Retirement in lockdown
It’s not much fun, but on the whole better than the alternative. My post details some ways in which you can approach this period in a positive and constructive way – until normal times resume.
1. Don’t worry, be happy
Well, you’ve left the world of work behind so stress shouldn’t be a factor. But many things cause stress for adults that are in retirement. A few of them (mentioned elsewhere in this post) include:
Financial concerns: changes in income, worries about having enough money and wondering if you’ll be able to take care of yourself
- Health worries: growing or new health problems and changes in insurance coverage are examples
- Caregiving: wondering if and how you’ll care for an ailing spouse
- Relationship issues: learning to spend time with your spouse after spending working hours away from them and getting to know your spouse again after children leave home are common issues
- Lifestyle changes: during this time of transition, things like leaving your job and colleagues, making new friends, learning new skills, finding new activities and moving to a new residence can all be factors
It’s a part of the human condition to worry, but put it in perspective. Someone, somewhere would be happy with less than you’ve got right now.
2. Spend your nest egg, or plan to
It’s difficult to spend money right now. The traditional means (foreign holidays) are limited, cruises are not sailing and most countries are not welcoming visitors. But those days will return. The best we can do right now is research the trips we might take, and/or think about home improvements and other means of emptying the bank account.
Because it’s time to use the cash you saved. In retirement, you moved from an earner (and saver) to a spender – unless your aim is to leave a nest egg for future generations. That’s not my plan – I intend to reduce the value of my investments over time. This assumes you have a nest egg, which will have been the result of years of saving for the future. Well, it’s the future now. Find a trusted financial adviser, keep an eye on your investment progress – and then enjoy it!
(Note – my financial links go to MoneySavingExpert.com – a trusted UK source of independent advice)
3. No nest egg? Adjust your goals
Many people will arrive at retirement in a less than ideal financial position. There are several options:
- Make more money – find a side hustle (for us Brits – that’s a way that will raise a few pounds to supplement your pension).
- Save more by managing your budget – there are tools on line for this
- Spend less by taking advantage of deals and offers. And of course reduce your lifestyle choices of car, holidays, food.
- Move to a cheaper location – rent, rates, cost of living.
Those options haven’t changed during retirement in lockdown, or since the dawn of time. Make more or spend less.
Opportunities for volunteering are limited, but your Food Bank needs all the help it can get. You may also have a local neighbourhood scheme, and other ways to use your skills. Charities still exist and need support, perhaps now more than ever. You could always try your local Rotary Club. Or keep it simple – chat to your neighbour!
5. Stay healthy
Try to lead a healthy life, as Basil Fawlty would say, is a statement of the bleeding obvious! We don’t though, do we? Limitations on our movement and the closure of gyms/pools and golf courses don’t help, but we can still go outside. At least at the time of writing.
We could all exercise more, eat better food and get more sleep. The BBC offers some advice on how to exercise safely. It just needs planning, determination and (currently) ingenuity. Let me know if you’ve got some to spare.
6. Take pride in your appearance.
Take care of yourself. It’s challenging but possible to maintain personal standard. Do your best with your hair, use perfume or aftershave. It’s easy, in winter, to loll around in comfy clothes and that’s ok – just not every day. Don’t let your standards drop – dress smartly when you pop to the shops, wear good clothes sometimes, look after your skin.
You’d be suprised how clothes affect your emotions.
7. Have a Covid bucket list
Every bucket list pre Covid-19 had the same themes – skydiving, travel to foreign lands, meet new people, be adventurous. Strike all of those off (for now at least), and insert some new ones:
- Write a short story or poem
- Start a You Tube channel
- Bake a loaf of bread
- Learn to draw or paint
- Complete a jigsaw puzzle
- Visit an online museum
8. Keep learning
Learning doesn’t stop when you retire. Hobbies, languages, gardening, decorating – this is a great time to learn a new skill. Make the most of the internet for your learning opportunities. Half of us are Zooming all over the place these days – and YouTube is great place to learn how to do that without making a fool of yourself.
One of the challenges for seniors is the use of technology. And as we can’t be in the presence of our more knowledgeable friends and family, it’s even more difficult to know what to do when something goes wrong. If you do need help, don’t be afraid to reach out via the good old phone to someone who know how to fix things – and if you are a fixer please be kind and patient if you are asked for help
Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking or writing. Try to neither give nor take offence. Of course, you should be assertive when you need to be – a difficult balance to strike. If you have offended, apologise and move on. Just like the good old days.
11. Don’t look back in anger
Never use the phrase: “the good old days” You might regret the way the world is going – environment, politics, technology – but you won’t achieve anything by moaning about it. Unless you are a blogger, in which case it’s fine.
12. Look after your partner
This is not about money, although that is important. Caring for your partner is another lifestyle choice. It means supporting them physically, mentally – in every way. Sadly, divorce was the second biggest cause of a derailment of retirement plans after personal illness last year. But my blog is about optimism so I’m not dwelling on that. Except to say – take care of your significant other.
13. Have a positive outlook
The whole purpose of this blog in fact. Focus on the good things. Challenging situations and obstacles are a part of life. It’s how we deal with those challenges that make the difference. Some thoughts:
- Practice gratitude every day, in every way.
- Keep a gratitude journal – make a list of things that you are thankful for
- Open yourself up to humour. That might not be in your nature, but seeing the funny side of things often helps in adversity
- Notice the small things – scented soap, kind words, politeness. They are around if you look for them.
- Identify your own areas of negativity and reduce those thoughts.
- Start every day on a positive note – maybe not spring out of bed, but at least look forward to the day ahead.
Even in these difficult times it’s possible to be optimistic in retirement. Just a question of attitude, positive thinking, small adjustments towards enjoying life. Because, in the end, you’ll be dust just the same.