Some people spend their whole lives wishing for retirement, dreaming of the trips they will take or hobbies they can indulge in without the constant pressures or time requirements of a job. But retired life might just astound you yet.
We asked more than 150 of our customers about what surprised them about retirement and there were five common themes that emerged:
I Had to Change my Lifestyle and Budget on a Fixed Income
Going from a regular paycheck to a fixed income can be a challenge. Many survey respondents found that the cost of living was surprising, including increasing taxes and other expenses. If you are accustomed to a certain lifestyle, retirement may require you to budget differently, especially if you do not adequately prepare. A large, expensive home may have made sense as you raised a family, but now you may want to relocate to a smaller property that requires less maintenance.
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I Am Not Bored and Have Plenty to Do
From volunteering to travel and spending time with family, there is no shortage of things to do in retirement. While it may seem like not going to work every day may lead to boredom, you have plenty of options to fill your time. A savings plan and budget can help ensure you aren’t spending beyond your means. You may even consider returning to work part time to help fill your days, make new friends or to add some extra cash to your budget.
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Getting Used to a Slower Lifestyle
This might seem to contradict the surprise above, but it is also very common. One customer put it as “having six Saturdays and one Sunday a week.” It’s all about balance. Be careful not to let a slower lifestyle or boredom mean you blow through your budget. There are plenty of low-cost hobbies, from reading to going for a daily walk, that can keep you busy while contributing to your mind and body health.
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Unforeseen Health Care Costs and Challenges
Getting older means that your health care needs will likely change. Out of pocket medical expenses or emergencies can deplete resources more quickly than planned. While no one has a crystal ball, emergency funds are important during retirement to mitigate any surprises. It’s best to step back and consider, and plan for, any surprise expenses in retirement. It can even be something as small as planning ahead for the purchase of holiday gifts or visits to family in other locations.
Planning Pays Off
About a quarter of those who responded were not surprised by anything or felt well-prepared for the changes retirement brings. While time is one of the greatest assets one can have when planning for retirement, there are several ways you can catch up on retirement savings if you feel a bit behind. Consulting experts like financial advisors can help you set up a plan that works for your lifestyle. As always, starting to plan and save for retirement early is often the best path to reducing financial stress once you’re no longer working.
You have worked hard and deserve to enjoy your retirement, as opposed to stressing about your financial plan. Our Rockland Trust financial professionals have helped thousands of people through all phases of retirement, from downsizing a home to estate planning and more. Our Learning Center has useful articles to help you make the most of your retirement.
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