What’s the single biggest difference between a successful retirement and an unsuccessful one? It’s planning. Because everyone likes to think of themselves as capable of going on forever, many people don’t start to think about planning for retirement until it’s already on the horizon. The sooner one gets organized, the better. Identifying needs, researching options and saving money can mean that when working life is over, what lies ahead is trouble free.
Health and happiness
Two of the biggest stress factors in working life are money worries and a lack of social opportunity. A well-planned retirement ought to do away with both. Many people who achieve this say that they feel considerably healthier in their later years than they did when they were younger. Reducing stress can significantly lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes, and recent studies have shown that it may also decrease the risk of dementia.
Healthy retired people can enjoy many more wonderful years, so it’s important to choose a home that can meet changing needs. Planning ahead to work around the common disabilities of old age, such as arthritis and muscle loss, means that life doesn’t have to slow down.
The most important part of developing a practical retirement plan is making sure that it’s financially viable. This can involve any or all of the following:
- Pension plans – this is the most important means of providing for retirement for most people. Pension plans can vary quite a bit so it’s worth shopping around to be sure of getting the best deal – and, of course, reading the small print.
- Savings – many people also choose to build up savings. When this forms part of a retirement plan, it’s worth putting them into secure bonds rather than a standard savings account. This will enable them to accumulate more interest.
- Investments – carefully managed stock and share portfolios can see money grow significantly over lengthy periods of time. They can be sold at an advantageous point close to retirement or can be kept on as a source of income.
The right residence
One of the most rewarding ways to live as a retired person is in a senior community, where everything is designed around older people’s needs and there is ample opportunity to live an active life and make new friends. Sometimes these communities develop naturally in areas where a lot of older people live, but more often the practical choice is to find a formal one. These can come with other advantages such as shared sports facilities, restaurants, and access to handymen, and health and care services. Often a variety of packages are available so residents can pay only for the things they actually want and need.
There are communities like this right across the country, so retirees can choose to move to somewhere they have always wanted to live or can ensure they are close to friends and family. Some such communities have visitor accommodation available at good rates for relatives traveling from a distance.
Choosing the right place to retire is a big decision, but with good planning it can usher in a whole new lease on life.