Planning for retirement can be overwhelming. The preparation list is long and in many cases advises on financial health, but what’s not talked about is how to build your new life, how to maintain your emotional health, maneuvering government systems like social security and health insurance, and finally, taking advantage of senior discounts.
This is not your typical retirement guide filled with financial advice that doesn’t apply to you. We’ve created this guide to shine a light on the things that are not commonly addressed about retirement.
This isn’t about wealth, this is about ensuring those you leave behind can simply pay to sundown your life. Burials, life celebrations, cremations, whatever it costs to execute your final wishes, it all costs money. The collection plate obviously isn’t an option, so consider final expense life insurance.
Final expense insurance requires no medical exam and can be very affordable. The purpose is not to make your loved ones wealthy. It simply exists to pay for your end of life wishes.
Learn more about final expense life insurance and leave a legacy you can be proud of.
Employer Paid Legal Assistance
If your employer offers this perk, take advantage of it. You’ll want to update or finalize your Will and draft a Power of Attorney. Also, if you own any property that you plan to sell as part of your retirement nest egg, they may be able to assist with real estate matters like the sale or purchase of a primary residence and/or any investment properties.
Understand that this type of legal assistance can help you avoid hundreds, if not thousands, in legal fees for simple matters like wills, PoA’s, etc. Also, participating in a plan does not preclude anyone from obtaining their own attorney for the same matters.
Learn more about your Power of Attorney options by clicking: https://www.elderlawanswers.com/powers-of-attorney-come-in-different-flavors-8217
Social Security Office
Applying for SSN benefits no longer involves taking a number at a government office and waiting for hours while seated in a cold hard chair. You can now apply online and manage the process over the phone.
While the Social Security Office has built an informative website, finding the information can be challenging. Below you’ll find direct links to the benefits application, age calculator and Medicare/Medicaid information. The Medicare/Medicaid information explains the coverage in an easily digestible way.
Apply for Medicare and/or Benefits
There’s lots of information available. Should you wish to learn before submitting an application, simply scroll below the blue “Apply for Retirement Benefits” and you’ll see a box called Learn.
Medicare. The basics.
This digital booklet can be printed; however, it also contains clickable links within the PDF. The booklet does a great job of breaking down all of the ‘good to knows’ about the Medicare program along with additional resources you can explore. SocialSecurity.gov can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Retirement Age Calculator
Understanding what your full retirement age is, goes a long way when planning your retirement budget. For example, if you were born after 1960 you’re full retirement age is 67. That means that at 67 years of age you’ll receive 100% of your benefits. However, if you want to begin receiving your benefits at the age of 65, you’ll only receive 86.7% of your total benefits.
For those who wish to look into Medicaid, there is a great resource that can answer many, if not all, of your questions.
The medicaid.gov website has plenty of information if you’re interested in perusing. However the link below will take you directly to the Medicaid FAQs.
SSI & SSDI
For those who are disabled the Social Security office offers the Red Book (English & Spanish). This 60 page guide summarizes employment supports for those with disabilities. Additionally, you can review how SSI can affect your eligibility for other government and state programs.
Red Book Link: https://www.ssa.gov/redbook/
SSI & Programs Link: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-other-ussi.htm
Create Meaning in Life
The shift into retirement can be bumpy if you haven’t emotionally planned. One day you have purpose in your work, you’ve got work friends, and you’re able to interact with the world simply by being part of the working world. Then, it’s gone.
While there is joy that you are free, you’ll soon complete your short-term bucket list, and then what? If your joy lies in your recliner and television that’s fine. But, for those of you who desire something more, here are some tips to build a new life focused on the joy you missed while working 40+ hours per week.
- Revive old friendships and nurture new ones. Every human being needs human connection to live a happy, emotionally balanced life. So, pick up the phone, knock on a door, say hello to strangers. Build a network of friends you want.
- Do the work YOU want to do. You spent years perfecting your craft, now create new opportunities by offering it to those around you. Some ideas can include using your green thumb at the neighborhood garden, maybe the senior center needs a technology person to teach a beginner’s class, teach a fellow senior how to drive, teach a budgeting class – you’ve made it to retirement now teach someone else how to do it…the possibilities are endless.
- Stay healthy. This isn’t just about not eating junk all the time. You need to move and keep your muscles strong. According to Healthinaging.org, “Over 80% of nursing home residents need help with 3 or more activities of daily living (ADL) such as dressing and bathing. About 90% of residents who are able to walk need assistance or supervision.”
With strong muscles and bones you can maintain control of your life…and stay in your own home. So pause your show and get active!
- Keep challenging your brain. Keeping your brain engaged and busy can help stave off dementia. A new hobby can be born from exercising your brain. Some ideas include finishing the degree you always wanted, reading a new genre, learning to swim, exploring horticulture, chess, activism (of any kind), word-working, glass blowing…it’s all up to you. It’s your new life!
Adhere to Your Budget
Unless you plan on making extra cash with a part-time job as a barista, working at the library or possibly doing some contract work from home you’ll need to be mindful of how you spend. A fixed budget is just that – you get what you planned.
Overspending and racking up credit cards in your retirement is never a good plan. This doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the fun…remember, there are senior discounts!
Senior discounts are plentiful, you just have to know where to look. The following sites contain long lists of places that offer senior discounts.
Tech-Tip: Save time when looking at long lists online. Simply hit CTRL + F, type in what you’re looking for (a restaurant name, specific airline, clothing store), hit enter then you’ll jump to the name you’ve searched and it will be highlighted.
- Frugal for Less: https://www.frugalforless.com/discounts-you-can-get-at-age-55/
- Brad’s Deals: https://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/senior-discounts
- The Senior List: https://www.theseniorlist.com/senior-discounts/
- Deal News: https://www.dealnews.com/features/discounts/senior-discounts/
There’s no shortage of advice on how to retire and we hope our 5 tips have helped you in some way. Remember, joy is created it doesn’t just happen. Having time to appreciate birds in flight, chirping crickets, a full harvest moon, ocean waves crashing on the beach…all of this brings joy. It’s up to you to open your eyes and take it all in.
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