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HEADING FOR RETIREMENT?

Heading for retirement?

Heading for retirement?

A psychiatrist’s advice for maintaining wellbeing

Netcare Akeso – Media Release

Taking an active interest in maintaining general health and wellbeing in one’s golden years should include paying close attention to the connection between mental and physical health, memory and social connectedness.

This is according to Dr Ryan Fuller, a psychiatrist specialising in geriatric mental health – or mental health of the aged – and practising at the Memory Care units at Netcare Akeso Alberton and Netcare Akeso Parktown, who says that while retirement is intended to be a period of relaxation, this major life change can in fact be an enormous stressor, possibly triggering a decline in one’s mental as well as physical health.

“When people retire they often experience what we call existential angst, feeling a sense of dread brought on by what they may view as a loss of identity. It is also unfortunately the case that few people plan adequately for retirement, which contributes towards stress levels,” Dr Fuller says.

“We see a significant increase in the mortality rate amongst retired men in particular, who tend to experience weakened immune systems and whose physical health may deteriorate when they stop working. It is often recommended that men should not retire fully for this reason.”

Dr Fuller notes that physical factors such as chronic diseases including high blood pressure or diabetes can also contribute towards mental health concerns by placing individuals at risk of vascular dementia, brought on by damage to the brain’s blood vessels caused by a stroke, for example.

“The best thing you can do for yourself in your golden years is to commit to making consistent daily efforts in maintaining a lifestyle which supports overall health and wellbeing,” he says.

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain

Fuller’s advice is to keep it simple and stick to the basics of good health.

“What is good for the heart is also good for the brain, so if you are eating healthily, being physically active, getting enough sleep, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding smoking, you are working from a good baseline. Simply going for a 20 minute walk each day has been shown to benefit every aspect of your health, provided you are walking somewhere safe.

“When it comes to nutrition, eating a Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and very little red meat is by far the most sensible way to look after your heart. Regular hydration is essential and is often a problem area amongst elderly individuals, who may have mobility issues and therefore avoid drinking to limit visits to the bathroom. This is not a good idea, as it is vital to drink at least 1.5L to 2L of hydrating fluid daily. This also means avoiding too much caffeine as this is a diuretic.

Stay busy, keep learning and be social

For boosting the mind, Dr Fuller advises keeping a hand written diary, as the process of writing is good for memory. “Engaging in activities such as knitting or needlework, adult colouring books, listening to your favourite music, doing puzzles, sudoku and word searches are all good for cognition. It is very important to try new things such as learning a language or skill to continue cognitive development,” he says.

“Keep things short and sweet – you need spend no more than 15 to 20 minutes on such tasks. It is important that you enjoy what you are doing and that you don’t find it stressful. Playing Bridge is one of the best things you can do for your mind as this includes a social element as well. Getting out into the world and socialising in person is an important form of cognitive stimulation and highly beneficial for mental health.

“For those who enjoy short bursts of digital interaction there are some useful apps available, such as Lumosity for cognitive exercise and Calm for helping with stress and sleeping, though too much screen time is not advisable, as an excess of blue light can cause insomnia.

“On that note, it is important to get enough uninterrupted sleep without the use of sleeping pills, as long term use of this type of medication is a risk factor for dementia. Exercise and cognitive activity during the day are important for becoming naturally tired and ready to sleep at night.

“Freud said that to be happy, humans need someone to love, to be loved and something to do. Jung took this one step further by saying that what we do must be meaningful – whether this is in a spiritual or personal sense, it must generate some kind of personal satisfaction.

“Paying attention to mental health should be a part of daily life, no matter your age, and it is certainly an important aspect of ageing well. Just as you practice habits like flossing your teeth, you should do daily mental exercises. And just as you would visit your GP for any physical concerns, it is important to be proactive and reach out for mental help when going through a stressful time or a major life change, such as retirement,” concludes Dr Fuller.

 

When is the right time to move into a retirement village?

When is the right time to move into a retirement village?

Money Mag’s Martin Hesse wrote in the April 2022 issue: “WHEN’S THE RIGHT TIME TO MOVE INTO A RETIREMENT VILLAGE?”

“Moving into a retirement community is a big decision for retirees and their families, and there are many considerations to take into account.

Retirement villages offer the advantages of independent living in your own space, without the time-consuming maintenance of your own home and there is anecdotal evidence that such a lifestyle even boosts your life expectancy, thanks to the amenities they offer.

But how do you know the time is right to make such a move? And once this decision has been made, how do you choose the accommodation best for you? This is a very subjective decision and one that is often taken when people’s health starts to fail. The vast majority of people leave it later than they should. The increase in stress levels of moving home is directly proportional to the age of the mover. Everyone handles stress differently, so this is not a universal law, but moving at 65 is generally far less stressful than moving home at 75. One needs to be proactive and understand that age-related illnesses come upon one suddenly. The retiring baby-boomer generation is more proactive in this regard and there are more people moving into mature lifestyle villages in their late 50s early 60s, which is the ideal time, bearing in mind modern villages cater for an active lifestyle.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR MOVING

  • Physical health: In later life, the importance of being able to access medical care quickly and easily while not breaking the bank, will become a priority, so having healthcare facilities and trained professionals close at hand means that you will be able to enjoy your golden years without worrying unduly about these unforeseen eventualities.
  • Mental health: Loneliness, boredom and social isolation become a reality as you age, particularly if you’re stuck behind high walls in the suburbs, nursing a spouse, or no longer able to drive. Retirement villages however are home to vibrant communities of elderly people who are keen to make new friendships, to stay active, and even to learn new skills.
  • Home and garden maintenance: Cooking, cleaning and gardening all get much more difficult as you age, and keeping up with home maintenance can be both onerous and costly. In modern retirement villages, professional teams take care of home maintenance, gardening, healthcare, housekeeping, laundry, and catering.
  • Security: At most professionally run retirement villages, 24-hour security is part of the package. And if you do go away on holiday, you can simply lock up and go, knowing your home is safe and secure.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VILLAGE

It is advisable for prospective purchasers to visit at least five villages to make comparisons and also to draw up a comprehensive list of questions that should be satisfactorily answered by the salesperson. The list will be long but should always start with security, which is paramount. A wall or electrified fence and gatehouse alone are not sufficient. Security should include 24/7 CCTV monitoring of the fence line in a professionally operated control room with an armed response back-up.

Other questions to ask relate to health-care provision, the monthly levy and what it covers, community life and facilities, and the financial strength of the body corporate. Buyers must obviously also check that prices and payment options suit their budgets.

INDEPENDENCE WITHIN A COMMUNITY

Many senior living communities are aware that retired people don’t want to give up their independence; they simply want a structure that is beneficial to their needs and lifestyle. Retirement neighbourhoods can use technology, expert service providers, and a wealth of options for living, eating, enjoying exercise and entertainment to ensure that residents are independent and happy. On the other hand, living in a retirement community lessens isolation, provides security, companionship and care, and this has especially been the case during Covid restrictions, which have seen older people facing intense isolation. Living in a senior community can help residents create relationships with peers, carers, and service providers, and feel less alone. Many senior living communities allow pets, or in other cases, certain types of pets such as one small dog. Some facilities may offer care for pets if residents cannot care for their pets alone.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Enjoying leisure activities with friends, such as playing bridge or participating in a book club, have been found to protect cognitive skills. Physical activity, such as walking and hiking, gardening or yoga, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Senior living communities also reduce the incidence of falls, one of the leading causes of injury and death. The likelihood of a fall going unnoticed in a senior community is low, as well-lit and clutter-free living areas prevent falls, and exercise and physical therapy can reduce their instances and severity.

MEDICAL CARE AND AMENITIES

Before choosing a senior living community, you should assess the level and quality of healthcare the community provides. Is there a frail care section? Does it have intermediate assisted-living accommodation? You should also confirm the community’s procedures in the event of an emergency, their disaster preparedness, and which hospitals will be used if admission is necessary. This will help ensure a person receives the right level of care and can avoid revisions to their routines after they move in.”

To read the full article, click here.

Retiring may be the hardest part about retirement. It’s not unusual to get cold feet. But you don’t want to work forever either, so what do you do? Here are some coping tips to get you over the hump. To read more, click here.

These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about

These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about

Marketwatch’s Sam Dogen published the following article on Oct. 13, 2019: “These are the bad things about early retirement that no one talks about.

Welcome to your identity crisis…

For all the glamour of living an early retirement lifestyle, there are plenty of negatives I’ve come to discover since I permanently left my job in 2012. I know why we revert to our baseline state of happiness, no matter how much freedom and money you have. Let’s go through some of the negatives of retiring early now that I’m a grizzled veteran.

1) You will suffer an identity crisis for an unknown period.

When you’ve spent at least a decade working in a profession, you’ll find it incredibly jolting to no longer be identified as the person who is a marketing expert, an investment professional, or the management consultant who can figure out how to optimize a business. It’s only after you leave your job do you truly realize how wound up you were in your profession.

Your identity crisis may last as short as three months or it might last for years. It all depends on how wrapped up you were in your job, how long you spent getting educated after high school, and whether you have a clear plan post-retirement. Doctors are some of the people who suffer the most after leaving their occupations. Conversely, high school graduates who somehow struck it rich with a product or an invention seem to adjust much easier in post-retirement life.

Job titles can be incredibly addictive. Why else do people get so depressed when passed over for promotion? Why else do people try so hard to get promoted sooner and faster than everybody else? Do not underestimate the importance of being a manager, director, vice president, or even a C-level executive.

After all, the most common question people ask when they first meet each other is: What do you do for a living? And if you tell them you don’t do anything for a living, well then, you might just feel like a sheepish loser. You’ll want to try to explain yourself, but by then, your three-second first impression will no longer hold the other person’s attention.

What happened to me: After working in the Asian equities business for 13 years, it felt hollow to no longer have my Executive Director title or be identified with my investment firm. I felt sad that I could no longer go to Asia for conferences or with clients. For so long, taking a business-class trip to Hong Kong, India, China or Taiwan was part of my quarterly routine. Shallow as it may sound, it felt special to have priority boarding. I felt important when clients would entrust me to show them around in a foreign land.

For the first year after leaving my job, I wondered how the business was doing without me. Could they really survive without my expertise? After all, I was there for 11 years. Surely, they needed my relationships. But after months went by with no email or phone call from my old firm saying they wanted me back, I had to come to terms that I was no longer important to them.

I wanted to believe that my position meant something to the firm and to the people that I serviced. But at the end of the day, the person I trained to replace me as part of my severance agreement, was good enough. And because he was good enough, I concluded that I was no longer any good.

What Biden’s First 100 Days Mean For You and Your Money

2) You will be stuck in your head.

When you suddenly have an extra 10 to 14 hours a day of free time, it’s very difficult to optimize your time wisely.

Your productivity will suffer in retirement. You will no longer feel motivated to achieve great wins. As a result, you may slowly start to get depressed. Only after some really deep soul-searching and some, “what am I doing with my life?” questioning will you begin to organize your time better and become more productive.

Your mind can be very dangerous because it can always second-guess your actions. Did I retire too soon? What if I run out of money? What if people think I’m a loser? What if I can’t ever get back into the workforce if things go wrong? When you have a lot of time to think, your doubts go on and on.

Perhaps one analogy is to compare being stuck in your head with Locked-in syndrome. LIS is a condition in which a patient is aware but cannot move or communicate verbally due to complete paralysis of nearly all voluntary muscles in the body except for vertical eye movements and blinking. This could be one of my worst nightmares. Retiring early may render you inoperable for a while.

What happened to me: Because I left work at age 34, I was worried for about the first two years whether or not I had made the right choice. No rational person leaves a well-paying job to be unemployed in their mid-30s. Your late-30s is when you start to finally make good money. And by the time you reach your 40s, you should be at your maximum earnings power.

During my first year of early retirement, to the outside world I proudly proclaimed I was retired from a career in finance. But on the inside, I was second-guessing my decision to leave. Because of my uncertainty, I decided to do some part-time consulting with a financial technology startup for about 20 hours a week. It was a great way to distract my mind from all my fears, earn some side income, and re-plug myself into society. I also kept in touch with multiple banks until my Series 7 and 63 licenses expired.

Finally, I dived deep into my writing on Financial Samurai. Writing has always been my most cathartic way to deal with any uncertainty or problems I might have. For example, now that I have a son, I’ve been worried about whether our roughly $200,000 a year in passive income is enough to support a family of three if he doesn’t win the San Francisco public school lottery system. It’s taken almost 20 years for me to generate this passive income level, and it still doesn’t seem like enough.

Given this worry, I did a deep dive budget analysis for a family earning $300,000 a year, and it sure seems like we need to earn $100,000 more to maintain our quality of life in San Francisco. Alternatively, we can always move to a lower cost area of the country or world.

3) People will treat you like a weird misfit.

Whether it’s because retiring early is unconventional or because people are secretly jealous you aren’t grinding away at a day job, people won’t give you the same amount of respect as working-class citizens. After all, if they can’t describe what you do for a living, then they can’t pigeonhole you into an archetype that is comfortable for them.

Having a job means you are a productive member of society. If you retire at a young age, people will assume you are simply slacking off and not paying any taxes. They’ll sometimes look at you as a leech they want to flick off.

Further, if you are an outcast, then you won’t be invited to parties or events that other working people always get to attend. You’re simply not top of mind to them. If you are an extrovert, early retirement will be much more difficult than if you are an introvert.

What happened to me: After the first year of early retirement, I no longer told anybody I retired early. Instead, I told anybody who asked that I was a writer, a tennis teacher, a fintech consultant, or simply in between jobs. Before that, I think a lot of people just assumed I was a trust fund baby who did not have to work. And the last thing this middle-class guy who went to public school wants to be known as is a trust fund baby.

My favorite time of the year was during the winter holidays. I loved going to all the holiday parties and getting tipsy with fellow revelers. Now, I get invited to zero holiday parties because I don’t work for anyone. Nor do I get invited to client holiday parties either, even though I have several partners who are based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It may sound silly, but having a drink with good people with shared interests really means a lot to me.

It takes a lot of effort to build new social networks if you aren’t part of a larger organization. There is no weekend cookout a colleague is hosting on Labor Day Weekend to attend. I’ve had to participate in various meetup events to find new people to hang out with. So far, my social network only revolves around tennis and softball. But even then, it’s not like I’ve found buddies who will come over and just chill in the hot tub over a beer or anything.

4) You’ll be disappointed that you aren’t much happier.

So many people think that once they achieve financial freedom or leave a job they dislike, they’ll suddenly be permanently happier. The truth of the matter is, your elevated happiness will only last at most three to six months. Eventually, you’ll revert to your natural state of being.

Think back to your high school or college days when you didn’t have any money compared with now. I’d venture to guess you were just as happy, if not happier when you were a broke college student.

Having the freedom to do what you want is priceless. But you will eventually take your freedom for granted like the air you breathe. On the days you feel angry or sad, you will start questioning what the hell is wrong with you since you’ve got more than the average person. You’ll feel stupid for feeling unhappy when there are literally hundreds of millions of people in the world wondering whether they’ll have enough to eat the next day.

You think, if I can’t be happy when I’m financially independent, surely there must be something seriously wrong with me. And you could be right! Can you imagine being unhappy as a Norwegian? Norway is perpetually ranked as one of the top five happiest countries in the world.

What’s going on with me: I thought I’d be much happier not having to report to a micromanager boss I did not respect. But my increased happiness was fleeting and only lasted for about a week before I was back to my regular self. Instead, my happiness was weighed down by months of uncertainty on whether I had made the right move to leave my job. It was only after about two years did my doubt finally start to dissipate.

Although corporate politics no longer upset me, other things end up filling the void. For example, drivers who decide to double park on a busy street in rush hour traffic really bother me now. So do dog owners who let their dogs poop in front of my house and don’t pick up after them. In the past, I could only allocate a small amount of annoyance to such incidences.

Instead of being permanently at a happier level, I’m simply no longer as annoyed or as angry at things as frequently. Further, the volatility around my steady state of happiness is lower. In other words, I’ve mellowed out. That said, don’t offend me because I still enjoy a really good fight.

5) You constantly wonder whether this is all there is to life.

Retiring early is like finishing up your favorite longstanding TV show. You’re glad there’s a conclusion, but you’re also sad that it’s over. You hope to find a show that’s as good or better, but there are no guarantees.

Most of us spend 13 years going to grade school so we can spend four years in college to get a decent job. Then we spend decades trying to earn and save money to provide for our family and then one day retire by 65. With good luck, we’ll live for another 20 years to enjoy all the fruits of our labor.

When you retire at a much earlier age, you are constantly left wondering what’s next. You are mentally twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next big thing while your close friends are all at work. Early retirement can get extremely mundane and boring because you have nobody to spend time with.

As a result, you’re repeatedly forced to will yourself into action. This constant self-starting attitude can become extremely trying to the point where you long to rejoin the workforce and be told what to do.

What’s going on with me: I probably drove my wife nuts during the first two years of early retirement because I constantly told her I was bored. Only boring people get bored right? Wrong. Everybody gets bored at some point. When you’re working, you don’t have time to get bored because you’re working. There’s only so much tennis, golf, and softball I can play before my knees break apart. There are only so many churches to visit in Europe before they all start looking the same.

She used to have vacations from me because I would be away traveling for work every month. Now she was seeing my cherubic face every single day. It’s a good thing we had three bedrooms at the time. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure we’d both have gone crazy from seeing each other so often.

It was only after our son was born in early 2017 that I felt a renewed sense of purpose. Before my boy, I felt my purpose was to help educate as many readers as possible about personal finance to one day be free. After my boy was born, my purpose has expanded to keeping Financial Samurai running long enough to teach him about operating an online business out of fear he may have a tough time getting ahead. In addition, I now need to live long enough until he finds someone who loves him as much as I love my wife.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd offers interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home. To contact us, click here.

Afraid to retire, even though you can afford to?

Afraid to retire, even though you can afford to?

Kara Duckworth, CFP®, CDFA® wrote on March 26, 2021 for Kiplinger:

Help! I’m Afraid to Retire, Even Though I Can Afford to

“Actually retiring may be the hardest part about retirement. It’s not unusual to get cold feet. But you don’t want to work forever either, so what do you do? Here are some coping tips to get you over the hump.

I am seeing an interesting pattern in discussions with my clients about retirement — and it’s certainly not one I was expecting. Instead of worrying about whether they’ll have enough saved to enjoy retirement, they’re worrying about whether they’ll enjoy retirement at all.

It seems like discussions about retirement start almost as soon as we get our first job. Whether it’s saving as much as possible in your 401(k) plan or making an annual IRA contribution, the focus is always on having enough money to retire and enjoy all the things they’ve been dreaming of doing. For some, the big plans include traveling to far-flung destinations; for others, it’s spending time with family, finally moving to that place you love to visit on vacation, or volunteering.

To Be Happy Now, Live Like You’re Already Retired

As financial planners, we talk about these dreams as goals and put dollar amounts on them with anticipated timeframes around when you could expect to achieve them.

As we diligently make progress on achieving those retirement dreams, we don’t spend as much time as we should thinking about what life may actually look like in retirement. Just last week, I spoke to a client who says she would like to retire at the end of this year. We have been working toward her economic freedom for years, and she has enough assets to be able to make all the dreams she has expressed come to fruition. We got to the end of the financial plan discussion and I was all set to celebrate starting the countdown to the long-awaited retirement date.

But there was a pause, and then she said, “I don’t know if I can actually start to withdraw the money and feel good about it. I have been so focused on saving, investing and planning for years that I don’t know how I will feel about starting to take money out, even if it’s for things I think I want.”

She went on to say that she always thought she wanted to move to another state to be close to her extended family, but she now realizes that they are going to be busy with their own lives, and it won’t just be fun all the time like when she visits now. And if her family won’t be able to see her multiple times a week, then maybe she doesn’t actually want to live in that state and make a major lifestyle adjustment to weather she doesn’t enjoy year-round and not being able to walk on the beach every day.

She shared that she worries that the photography and golf hobbies that she feels like she never has time to enjoy now won’t be enough to fill her days. She has traveled extensively already, and the list of places she still wants to visit is getting shorter. In other words, her biggest worry about retiring is what she is going to do with her time when she retires — even though she says frequently, even now, that she can’t wait to stop working.

I have had similar conversations with physician clients who start our discussions by telling me that they are very stressed, and the only thing they want to do is close their practice as soon as financially possible. And yet, when we work through their wealth management plan and show that they have more than enough assets to walk out the door tomorrow, they can’t do it. For some people, retiring from being an expert in their field or having a prestigious job feels like giving up part of the identity they have worked very hard to earn.

So, what do you do when the hardest part about retirement is actually retiring? The most successful transitions to retirement I have helped clients implement start years before the planned retirement date or have elements that help ease them into decisions. Here are some ideas to make retirement the next step in a journey, not a final destination:

Consider slowing down at work instead of stopping completely. Working part-time allows you to have the best of both worlds: Continued income and a day-to-day sense of purpose, as well as the time to pursue hobbies, travel and leisure. The physician who wanted to walk away from his practice is now only working three days a week, happy to still be caring for patients while being able to participate in his teenager’s school and sports activities.

Try before you buy. If relocation is in your retirement plans, you can similarly take a new location for a test drive before committing to living there full-time. In the case of the client who might want to live by her family but really likes her current home, I recommended that she rent a house for a year in the new state to see if she can deal with the weather, and if her extended family’s lifestyle suits her before she sells her current home. She can rent out her current home for some income, or she can just come back home for a break during the very hot or cold months in the new state.

Plan to explore new things. While you may have a few hobbies that you enjoy now and want to pursue in retirement, you can also plan to try out new experiences to keep your day-to-day life fresh and interesting. Many people find that volunteering gives them the purpose that working used to fulfill — but without the stress. You can also explore those activities that you always thought sounded fun —  like learning to paint, ballroom dancing, playing pickleball, running triathlons or taking a series of cooking classes — but never had time to do before.”

To continue reading the rest of the article, click here.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry. Shire also offers interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home. To contact us, click here.

The different phases of retirement

The different phases of retirement

Investopedia’s Julia Kagan and Marguerita Chenge wrote on 18 February 2021:

“Retirement isn’t just one phase of life but multiple phases, especially with today’s increased life expectancy and retirements that often last for 20 years or more. Each phase has its own rewards, as well as financial and emotional challenges. Here is how some experts define the phases of retirement.

What Are the Phases of Retirement?

Financial planners and other advisors sometimes divide retirement into three basic phases: an early, active phase when retirees may travel widely or embark on other adventures they had to put off during their career years, a more settled and somewhat less active phase, and a third phase in which the effects of aging begin to take a serious toll. In financial terms, the first phase tends to be expensive—often more so than when people were still working. Expenses generally drop during the second phase but pick up again in the third phase due to medical and/or nursing home expenses.

In the 1970s, the late sociologist Robert Atchley described a more elaborate six-phase process: pre-retirement, retirement, contentment, disenchantment, reorientation, and routine. While not everyone will experience all six of those phases, they can provide a useful framework for thinking about retirement.

Retirement, in Six Phases

Here is brief look at the six phases Atchley outlined, along with some of their financial and emotional implications.

  1. Pre-Retirement

This is the phase when people begin to think seriously about the life they want for themselves in retirement and whether they’re financially on track to achieve it. At least that’s what they should be doing—and not waiting until they’re right on the cusp of retirement to try to figure it all out.

Financial advisor Diane M. Manuel, CFP® CRPC®, with Urban Wealth Management in El Segundo, Calif., says: “We all think that shucking a routine, especially one that may only marginally make us happy, will be easy. Think again. This routine probably began in kindergarten—60-plus years of the same thing. Get up. Get dressed. Get lunch. Go out. Come home. Eat. Go to bed. Repeat.”

Manuel adds, “My recommendation to my clients is this: As you plan for retirement, think about what it looks like. Talk to your friends. Write about it. Create a storyboard. Be imaginative. Your financial plans and your day-to-day retirement plan should go hand in hand. This is your retirement identity.”

  1. Retirement

The big moment comes, and the retiree makes the transition from full-time work to the retirement they’ve planned for themselves. Work, possibly part-time, may still be a factor in the future if they enjoy working or need to supplement their retirement income. But now they are officially retirees.

Shanna Tingom, co-founder of Heritage Financial Strategies in Gilbert, Ariz., says, “The toughest transition most of my clients make is the one from working and saving to retirement and spending. It can be emotionally and financially harder than they ever expected. If they are younger retirees, and they have friends and family still working, it can also be very lonely, especially if they don’t have a plan.”

As Tingom sees it, “A proper retirement plan includes three things: a financial plan, a budget, and a FUN plan! The fun plan includes things that they want to do, places that they want to visit, and how much money is included in the budget for those things.”

  1. Contentment

This is a positive phase when retirees get to enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labor. It’s sometimes described as a honeymoon period. If the money holds out, this phase can last for a while.

  1. Disenchantment

Once the honeymoon is over, some retirees find themselves asking, “Is this it?” Even if they are doing fine financially, they may experience some of the emotional downsides of retirement, such as loneliness, disillusionment, and a feeling of uselessness.”

To continue reading the rest of the article, click here.

Shire offers:

  • Training of sales teams in life rights and the sale of retirement properties
  • Interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home
  • Continuous personal development of staff and others serving retirement villages.
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IF YOU LIVE TO 100, YOU’LL NEED MORE THAN MONEY

If You Live to 100, You’ll Need More Than Money

John F. Wasik wrote on March 6, 2021 for the New York Times:

“If You Live to 100, You’ll Need More Than Money – The number of centenarians in the U.S. is growing steadily. If you join them, you’ll need not just a robust retirement fund but also a plan, and a purpose.

Dani Rizzo and Adam Hoyt are diligently saving for retirement. They’re putting away money each month and monitoring their investments. They’re looking ahead, as a couple, and trying to be socially responsible.

He’s 32, and she is 33, but they wonder: How many years of life could they be looking at, and saving for? Pondering the far-off future “seems daunting,” Mr. Hoyt said.

So with their financial planner, they ran an online longevity calculator. The prediction, based on their family histories, health and lifestyle, popped up: Mr. Hoyt could very well live to 92, Ms. Rizzo, to 94.

Mr. Hoyt, a senior account executive for the Washington Nationals, and Ms. Rizzo, digital director for the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C., are looking far beyond the current dark pandemic moment — and toward, they hope, long lives.

Before the pandemic, Americans had an average life span of nearly 79 (76 for men and 81 for women), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But centenarians are a steadily growing demographic group — totaling an estimated 92,000 — giving rise to a relatively new approach to retirement preparation known as longevity planning, which combines conventional financial techniques with “life” planning.

While the couple are saving regularly in their individual retirement accounts, they are also envisioning “what we want our retirement to look like,” Ms. Rizzo said. “We have no plans for kids, but travel will be a big piece of what we do.” They also care about investing responsibly, investing in companies that promote racial and gender equity and divesting from fossil fuels.

They are working with James Brewer, a certified financial planner with Envision Wealth Planning in Chicago. While focusing on their savings goals, Mr. Brewer also helped them embrace life planning, which asks: Besides not outliving your money, how can you make your life meaningful in retirement, which could last three decades or more?

Mr. Brewer says longevity is something that can be planned for, and often yields pleasant surprises. “My mother is a Black woman from the Jim Crow South who is 92 and lives independently,” he said. “She never thought she would have lived this long. Fortunately, my dad had pensions.”

The growth in the 100-plus age group is partly a result of better medical care and a combination of improved lifestyle factors. This cohort has expanded 44 percent since 2000, according to a C.D.C. study. Eighty percent of centenarians are women. And in about 40 years, the number of people 100 and older will be six times as high as it is now, according to the Census Bureau.

What enhances longevity? College degrees and continuing education are correlated with it, a Yale and University of Alabama-Birmingham study found. Having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a longer life, but one’s longevity may be augmented by factors such as enlightened self-care, better medical attention and activity later in life.

Genetics also play a significant role. The landmark New England Centenarian Study, begun in 1995, identified genetic markers associated with those living past 100. The researchers, led by Dr. Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, found that these markers over all were 61 percent accurate in predicting who hits 100.

“The genetic component is a factor in 40 percent to 50 percent of people who make it to 100,” Dr. Perls said, “and 70 percent for those reaching 106, but it’s like winning the lottery. Only one in 5,000 Americans make it to the century mark.” And longevity isn’t distributed equally: A Princeton University study in 2012 found that socioeconomic differences can account for 80 percent of the life-expectancy divide between Black and white men, and for 70 percent of the imbalance between Black and white women.

An enlightened attitude and deliberate mental, social and physical activity during retirement also matter. That means continuing to learn new things, staying involved in the community and working to some degree.

Activity is critically important, said Mitch Anthony, a consultant in Rochester, Minn., and author of “Life Centered Financial Planning.” Mr. Anthony, who trains financial planners in life planning, has found that people who embrace what he calls a “new retirementality” do best when they remain socially and mentally vibrant.

In developing a core life-planning philosophy, he said, you will have to ponder answers to three questions: “What do you want out of life, what gives you joy, and how do you pay for it?”

Purpose and meaning throughout life are important, many researchers agree, although it’s hard to pin down on how they improve longevity. One study, published in 2013, suggests that these factors may offer a mental and possibly physical breakwater for life’s many travails.

“Having purpose in life may motivate reframing stressful situations to deal with them more productively, thereby facilitating recovery from stress and trauma,” the researchers found.

When estimating how long one could live and need money, it helps to run some possible outcomes. Most advisers who offer comprehensive financial planning do this, because it’s critical to see how long your money will last given a host of factors. You’ll also need to review some long-term estate planning, Mr. Brewer said.

“A lot can happen over 10 decades, especially over the last three,” he said. “It’s important to review your wealth-transfer and personal wishes annually. While you may still be alive, many of your friends or desired beneficiaries may no longer be alive.”

Mr. Brewer recommends reviewing those beneficiary designations and choosing contingent beneficiaries as well for life insurance, individual retirement accounts, and 401(k) and 403(b) plans. It might also be important to consider the tax benefits of bequeathing assets to a charity you love rather than to a living beneficiary, he added.”

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Retirement Village patriarchy

Retirement Village patriarchy 

Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

My daughter will be 18 years old this month. I find it hard to believe, and yet it is true. Soon she will  no longer require a lift to the beach or anywhere else, as she spreads her wings and finds her feet in  this world. A world dominated by men and in which she must learn to thrive. I have little doubt that  she will do so! 

Facing the reality of her pending adulthood has brought about a change in me too. It is a change that  has perhaps come late in my life, but I have a few years of fight left in me and I sense the need to be  less complicit in a situation that requires urgent attention. 

My work focus over the past ten years has been to understand and improve the so-called “Retirement  Village”. “Retirement” is an irksome term, but it is useful because everyone knows what you are  talking about – that stage of life when many people sense the need to gear down, take an interest in  less money-making activities and “smell the roses”. For some that stage is at age 55 and for others it  is at age 88 – or it never comes. 

It will come as a shock to nobody that many retirement villages and retirement organisations are dominated by men – especially during the early years of development. I have been comfortable in  that environment, but am becoming less and less so, as I have begun to realise the very far-reaching  impact of that male domination. 

An 88-year-old lady recently stood up rather shakily in a meeting and asked whether I did not think  that the organisation that owned the village in which she lives, should not have at least one woman  on the board of trustees. I had to agree, despite being employed by those same good gentlemen. 

Too often, houses and common facilities are designed by men, the engineering is done by men, men  run the service organisations and men run the village as trustees, directors and committee chairmen. 

This all despite the fact that the vast majority of retirement villages (if not all) are mostly populated  by ….. WOMEN! 

Women outlast men by a significant factor, and while this is an uncomfortable reality for men to face,  it is a fact. Almost from the first batch of occupants, women will be in the majority. 

Surely there is a pressing need for more women to take an interest in influencing the early  development of retirement villages. More property developers need to have women involved in the  reviews of house layouts and in the types and formats of services offered. 

It is heartening to see the level of female involvement in the management of certain villages. There  is no shortage of talent and strength, and one has to wonder why in some villages, so few women  stand for election as trustees. Perhaps they have little appetite for the power-plays within the male dominated boards of trustees – often comprising several ex-captains of industry? 

If this matter is to be remedied, women will have to step up and men will have to step back – realising  that women must shape the environment that they will live in for the longest. Their needs must thus  be placed first. 

Author: Rob Jones: MD – Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd (Shire) is based in the Western Cape Province of South Africa and specialises in the provision of a range of services focused exclusively on the retirement industry.

Reasons to start a business in retirement

Reasons to start a business in retirement

ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK  writer – Connie Inukai, wrote the following on January 22, 2021:

“If sitting around just isn’t your thing, then retirement is the perfect time to live out the dreams you may have put on hold. Simply filling empty hours with pointless recreation may feel like the opposite of freedom for many of the 72 million U.S. baby boomers, who have worked their entire lives. Launching your own business may be your ideal “retirement lifestyle.”

Six reasons to start a business in retirement

Stay active

Studies have indicated that the average retiree will experience a significant health issue within six years of retirement, commonly including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and depression. Staying motivated, active and connected is the best way to combat health declines due to aging. Being active includes exercising daily. Exercise may seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier to be active than one might think. A great way to stay active is to start a business, which involves packing materials, going to the post office and attending networking events. All of this gets your blood pumping.

Keep mentally alert 

The brain needs regular exercise, too. One way to improve your quality of life is by keeping your brain active through continuous learning. The day you stop learning is the day you start becoming old, no matter your biological age. Staying mentally active can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Learning how to run a business and planning marketing campaigns will keep your brain active.

Pursue a passion

You don’t stop dreaming at 50. Find that niche that you are really passionate about. Research has shown that having a purpose in life can lead to a longer life. If the main goal is not to make money, then dig into your interests and hobbies and focus on something that brings you joy. If you enjoy woodworking or needlecraft, consider selling your handmade items online (e.g., Etsy) or at local fairs. When you have time on your hands, there are few barriers to turning your hobby into a business.

Supplement your pension or income

You may be relying on reduced income after you retire. A small business could provide support for staying on top of bills, paying down debt or tucking away for a rainy day. You might want to rethink your former career. For example, I used to be a college writing professor. I now use those skills to guide people in writing their life stories.

Stay social

Maintaining strong social ties is essential for aging adults to feel a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness or depression. Nearly one-half of all older Americans report feeling lonely sometimes or always. Leaving a job may mean giving up most of your daily social interaction. By starting a business, you can replenish some of that interaction — with customers, suppliers, postal carriers and other professionals. There are also plenty of online communities for small-business owners where you can get advice and meet people with similar interests.

Give back to the community

  • Volunteer at a school: Public schools, in particular, are chronically underfunded and in need of volunteers for a wide array of tasks: tutor, crossing guard and mentor. There are always kids and teachers who need some help.
  • Work at a hospital: Volunteers receive thorough training for the particular positions and annual refresher courses are common, the American Hospital Association says. Some typical volunteer roles include visiting patients, working at the gift shop and assisting in blood drives.
  • Get involved in politics: Volunteer for a political crusade, grassroots organization or political action committee. You can also work for a candidate you support.
  • Help on a hotline: Suicide hotlines exist in almost every city, manned by volunteers. This is obviously an important — even life-saving — way to help. Help lines are also available for people who just need to hear another voice.
  • Contact animal shelters and humane societies: Local animal shelters and humane societies need volunteers to care for animals, organize fundraising events, perform administrative tasks, and help rescue pets in the wake of natural disasters such as floods and fires.

The best retirement business ideas start with what you know. If the goal is not necessarily to make money, dig into your interests and hobbies, and choose something that brings you pleasure. If you are looking for something new, here are some ideas.

  • Services. Babysitting, pet sitting, guiding tours and interior decorating are activities that can keep you physically active and social while focusing on your community and picking your own hours.
  • Handcrafted goods. What are you already doing in your spare time? Things to make and sell might include soap, candles, jewelry and pottery.
  • Courses. You have a wealth of life and work experience! How can you monetize what you know?  Teaching online courses may require more work upfront, but it offers excellent margins and takes minimal effort in the long run. In addition, you can work from home.

Take control of your life

It just doesn’t make sense to throw away all your knowledge and experience just because of a particular date on the calendar. With life spans increasing, you could easily change your career when you’re 50 or 60 or embark on an exciting entrepreneurial venture for the next 20 to 30 years. So why be stuck in a dull retirement when you can take control of your life and do something interesting, rewarding and fulfilling while contributing to society at the same time?”

To continue reading the rest of the article, click on this link.

Shire offers interactive workshops on considerations when buying your retirement home. To contact us, click here.

 

 

Practice makes perfect when it comes to retirement

Practice makes perfect when it comes to retirement

Rightwealth Advisors recently wrote “Retiree in Training: Practice makes perfect when it comes to retirement”

“Are you ready to retire? Are you sure? Think about it before you say, “Yes!

Most of us really look forward to the idea of well-deserved, unstructured free time. A time to do exactly what we please when we please – travel, spend time with family, pursue hobbies, volunteer. Until we get there. The 2018 Global Retirement Reality Report found that only 53% of Americans said they were happy in retirement. Some retirees underestimate how long it takes to adjust to what may be a radically different lifestyle; others miss their friends from work; still others find themselves with too much free time on their hands between grand adventures and visits with the grandkids.

Like all major life events, transitioning to a retirement lifestyle can be a major adjustment and comes with a few hiccups along the way. One day, you may go from your seat at the top as a powerful executive to a lounge chair in your living room with the TV or Fido for company. The point is, without your career to define you, what will?

Finding the answer takes a lot of preparation – emotionally, physically and financially – and a lot of thought. While the financial component is critical to a sustainable retirement, so is your quality of life. Too few people consider the psychological factors, which include letting go of your career identity, shifting social networks and spending more unscheduled time with your spouse, as well as the need to find new and engaging ways to stay active.

It’s crucial that would-be retirees invest in their social, physical and psychological needs as well as their financial ones. And that takes planning. Here’s what we mean.

All or Nothing?

It turns out you don’t have to go all-in on retirement. You can transition into it, while still working. In the years before you plan to retire: Practice. Try out different aspects of your proposed retirement and see if they are as fulfilling as you imagined. If traveling is on your agenda, start with extended trips to areas of interest. Pickleball more your cup of tea? Practice now to ensure it’s as fulfilling as you hope. Doing so, while you still have a job, can help with your eventual satisfaction in retirement. You may find you prefer a sort of hybrid retirement that perfectly blends work and leisure into the ideal mix for you.

You’re looking for fulfilling activities that also fill up your time in meaningful ways. Having an emotional connection, a purpose, to your activities helps motivate you and creates a sense of contentment. So it’s important to really give some thought to what makes you happy. Allow yourself the luxury of introspection and give yourself permission to enjoy your 60s, 70s and beyond using the money you’ve saved specifically for this purpose.

Once you have a good idea of what makes life more meaningful for you, take the time to experiment, explore and reflect on both your leisure and work options (e.g., part-time, consulting, moving to a new industry) to find the right balance of time, money, work and play that will become your retirement lifestyle. This work-and-play approach works best for those near traditional retirement age who are willing and able to work longer in exchange for getting a good read on their retirement readiness.

Consider the Work Perks

There are several benefits of continuing to work, in any capacity, while you try on retirement for size. The additional income can help you:

  • Avoid drawing down your retirement savings, allowing time for potential future growth.
  • Start enjoying the retirement lifestyle that will be most fulfilling for you.
  • Pay down unnecessary debt or splurge on a large purchase.
  • Stretch your retirement savings. Even a part-time salary will reduce the amount you’ll need to withdraw. For example, making $10,000 a year is enough to replace a 4% annual withdrawal from a $250,000 portfolio.
  • Delay taking Social Security, until age 70. Each year you wait adds 8% to your monthly benefits.
  • Reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs since you’ll still be covered under employer-subsidized insurance.

To get into the right mindset, first figure out if you really want to retire and what that may look like. Imagine how you’ll spend your days as well as what a typical day would look like. Ask yourself:

What current activities do I want to continue in retirement?

  • What new things do I want to learn or do?
  • Who would I like to see more of and how often?
  • Where would I like to travel?
  • What role does work play in my life?
  • What brings me joy?

A Change of Pace

Of course, everyone’s vision for retirement will be different, and any decisions about this important phase of life should be based on your financial situation and comfort level. If continuing to work while dipping your toe into the retirement waters appeals to you, run the idea past your financial advisor to determine if the idea is feasible. He or she can help you determine if a more gradual approach could help you adjust emotionally and financially, so you can achieve the ultimate reward: a happy, fulfilling new life.”

If you ever wondered what to do with your time once you retire, click here.

The key to retirement well-being, is to develop a diversified “life portfolio”

The key to retirement well-being, is to develop a diversified “life portfolio”

Steve Vernon wrote “Secrets Of A Successful Retiree: From A Retirement Professional” for Forbes online. He writes:

“What are the retirement planning strategies that an internationally recognised retirement expert successfully has used to plan her own retirement? There’s plenty you can learn from Anna Rappaport, a researcher, consultant, author, and speaker on a variety of retirement planning topics.

Rappaport is also a past-president of the Society of Actuaries and the current chair of its Aging and Retirement Research Initiative Steering Committee. In that role, she puts a special focus on women’s retirement security, which differs in some key ways from retirement security in general.

Recently, Rappaport shared her personal perspectives on and experience with retirement in a guest post written for Nerd’s Eye View, the influential blog from Michael Kitces for financial advisors. Her post, titled “Reboot, Rewire or Retire? Personal Experiences With Phased Retirement and Managing A Life Portfolio,” focuses on the non-financial aspects of retirement. She believes these goals are just as important as creating financial security in retirement.

Rappaport believes that the key to retirement well-being, is to develop a diversified “life portfolio” consisting of:

  • Health
  • People (family, friends, professional contacts)
  • Pursuits (work, volunteering, hobbies, community activities, travel)

Much of current retirement literature and advertising focuses on the “vacation” aspects of retirement, with dreamy pictures of couples walking on the beach at sunset, hand in hand, or holding rum drinks with miniature umbrellas. But Rappaport appropriately points out that a vacation is a break from what we normally do. “People who retire with the idea of an endless vacation are likely to be disappointed or bored within a year or two, if not sooner,” she says.

Rappaport’s post details the various ways that people can continue working, earning, and remaining engaged in their retirement years. She provides interesting insights for people who’ve held senior positions or visible roles during their careers. She advocates making a conscious choice between being known as “me, today” vs. “me, former vice president/director/partner/important title.” She has chosen to be known as “me, today” but describes her extensive former roles in her bio.

Rappaport also advocates planning with the rest of your life in mind. Too often, people approaching their retirement years plan for the “go-go” period of retirement and overlook the inevitable “slow-go” and “no-go” periods of their lives. Sooner or later, spouses, family, and friends will need support and care, and it’s important to be there when they need help. And eventually, you might need help, too, from the social network that you’ve carefully nurtured.

The last lines of Rappaport’s post are compelling: “Some things require a lot of vitality. Do them now while you can. You never know when limitations are coming.”

Some people use these type of thoughts to justify spending lots of money on that cruise to Tahiti they’ve always wanted to take. While that might be fun, don’t blow your savings and end up jeopardizing your financial security in your remaining years.

Better yet, consider Rappaport’s final advice as motivation to work on any unfinished business in your life. This might range from reconnecting with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while to taking up a cause or interest that you’re passionate about or even working on your “bucket list.” It can be one way to lead a fulfilling life without spending a lot of money.

Rappaport’s wisdom can help older workers and retirees better prepare for an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement. While this post just skimmed some key and unique highlights of her post, it contains many more insights and details, and would be a great read for anyone approaching their retirement years.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

If you ever wondered what to do with your time when you retire, click on this link.

Shire Retirement Properties (Pty) Ltd, is dedicated to the development of a mature retirement industry for South Africa, with broad sharing of knowledge, best practices, improved transparency and standards – all in the best interests of those who wish to retire with peace of mind.

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