Friday, May 27, 2022

Emotional adjustments when retiring

 There’s an emotional process that most people go through when adjusting to retirement. At first, there’s a feeling of freedom. It’s like you’re on a vacation that’s going to last forever.

That sense of novelty wears off, however, and you will settle into a slower lifestyle. There might be a stage that involves a lot of, “Oh, no! What did I do?” thoughts, followed by anxiety and boredom. You might even feel guilty for not enjoying retirement as much as you think you should.

Suppressing your emotions or denying your feelings can lead to unhealthy coping strategies like relying on alcohol or food. Allow yourself to experience a wide range of emotions, whatever those emotions may be. Look for healthy ways to deal with those feelings. You might find walking, reading, writing, talking to others, or yoga helps you deal with your emotions.

Pre-retirement, you had your routine down pat: Alarm goes off, shower, breakfast, pack a lunch, head out the door. There was probably a similar structure to the end of your days that began when you walked back over the threshold of your home.

If you thrive with a schedule, you might establish a retirement routine that helps you plan your days. Experiment with various activities and time slots to see how it makes you feel.

Pencil in time for lingering over the newspaper and enjoying a cup of coffee, but add in regular time for exercise, social activities, volunteer opportunities, and family meals. While your days don’t need to be rigid, having a set wake-up time and routine can help you feel more normal now that you aren’t going to work.

Your pre-retirement life was measured in meeting milestones, such as making deadlines, finishing projects, or getting a promotion. You can still focus on goals after you retire, though they might be a little different than they were before. Working on goals can give you a sense of purpose. And accomplishing new things can give you a sense of achievement.

Think about what milestones you might want to meet in the first month, six months, or one year that you’ve been retired and write them down. Do you want to lose 10 pounds? Travel to Europe? (Yes, goals can be fun, too!) Finish five books that you’ve been putting off. The sky’s the limit.

There’s a significant risk of becoming isolated during retirement.4 After 30 years of meeting friends through work and seeing them every day, it might not be as easy to keep up with those you hold dear. 

This can play into the restructuring of your daily routine—ask one friend to meet you for lunch every Monday, another friend to go walking through the neighborhood with you on Wednesdays and a third pal to grab a coffee on Friday afternoons.

If you and your spouse are friends with other couples, aim to invite them over for dinner or board games at least once a month. If you don’t feel like you have enough people to keep you socially active, take advantage of the extra time in your life to make new friends.

Check out any programs offered at your church or a local community center, or find a group of like-minded individuals who share an affection for your favorite hobby, whether it’s golf, crafts or cooking. Meetup groups are also available for many hobbies and activities.


Thursday, May 26, 2022

Retirement and the Pandemic

 According to the 20th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American Workers, seven in 10 workers (70 percent) are confident they will be able to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle, including 27 percent saying they are “very confident” and 43 percent saying, “somewhat confident.” Full-time workers are more likely than part-time workers to be confident in their ability to retire comfortably (75 percent and 65 percent, respectively).

 In Light of the Pandemic. Half of the workers (50 percent) say their retirement confidence has stayed the same in light of the pandemic. However, 21 percent say their retirement confidence has declined, including 19 percent of full-time workers and 22 percent of part-time workers. Full-time workers (23 percent) are more likely to say their retirement confidence has improved, compared with part-time workers (15 percent).

 As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, half of the workers (52 percent) say they have experienced one or more impacts on their employment, including reduced work hours (24 percent) and reduced salary (19 percent). Part-time workers (47 percent) are somewhat more likely to have experienced impacts on their own employment situation, compared with full-time workers (40 percent). Three in 10 workers (30 percent) say that their work has not been impacted, with full-time workers being more likely to be unaffected than part-time workers (39 percent and 28 percent, respectively).

Amid the pandemic, three in four workers (75 percent) are currently saving for retirement through their current/former employer’s retirement plan and/or outside the workplace. Most are saving through their current employer’s retirement plan (53 percent) and 30 percent are saving outside of work. Retirement savings vehicles vary across employment status: Full-time workers (70 percent) are significantly more likely than part-time workers (22 percent) to be saving in their current employer’s plan. Part-time workers are more likely to be saving outside of work (37 percent) compared with full-time workers (29 percent). A concerning 33 percent of part-time workers are not saving for retirement, which is significantly more than the 14 percent of full-time workers who are not saving.

Workers are feeling the financial squeeze as a result of the pandemic, and some are dipping or planning to dip into their retirement savings. One in three workers (33 percent) have already and/or plan to take a loan and/or withdraw from their qualified retirement accounts such as a 401(k), 403(b), or similar plan or IRA as a result of the pandemic. Twenty-three percent of workers have already done so and 17 percent plan to do so. Part-time workers (18 percent) are more likely than full-time workers (7 percent) to not have savings in a qualified retirement plan from which they could make such withdrawals.


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Retirement as a state of mind

 People talk about seniors as if we were one age group with the same needs. There is the young senior's hose between 55 and 70, middle-aged seniors, between 71 and 80, and super seniors over 80. At a macro-level, each of these groups has different wants and needs. Just like there are stages of retirement there are different stages of ageing. Fellow blogger Caree Risover asked the following question in one of her blogs

“Does it actually matter when retirement is really a state of mind; a stage of evolution; a period of life when you apply your time as you seek?”

At what stage does retirement become a state of mind? Is it in the pre-retirement stage which involves imagining your new life and planning for it? Anywhere from 5 to 10 years, many people shift their focus from building their careers to focusing on the financial planning aspect of retirement.

This is important, but retirement is still not fully a state of mind, because in this early planning we don’t spend enough time on the emotional planning for retirement. Planning to make sure you find, fun and find purpose in this stage of your life. Making lifestyle decisions, such as downsizing to have more financial freedom and the ability to age in place, will help you plan for both your financial and emotional well-being. For many, this stage is a time of excitement and anticipation. But it can also be a time for worry and doubt, especially in the year or two before retirement.

Is retirement a state of mind, in stage two when you are fully retired?

For many, this phase includes feelings of excitement, relief, and freedom from the stress and responsibilities of your day-to-day working life. People in this stage are usually busy reconnecting with family, friends, and spouses, and spending time on hobbies, travelling, and starting new businesses.

Instead of taking a honeymoon vacation-like path in this stage, some people choose to settle into a routine immediately, waking up each morning with a plan in place, and often continuing activities that were part of their busy schedules during their working life. And others opt for rest and relaxation after years of working demanding jobs that drained all their energy.

For many retirement is a state of mind in this stage, but after a few years disillusionment sets in and once the emotional high of retiring has worn off, many feel a sense of disappointment and disillusionment. They have spent so much time looking forward to retirement, so once it sets in, it can feel less exciting than it was hyped up to be.

Because one has the freedom and a period of life when one can apply one’s time as they want, retirement as a state of mind at this stage can become a negative mindset. At this stage, some people feel boredom, loneliness, and feeling useless. If not addressed, it can be easy to slip into depression during this stage.

Is retirement a state of mind, in the next stage of retirement when we begin to evaluate our retirement experience? This stage may involve creating a new identity, and it can take some time and effort to accomplish. But created, you can gain a sense of closure from your working days and move on to enjoy retirement as it’s meant to be enjoyed. To avoid falling into a rut and depression, it’s crucial that you find something that gives you a sense of meaningful purpose later in life, such as pursuing a passion, volunteering, and adding new fun activities to your daily routine.

In the final stage of retirement, retirement is fully a state of mind, in this stage, retirees are settled into a fun and rewarding retirement lifestyle, doing things that make them feel fulfilled. They prioritize simplifying their lives and living relaxing lifestyles.

Health conditions may be more prevalent during this stage, so many of us focus on maintaining our health and independence. While not every person will experience each stage as intensely or for the same amount of time as others, most retirees will experience this process in some form once they stop working.

Like with any major transition in life, retirement comes with a whole array of emotions. But if you thoughtfully plan for your transition to take care of yourself both your financial and emotional health, you can help ease the emotions of life transition, and spend more time with retirement as a permanent state of mind.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Poems for Gardners

 Bloom by Emily Dickinson

Bloom  is Result to meet a Flower

And casually glance

Would cause one scarcely to suspect

The minor Circumstance

Assisting in the Bright Affair

So intricately done

Then offered as a Butterfly

To the Meridian

To pack the Bud oppose the Worm

Obtain its right of Dew

Adjust the Heat elude the Wind

Escape the prowling Bee

Great Nature not to disappoint

Awaiting Her that Day

To be a Flower, is profound



The Glory of the Garden  By: Rudyard Kipling

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,

Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,

With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;

But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,

You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all ;

The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dungpits and the tanks:

The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.                                

And there you’ll see the gardeners, the men and ‘prentice boys

Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;

For, except when seeds are  planted and we shout to scare the birds,

The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,

And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;

But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,

For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made

By singing:–“Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade,

While better men than we go out and start their working lives

At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives

 There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,

There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.

But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,

For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,

If it’s only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;

And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,

You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees

That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees,

So when your work is finished, you can wash your hand and pray

For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!

And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!

Fireflies in the Garden By Robert Frost

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,

And here on earth come emulating flies,

That though they never equal stars in size,

(And they were never really stars at heart)

Achieve at times a very star-like start.

Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.

One Vast Garden By: Sri Ananandamayi Ma

“I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe.

All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies

are about in this garden in various ways,

each has his own uniqueness and beauty.

Their presence and variety give me great delight.

Every one of you adds with his special feature to the glory of the garden.”