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Retire Well

Retire Well

| September 07, 2018

We all feel time ticking away. There will come a day when our next paycheck will be the last one we ever get. Retirement is coming. TV bombards us with “not so subtle” hints that we need to be saving and preparing financially for retirement. Don’t forget there’s more to surviving this life transition than financial stability.
Financial companies run advertisements touting their ability to help you plan for your perfect retirement. They show pictures of yachts, log cabins in Alaska or happy retirees tending to their own vineyard…is that your plan? Do you have a plan?
One of my favorite quotes on this topic is “The problem with retirement is that you never get a day off”. Ask yourself this question: How long was my longest break from work? A week, maybe two? What would you do with a month off. How about three months? Retirement is not an extended vacation – it is a profound change to your (and your spouse’s) life.
In a previous article, we discussed procedural memory. Things that you do automatically without deliberate or conscious thought - like tying your shoe or brushing your teeth. And while your job may be difficult and challenging, you have been doing it for so long that it has likely become automatic. It also has taken up most of the calendar between Monday and Friday. Add up all the time that you spend getting ready to work, commuting to and from work and even thinking about work and it probably adds up to well over 60 hours of your week. How are you going to fill that time?
As we get older we typically are less excited about change. I now cringe every time I have to update my phone. Again, it’s because our brains have become very efficient at doing what we have always done – and it doesn’t want to spend the energy to change. Just like our muscles, as we age our brains get less flexible…unless we deliberately stretch them.
How do you stretch your brain? Try something new! It doesn’t need to be a huge first step. Start small with a restaurant that’s not on your “go to” list. Pick a destination and watch a travel show. Go somewhere outside of your comfort zone – I’ve never been to Tishomingo. Enroll at your local university and learn a new language. Or plug into your community and volunteer in a local organization. These new experiences are about increasing your mental flexibility and discovering what you might be excited about after you collect your last paycheck. As a bonus, if you explore them together, adventures like this may also help you refresh a marriage that has become routine and a little too comfortable.
Retirement is not about quitting. It’s about starting something new. If you need some inspiration and encouragement to really plan for your future – Let us help.