Courtesy of revolutionary advances in medicine and an awakening to the merits of pursuing a healthy life, the life expectancy in the United States is an impressive 78.74 years, based on data taken in 2012. The implications of these statistics is that post-retirement, the average American can expect to live an additional twenty to twenty five years, subject to some internal and external variables such as gender and lifestyle.
A recent Harvard University study highlighted that today’s 60 years old can also expect to enjoy several more years free of disease or disability, when juxtaposed to 60 year-olds of a decade and a half ago. The secret to this elixir has been improved medical treatments. Faced with the prospect of a longer life than previously anticipated, the question that begs is how we can make the most of the added bundle of life past 60. This is especially considering that a longer life does not necessarily translate to a quality life, what with the challenges that face many a retiree. Below are some of the hidden secrets to ensure that you have a positive and healthy retirement.
Be aware of your expected life span, because chances are it’s longer Ethan you expect.
There is a common fallacy that retirement is a death sentence. Proponents of this school of thought argue that most people will be six feet under five years after retirement. However, statistics on the average life expectancy seem to contradict this position. Additionally, life expectancy figures offer a mere average, which means that you could live much longer past this age. There are numerous metrics that can be used to gauge your expected lifespan. For instance, the healthier you are, the longer your expected life span. Ergo, a man in a typical American 60 year old couple can live up to 80 years old, and the wife has a good chance of surviving till 90 years of age.
There are several longevity predictors that you can use. Once you have an idea of how long you can expect to live, it is far much easier to make better and applicable plans. For instance, if you estimate a further 20 years in your life, you will be able to plan better for your retirement assets, because you know how long they need to last. It can also be a great motivator to decide upon various activities you may want to pursue, and the goals that you can expect to meet during your retirement.
What to do next? The possibilities are endless
Interestingly, it is very likely that you will spend as much time in your retirement as you did in your career; 20-25 years. It is thus imperative to try and make this new stage of life as interesting and fulfilling as the last, if not more One of the downsides of a career is that it takes sacrifice, and there are many interests that you may need to shelf to achieve your career goals. This is the ideal time to revisit these long-held interests, and visualize what you now want to pursue. Given the luxury of time that is often synonymous with retirement, it is also possible to experiment with different options, and reassess your priorities. Some self-actualization activities such hiking, or participating in volunteer work is worth a thought. This coupled with the magic of getting more time to spend with your grandchildren makes for a healthier and more fulfilling life.
During retirement, some questions such as whether you want to continue residing in your current home, or whether you want to continue working part time are of the essence. They aid in planning and mapping your future. The underlying rationale is to remain as active as possible, and in the best possible shape. The more you see retirement as a path to new and exciting opportunities, the more likely it is that you will enjoy your extra years. Have some passions that you shelved in your youth? This is the time to chase after them like the last bus.
Build and maintain a support system; hold on to friends and family.
Research indicates that retirees who spend more time with their family tend to happier, more satisfied, and thus tend to live longer and enjoyable lives. A study by Pew Research revealed that people above the age of 65 perceive the ability to spend more time with their family as one of the invaluable benefits of retirement. While married senior citizens with children tend to be happier than those who aren’t, unmarried seniors seek comfort from friends; and those with good friends tend to be happier than those with only a few friends. Some gender differences abound. For instance, women tend to have more friends as compared to their male counterparts, with 80 percent of women saying that they have people they can turn to for support, as compared to 65 percent of men. Bottom line, hold on to your family and friends; we all need someone in every stage of life.
Stay on top of your retirement funds
Life after retirement can just be frustrating as life before retirement is your finances are in disarray. One of the secrets to a long and healthy retirement is to make sure that you are not incessantly stressing over money. A good long term strategy to maintain a steady income during retirement is therefore priceless.
You need to be aware of your sources of reliable income. These vary from Social Security and pensions, to extra money that you stashed aside in your savings. A part time job also comes in handy. The next step is to establish a monthly budget, which accounts for essential expenses such as housing and food, and sets an allowance for other non-essential costs such as entertainment and travel. As long as you strike a workable balance between your needs and wants, and identify opportunities to increase your cash inflows, you can maintain your financial health. Furthermore, when you are more aware of your financial situation, you are able to respond to emerging issues with ease, and you will also enjoy greater control over your future.