principle does not change simply because you are retired , quite the reverse . Most people retire in their later years which is when keeping up mental and physical exercise is absolutely essential . Refusing to use your body as you age will increase the likelihood of it breaking down at a faster rate . That said , if you exercise intelligently , you will find that you stay physically healthier for a longer time . Cardiovascular exercise will help stave off heart disease and decrease the possibility of a stroke . In addition , careful strength training can help lower the risks of osteoporosis and some forms of arthritis . Similarly , working your muscles will help you improve or maintain your balance , reducing your risk of injuries from falling .
Don’t Become a Hermit
This may sound like an amusing or obvious piece of advice , but the ways of the hermit can creep up on you slowly . Once you have retired , you have limited obligations to anyone outside your immediate family , and those are less urgent than when your children or siblings were young . You no longer have coworkers that you must interact with every day , and it is easy to begin skipping bible study meetings or local softball games . At first , this lack of commitment is wonderfully freeing and relaxing . Over time , however , you begin to lose contact with people and drift away from your friends . You become lonely and isolated which can easily lead to depression .
When you retire , you are not leaving society behind entirely . You need to continue to interact with people , and be involved in your community . You do not need to become president of the local arts council or head your church’s music group . You have earned your relaxation and do not have to take on jobs that carry a great deal or responsibility or have a high potential to be stressful . Simply make sure you are involved in some way , shape or form . Instead of heading the entire music ministry , sing in the choice . Take a painting class instead of being chairman of the local arts association . Find some way to continue meeting new people rather than hiding away in your home .
Don’t Ignore Your Health
Any injuries or illnesses you contract will take longer to recover from as you get older . Compound this with the fact that , as a retiree , you are living on a fixed income , and thus , you have limited funds for medical bills . When you think about that , preserving your health and preventing illness or injury suddenly becomes much more important .
There is , unfortunately , no formula that will guarantee that you will stay healthy , but following some common sense rules will go a long way toward keeping you functioning at your peak health : get enough sleep , drink plenty of water , eat healthy and exercise . This is simple advice that everyone knows , but not everyone follows . Once you have retired , though , these basic strategies for living healthy become essential .
Don’t Let Family Members Take Advantage
Yes , you are retired . Yes , this means that you have limited responsibilities . Yes , your working family is still very busy . No , that does not mean you are always available to babysit , watch the dogs , let someone sleep on your couch , pick someone up at the airport or anything else .
Plenty of retirees find themselves living on call for whatever their working family members need . Usually , the retiree has their heart in the right place and wants to help their busy children . The working family members usually are not trying to take advantage of the retiree either . It is just easier to leave the little ones with Grandma than try and find a short-notice sitter . That said , plenty of families come to rely on retirees for childcare , pet watching or airport pick-up services simply because it is easier to turn to a family member .
When you retire , you need to decide what you are willing to do for your family members and how often . If grown children or siblings push , remind them that you are retired not working for a daycare . Do not let family simply pop-in or feel guilty because you are unavailable to act as someone’s chauffer . This does not mean that you should refuse any and all request for assistance . You may enjoy watching your grandchildren once or twice a week , and there is nothing wrong with agreeing to pick a sibling up at the airport when their car breaks down . Just be sure to make sure you do not let your family control your retired life .
Don’t Ignore Your Finances
You spend most of your life saving to retire . Do not go out and blow years of careful planning by being financially irresponsible . Once you retire , you are living on a fixed income which means a budget is critical . Sit down with your spouse , and create a monthly budget for your retired years . Make sure to include flexibility for any healthcare concerns that arise , and be sure to take inflation into account . Your money will likely be worth less as you age . Most importantly , stick to the plan once you have created it . The best budget in the world is useless if you do not use it .
Your retired life should be one of relaxation and enjoyment , but that does not mean you should leave the rest of the world behind . Make sure you stay involved in your community , and continue to be intelligent about your health and finances . You worked hard to reach a comfortable retirement . Do not throw away your hard work by being foolish .