When you reach the age of 62, the current earliest eligibility age for receiving Social Security retirement benefits, your life expectancy, as the average man or woman, is approximately 21.4 years and 23.8 years, respectively.
That is a lot of years! Even if you postpone your retirement a few years, even if you are financially able to not worry about money for those years… there is a lot to think about!
Twenty plus years is more than the time most of you spent in school. Twenty plus years is more than the time many of you had children at home. While both of those timespans may have felt like they flew by, each had the time structured by someone from the “outside”. In our education years, we pass from one grade to the next, with hurdles of exams, sports teams and proms to pass along the way. The time we spend raising children is measured by diapers, pre-school, driving, dating and college searches. In either case, we don’t have the opportunity to stop and say-“Wait. I’m not sure I want to go there right now!”
With retirement, however, it is all about choice: lots and lots of years of choice, and being faced with all these choices can be daunting. I have encountered so many soon- to -be retirees who, faced with the thought of retiring in the next few years, feel overwhelmed with the choices in front of them.
Where to start, what to think about, can be a major stumbling block. Below I have outlined a process that can help you get started thinking, allowing you to make choices that are the best for you.
Knowledge of what is available
One of the first parts of dealing with choices is to know all the many options available to you. Where could you volunteer in your community? How are your friends spending their retirement time? Are part-time jobs available? Do you have commitments that need to be considered first, like babysitting a new grandchild? What classes are available for seniors? How about Senior Sport Leagues? How much does it cost to join the local fitness center?
All of this takes time. It’s not a difficult task, but does require creativity, web research, talking with many people and perseverance. The more you look, the more you will uncover. The list should be created uncritically. Decisions on what to keep on the list will be made later. You can start with a list of the categories (e.g. classes, physical activity) that you might be interested in pursuing and then go through each category—search the web, make calls, look for senor resource lists, etc. The categories mentioned above are a good start; however, each of us has an individual twist that makes the list unique.
In the blogs to come later, we will explore the many other processes involved with moving forward with creating the retirement of your dreams. Most importantly, be patient. You have a lot of years to enjoy!
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