For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.sacoronavirus.co.za

‘UNRETIREMENT’ TREND GROWS AS OLDER SOUTH AFRICANS HEAD BACK TO WORK

‘Unretirement’ trend grows as older South Africans head back to work

Janice Masencamp from Bizzcomunity.com writes:

“Here’s the good news. We’re living longer than ever before, and enjoying a better quality of life, while we do. The bad news is that less than 10% of South Africans have enough money to retire, which means many older people are working for longer just to make ends meet.

It’s part of a global trend known as ‘unretirement’, which is seeing older people across the world flooding back to the workforce to supplement their incomes or simply to stay busy – and it’s having a major impact on retirement planning, says employee benefits advisory firm NMG Benefits.

Statistics SA data suggests that between 2002 and 2020, the life expectancy of South Africans increased from 59.9 years to 64.6 years for men, and from 67.2 to 71.3 years for women. At the same time, the Pew Research centre says the number of people living to 100 years and older is expected to grow to nearly 3.7 million by 2050, from just 95,000 in 1990.

The challenge lies in funding this new-found longevity. South Africans are notoriously light on their retirement savings, and according to Sanlam’s benchmark survey report, one in five consumers say they will never be able to retire.

NMG figures show that the average replacement ratio for retirees declined from 35% in 2019 to 32% in 2021. This means the average member of a retirement fund can expect an income of 32% of their pre-retirement salary after they stop working.

Longer lives, longer planning

South Africans aren’t very good at saving or planning for their retirement at the best of times. Now, as we live for longer, we’re getting to a point where we should start planning as if we’re going to live to 100, and align our goals accordingly. This will have a major impact on the way we do financial planning. And those who don’t have enough retirement savings will keep working until they’re no longer able to.

Legally, there’s no mandatory retirement age in South Africa. However, a retirement age is often written into employment contracts, and employees need permission from their employers to keep working beyond that age.

There are clear benefits to employers of having older, more experienced employees in the workforce. They have valuable skills, knowledge, and experience which can be passed onto younger generations.

Studies suggest people who work longer retain higher levels of energy and mental alertness, reduce their chances of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and retain a continued sense of purpose and belonging. However, for most ‘unretirees’, the biggest advantage of staying in the workforce is the ability to generate additional income and having more years to save towards retirement.”

To continue reading, please click here.

Heading for retirement? Click here to read more.

HOBBIES TO TRY IN RETIREMENT

Hobbies to try in Retirement

The day you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. You’re retired and have plenty of free time. However, if you’ve devoted 40 or more hours a week to building a career, you might find you’re a bit bored when you have a less structured schedule. Fortunately, finding a retirement hobby or two can keep you entertained and fill the void in a fun way.

Great hobbies to try if you’re bored in retirement

Pour paint

Maybe you’ve never possessed the skill to draw or paint, but you have a passion for arts and crafts. Pour painting utilises acrylic paints and a floating medium to help people come up with unique abstract art.

Once you’re more familiar with the techniques, you can add pour paint to almost anything you might imagine, such as a vase, wood, cups, and even furniture. You’ll also learn about things such as creating cells and patterns. While pour painting isn’t totally predictable, part of the fun is seeing what you come up with each time.

Read more on this link

Take up golfing

Golfing isn’t anything unique to retirees. Learning the benefits of taking up a sport later in life can help you see the many advantages of this pastime and why people spend their days on the green.

Studies show physical activity, such as walking through nine or 18 holes of golf, reduces the risk of diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. It also gives you a social outlet, which can prevent depression and improve self-esteem.

Perhaps you golfed when you were younger to network with business connections. Now, you can play the sport for fun and take your time getting through a full course.

Read more on this link 

Write your memoir

One of the best hobbies for retirement is sharing your story with future generations. Did you get a bit wild during the 1970s? Maybe you started a revolution on your college campus, helped rescue homeless dogs in your 20s, or experienced a pivotal moment in history.

Make your hobby writing about the big events of your life so your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can look back on them later. Imagine if Laura Ingalls Wilder had never written a diary about her youth on the frontier. You have a story to tell and you should share it.

Read more on this link

Learn a new language

Since many people travel during retirement, making it a hobby to learn a new language can be practical as well as fun. With apps like Babble or local community college classes, you can easily figure out all the basics of any language.

You could even learn sign language and volunteer at a local deaf school or as an interpreter for a nonprofit organisation.

Read more on this link

Start a vlog

What if you could combine hobbies in retirement with bringing in some extra income?

Just because you continue working for a while doesn’t mean you can’t partially retire. If your funds allow it, you can start that business venture you always wanted or create an online video blog, monetising it for residual income.

Not sure how to shoot a video, upload it or monetise it? Ask any of your grandchildren or younger friends. They can help you get up and running quickly and explain the ins and outs of the latest tech. Most of the work is intuitive once you have a basic understanding.

Read more on this link

Eat through South Africa

Do you adore food? Make it your goal to eat throughout South Africa. If possible, travel to each province and eat the dish that the place is famous for.

If you don’t have the budget to travel but you love to cook, you can still try each dish from each province on the map. Get a taste of the country and all its regional specialties while improving your skills in the kitchen.

Read more on this link

 

Start a fairy garden

One idea that comes up over and over on retirement hobbies lists is gardening. However, why not embrace something truly whimsical and create a fairy garden for your grandchildren? If you live at the edge of a forest, you can create a really fun woodland-themed garden. However, any corner of your garden will do.

You can spend time creating miniature houses and pathways and adding figures as you find them. Buy fairy houses or make it your hobby to go to thrift stores and flea markets to find things you can repurpose for the fairies.

Read more on this link

Participate in goat yoga

You already know staying physically active is good for your well-being. However, the way you work out changes as you get older. Rather than taking another walk in the same neighborhood, look for unique workout challenges such as goat or puppy yoga.

As you try to complete the poses, baby goats or cute dogs pounce all around and make it impossible to concentrate. We dare you not to laugh during a session. Laughter is good for the soul, so go ahead and find a class near you.

Read more on this link

Chase storms

Does the sky lighting up with fingers of electricity excite you? Perhaps tornadoes are your penchant. If you love nothing more than a bit of excitement, storm chasing might be an excellent hobby for you after retirement.

The National Weather Service (NWS) estimates there are around 10,000 severe storms, half as many floods, and about 1,000 tornado events each year in the United States. NWS offers classes around the country as part of its SKYWARD Storm Spotter Program. Most classes are free and last around two hours. While not every graduate of SKYWARN becomes storm chasers, some do.

Read more on this link

Tell jokes

Perhaps you aren’t scared of a crowd and love a good story. Stand-up comedy might be the perfect outlet for you. Start by performing for family and friends. Once you feel comfortable with your routine, look for comedy clubs with an open mic night and sign up to test your spiel.

Whether or not you become the next Trevor Noah, you can make the people around you laugh and add a bit of joy to their lives. It will give you something to focus on that makes the world a better place through a smile or two.

Read more on this link

Enter competitions

Good retirement hobbies for people who have fierce competitive spirits involve some form of competition. Think about the things you enjoyed doing before retirement and how you might join a group or contest to showcase your talents.

Have you loved a particular video game for a while? There’s probably a competition for it. Do you enjoy fitness? Enter a senior bodybuilding competition.

Read more on this link

Gaze at the stars

Have the night skies always fascinated you? Spend time behind a telescope and learn to spot the different systems in the galaxy. If you live near a university, they might have a planetarium so you can take in the sky up close.

Learn about the myths and legends surrounding the different stars, particularly those named after Greek mythology.

Read more on this link

Forage for plants

Do you want to get back to the practices of your ancestors? Learn how to forage in your local forests and come up with edible mushrooms and medicinal plants. Knowing what is poisonous and what isn’t can become useful in a food shortage.

Survival skills are often a thing of the past in the highly technological world we live in. Learning about living off the land benefits your budget and gives you a useful skill to pass down to your descendants.

Read more on this link

Listen to others and consider their interests!

Ask other people what their hobbies are and listen to what they’re passionate about. You never know what you might fall in love with.

In retirement, hobbies not only help you keep your physical and mental health in check, but they also allow you to learn new things.

How to structure your day in retirement

Will Craig, Founder and CEO of ELDR, wrote the following article, published on 19 March 2023, on the Travel Awaits website:

10 Tips For Structuring Your Day In Retirement

“The idea of kicking back with “nothin’ to do” in retirement sounds fabulous in young adulthood or middle age when life can feel overloaded, so it comes as something of a surprise that a major complaint about retirement is having “nothin’ to do.” To be fair, the contradictory complaint of “too many options” remains a common grumble among retirees as well, leaving us with the classic insight every kindergarten teacher, clergy member, and cruise director will offer: People need structure.

Freedom from choices or prioritization is appealing, but all it takes is one frustrated late afternoon wondering where the day went for most of us to recognize we needed a little more design. The blessing and the curse of our jobs have been they told us who we were, where to go, and what to do most of any given week. Exiting that phase of life is mostly a boon; each of us just has to make it so with some forethought. The need to have a plan is no less true at home than when we travel.

What follows are 10 recommendations for structuring your day in retirement to create the right balance of freedom and goal orientation. You’ll notice that some inter-relate, such as adding novelty through your nourishment. If 10 is too many for you or some of them aren’t your cup of tea, pick the top three that resonate for you and put them to use!

  1. Start With A Plan

Your first hour is when you craft the narrative for what the day will be like. Whether you wake up grumbling or radiating light, carve out a moment for yourself to decide the theme of the day. What do you want it to feel like? Any specific outcomes in mind? You can accomplish this in many ways, such as jotting a phrase on the kitchen eraser board or journaling for half an hour, but prescribe what winning means for this particular day.

Pro Tip: “I’m ‘Off Duty’ and deeply relaxed” is a perfectly good option.

Bonus: Pick a theme song for the day.

  1. Create Daily Rituals

The root of the word “ritual” is rite, a sacred act. Rituals are moments in our lives we consciously devote to expressing our values or our gratitude and feeling tuned in to something greater than ourselves. Some people conduct rituals through contact with the natural world, others through religious customs. Identify where this already exists in your day and can be enhanced, or if it needs to be introduced.

Pro Tip: The difference between a ritual and a routine is the consciousness we devote to it. This is about presence of mind.

Bonus: Ask someone you respect what their rituals are.

  1. Establish Routines, Then Repeat

Routines are no less important than rituals. Functional habits are an asset to our longevity because of what they accomplish for us on a streamlined, unconscious basis. Are the nightly “sweet dreams” texts to your sibling or the daily clearing of your emails sacred acts? Maybe not, but it’s the very predictability and effectiveness of our routines that provide the canvas onto which we can add a splash of color to our lives.

Pro Tip: Drop a routine you should have stopped ages ago (Still paying for a newspaper?) and add a new one that’s overdue (How about a ripe piece of fruit before lunch?).

Bonus: Copy someone else’s routine that seems to work for them.

  1. Experience Something New

You heard it here first! Okay, maybe not, but you should still add a little novelty to your day. Even driving different routes gets our brains firing, and following our curiosity either spontaneously or with more sophisticated planning not only makes life more interesting; it makes us more interesting. Researching your next travel plans counts — the learning and the anticipation are just as essential to the fun as the travel itself.

Pro Tip: Museums change their exhibitions periodically — same site, new museum. Get back in there!

Bonus: Try a new healthy food every week. The worst-case scenario is you get to complain about how bad it was.

  1. Keep Moving

Every single day. Every day. Get out for a walk at the least, and running errands on foot counts. If you’re more interested in sports and achieving personal bests, build that into your day, or do your screen time on a treadmill or stationary bike. Fitness and movement practices now are the defining behavior of the quality and ease of your longevity later. Bring your water thermos and drink up!

Pro Tip: The enemy is sarcopenia (loss of muscle as we age). A little exertion goes a long way.

Bonus: If you’re a solo exerciser, more power to you, but get a buddy and combine your routines to add a little novelty and a lot of support in follow-through.

  1. Make Social Connections

No, not social media. Do that to whatever extent it interests you, but be sure to build into each day some meaningful voice-to-voice social contact. That could mean lunch with a friend, a regular phone call or video meet-up, or routinely convening with acquaintances to play a game and shoot the breeze.

Pro Tip: Every other human being needs social contact, too. Plan to make some invitations, and also be ready to discuss changes if a stale social routine needs re-design work.

Bonus: People like to help. An easy way to convert acquaintances into friends is by asking them to pitch in on a volunteer action with you.

  1. Enjoy Quiet Time

Even the most extroverted of us need some balance of “blessed solitude” to turn within for reflection or to have the feeling of “nothing going on” that we need. This is especially critical in the transition into retirement when we might discover a commute to and from work was giving us digestive time that we can no longer rely upon, or we suddenly have triple the time with a spouse or community members. Sometimes less is more.

Pro Tip: This is a proverbial Band-Aid removal conversation. It might be awkward to say “I need more time to myself,” but people get it and things will work so much better having had the dialogue.

Bonus: Caregivers absolutely must design the recharge of their own batteries, whether they gravitate to the role by personality or are thrust into it by circumstance.”

To read the rest of the article covering: Discover Your Purpose, Establish Good Eating Habits, and Reassess At The End Of The Day, 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. To contact us, click here.

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.
    • Carers
    • Managers
    • Trustees
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.”

To continue reading this article, click here.

To download Shire’s company overview brochure, click here.

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.

1 2 3