It's surprising what you'll miss...

Car park spaceIf you can't wait for retirement and you've already started checking off the days on your calendar, you may be surprised to find that, once you retire, there are some things you might miss about work.  

1.  You might miss the challenge of the work you used to do.  Well, you probably won't miss the stress that used to accompany the challenge, but the feelings associated with being challenged - feeling stretched, the pressure to come up with solutions to a problem and the satisfaction of overcoming the odds when you succeed.

2.  Many retirees miss the daily banter that is part and parcel of being at work - the jokes, the witty repartee, the sarcastic quips and the camaraderie.

3.  Retirees who had fairly eventful jobs have reported that they miss the drama associated with being at work - and that even though the drama could be stressful, it was never boring.

4.  Other retirees have said that, now that they're retired, they long for some responsibility.  Even the ones who had found work after retirement tended to be working in part-time jobs that were fairly undemanding. They often found these jobs to be unfulfilling and longed for some responsibility and the satisfaction of having done a good day's work

5.  Many retirees report that they miss having some space between them and their partner - this came from both male and female retirees.  Females were concerned about husbands getting under their feet.  Males were concerned about being at the mercy of their partner's  'just do lists'

What do you think?  Have you recently retired and found yourself bumping up against some unexpected feelings and emotions?  Do you know someone who retired and found themselves struggling to cope with no longer being in the workplace?  What will/did you do to help you get over it?

A is for... inspiration

I recently acquired a list of 1000 business ideas.  I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm going to do with it yet but it's, literally, an A to Z of ideas.  If you're in the market for a retirement business but you're stuck for inspiration, here are 82 ideas that begin with the letter A for you to consider...

1. 3D Artist
2. Accessories Store
3. Accounting Auditor
4. Accounts Payable
5. Accounts Receivable
6. Ad Copywriter
7. Adult Daycare
8. Adult Entertainment
9. Adult Toy and Novelty Store
10. Adventure Tours
11. Advertising Agency
12. Advertising Sales
13. Aerial Photographer
14. Aerial Seed and Spraying Service
15. Aerobics Studio
16. Affiliate Manager
17. Affiliate Marketer
18. After School Care
19. Agricultural Consultant
20. Air Charter Services
21. Aircraft Design
22. Aircraft Engines
23. Aircraft Parts
24. Airport Transportation Service
25. Alarm Equipment Sales
26. Alarm Installation
27. Alarm Monitoring Service
28. Allopathic Physicians
29. Amphibian Breeding
30. Amusement Park
31. Amusement Park Equipment
32. Anesthesiologist 
33. Animal Breeder
34. Animal Hospital
35. Animation Services
36. Announcements
37. Answering Service
38. Antique Dealer
39. Antique Locator
40. Antique Restoration
41. Apartment Building Maintenance
42. Apartment Cleaner
43. Apartment Rental
44. Appliance Rental
45. Appliance Repair
46. Appliance Store
47. Appointment Reminder Service
48. Appointment Scheduling Service
49. Aquarium Maintenance Service
50. Aquarium Sales
51. Aquarium Set Up Service
52. Arbitration Service
53. Arcade
54. Archaeologist
55. Architect
56. Architectural Engineer
57. Architectural Supplies
58. Aromatherapist
59. Art Broker
60. Art Gallery
61. Art Restoration
62. Art School
63. Art Supplies
64. Article Distribution Service
65. Article Writing Service
66. Arts and Crafts Classes for Children
67. Assistance Dog Training
68. Astrologist
69. Astronomer
70. ATV Park
71. ATV Rentals
72. ATV Sales
73. Auctioneer
74. Audio Visual Equipment and Supplies Rental
75. Audio Visual Equipment and Supplies Sales
76. Auto Body Repair Shop
77. Auto Customization
78. Auto Detailing
79. Auto Painting
80. Auto Part Refurbishment
81. Auto Parts
82. Auto Repair Shop

7 misconceptions about retired life

This is interesting...

Most people expect that their lives will get better once they retire and things become less stressful, with more time for hobbies and travel.

However, according to a recent poll of 1,254 individuals aged 50 and older, carried out by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, that might not be the case. 

A quarter of retirees think life in retirement is worse than it was before they retired and 44% think that their quality of life is about the same as it was whilst they were still working.  Find out more.

Free to be me...

Many people say the best thing about being retired is that they're finally 'free to be me'.  For the first time in their life, they can go where they want and do what they want, when they want.  They can wear what they want and they don't have to answer to anyone else, meet anyone else's deadlines or jump through anyone else's hoops.

What does 'free to be me' mean for you personally?

For example: Are you, by nature, a lark or a night owl?  Many night owls have been forced into becoming 'morning people' over the course of their working lifetimes because of the demands of their jobs and parenthood.  However, when you're no longer a slave to your alarm clock and can become more in sync with your own circadian rhythms, what time will you get up in the morning?  What time will you go to bed at night?  (Circadian rhythms are regular rhythms of growth and activity, which occur in an approximately 24-hour cycle.) 

Will you linger longer?

According to a US news report, many retired people report that they enjoy just 'lingering longer' - they spend longer reading the paper, enjoying the taste of that cup of coffee, actually looking at what's on the supermarket shelves rather than doing the usual 'shopping cart dash'.  They spend more time enjoying a meal, rather than bolting down their food.  They even linger longer over household chores!  What are you really looking forward to doing that you never had time to do when you were working?

Keeping up appearances

When you no longer have to dress for work, what will you wear?  Will you slob out all day in t-shirts and sweats or will you still be a 'neat ned' and keep up your dress standards?  (I'm a mix of both - t-shirts and sweats when I'm working from home and 'neat ned' on the days I'm out and about!)

What effect will your freedom have on your health?

When you have more time to spend on food shopping and food preparation, will your eating habits and patterns change?  And, if so, how?

The US News report referred to earlier also said that retirees watch, on average, 4 hours of TV each day, compared to the two and a half hours that the rest of us watches.  Will you spend an extra one and a half hours (or more) sitting watching TV or will you be up and about, exercising and making sure you stay fit and healthy?

And finally...

Another important question to ask yourself is: Will watching more TV and lingering over food, shopping and household chores be enough to keep you happy, engaged, enthused and productive in your retirement?  Does that sound like the 'free to be me' that you were hoping for?  Or were you hoping for something a little more exciting?

What does 'free to be me' look like for you?

How will you spend your time?

Retirement can, on average, free up between 2,000 and 3,000 hours per year.  That's after you add in the time you spend commuting, thinking about and working on work-related tasks at home and physically getting ready for work each day.

So, how will you fill those 2,000 to 3,000 hours once you retire?

Will you spend more time sleeping?

If you've spent the whole of your working life feeling sleep-deprived because you just didn't have enough time to do everything on your to-do list, you might be looking forward to those long lie-ins once you retire. 

And, of course, many people who are, by nature, 'night owls' have been forced into becoming 'larks' because of the demands of their jobs and parenthood.  If that sounds like you, when you no longer have to be up and at 'em at the crack of dawn every day, you may find yourself reverting to the night owl you always were at heart.

On the other hand, you might be determined to make the most of all the time you've freed up and adopt an 'I'll sleep when I'm dead' attitude.

Will you still work?

Do you intend to retire completely or are you one of the estimated 7 out of 10 people who wants or needs to carry on working (in some capacity) once you reach the traditional age for retirement?

There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the people who have the most successful retirements are the ones who keep themselves active and engaged.

There's also a lot of evidence that many people nowadays don’t actually want to retire at all. They just want to do something else and they want to do it on their own terms – for example, they want to be able to choose when they work and for how long. Or they want to do something completely different - such as voluntary work in a different field to the one in which they made their living.  So the big question is: Do you want, need or feel that it would be beneficial to continue to work after you ‘officially’ retire?

Will you spend more time with your family?

How much time do you want to spend with family members after you retire?  Some questions to think about in this area include:

What expectations do your partner, your children, your grandchildren and your elderly parents have about your retirement? Do your expectations and theirs blend together?  Will someone be expecting more of you than you are prepared to give? Does someone have their eye on you as a potential babysitter or caregiver and what effect will this have on your own plans for your retirement?

Will you spend more time on your hobbies?

If you're the type of person who's never had a problem filling their spare time, you probably already have a satisfying blend of hobbies, interests and pastimes to look forward to when you retire. 

If you've never had time for hobbies, you might need to rethink that perspective now.  Ask yourself: Are my current hobbies, interests and activities going to be enough to sustain me and keep me interested and connected in retirement?  If not, spend some time investigating some potential new hobbies and interests.  Try them on to see if they fit.  And don't forget to revisit some of those things that you used to enjoy but which got crowded out of your life by the pressures of work and bringing up a family.

Will you spend more time on community or voluntary activities?

Many retirees like to do voluntary work as a way of giving back to society and providing themselves with a sense of fulfilment and a feeling of being useful.  How much time (if any) would you like to devote to voluntary or community activities in your retirement?  Which voluntary activities do you feel naturally drawn to?  What voluntary activities are you aware of in your area/community?  Which, if any, of these appeal to you?  What's the next step? 

Remember, you can take your time and try out various voluntary activities before committing yourself.  Don't get stuck doing something you don't enjoy because you'd feel guilty if you gave it up.

Will you take more time for yourself?

Many people report that the best thing about being retired is that they can take the time to do all the pleasurable little things that they never had time to do when they were working.  Things like reading the paper from cover to cover, having an extra cup of coffee in bed before they get up, or going to a movie matinee.  What are the 'little things' that you're looking forward to doing?  Make sure you don't get so busy in retirement that you don't have time to indulge in the little things that would bring you pleasure.

Once you get started, you'll probably find you have no problems filling those 2,000 hours.  In fact, you'll probably wonder how you found time to work at all!

What type of retiree will you be?

What’s your retirement style? Activist, Individualist, Specialist or Traditionalist? Study the following four types of retiree and see if you can spot yourself:

Activists are the movers and shakers in retirement, the trailblazers - the ones who start new charities and foundations. They are the ones who fight for their rights and the right of others. Activists have a determination to make life better for somebody, somewhere, and their cause can be the environment, health, education or community.

Individualists are the 'self-actualisers' of the second half of life - they have the need to fulfil their potential and be all that they can be, and their ideal retirement would be a portfolio of activities which combines:

- meaningful work,
- learning,
- personal development,
- community and/or voluntary activity.

They are the ones who are most likely to start a small business in retirement, open a B&B, take off in a motorhome for a couple of years or go off on adventures – maybe trekking through the Himalayas or doing VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) work.

Specialists are the enthusiasts, the devotees, the people who have a continuing (often lifelong) passion for their work - they love what they do so much that they'll never retire and they'll just keep on working until they drop.  A great example would be  Michelangelo who designed St Peter's cupola at the age of 83, or Picasso who continued to produce prodigious numbers of paintings and copperplate etchings until the end of his life in 1973.

Traditionalists want a traditional 'rest and relaxation', 'pottering about' type of retirement. They don't want to change the world or even themselves. They don't particularly want to work part-time or get a retirement career or start a retirement business... They worked all their lives and they're done with work. They just want to enjoy their retirement, have a few extra holidays or vacations and maybe get a caravan or boat to make the most of  their new-found leisure time.

Caregivers could be included under this category – those who are retiring to look after an elderly or sick relative or those who are helping out by spending considerable amounts of their time looking after their grandchildren.

Which of these four types of retirement do you naturally lean towards? 

Which of these four types of retiree do you aspire to be? 

Do you feel that you don't really fit into any of the above categories? No problem... make your own! What type of retiree will you be? What will you call your new category?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below...

Whatever your retirement type, if you're moving house, planning a trip, keeping an eye on elderly parents or just wanting to get healthier, we can help. Check out our new series of information products - which is simply called 'Checklists' - and make things easier on yourself.

I've been looking forward to retirement all my life... what could possibly go wrong?

If you can't wait to retire, you may have never given a moment's thought to the things that could go wrong with retirement.  However, up to 20% of retirees report feeling dissatisfaction or disillusionment with retirement, so, if you're still in the planning stages, it can help to take a look at what can, potentially, go wrong. That way, you still have time to take evasive action.

The reasons for retirement dissatisfaction can be many and varied but they tend to fall into categories. These are:

1.  Retiring for the wrong reasons.  The 'wrong' reasons include:

- retiring just because you're the right age for it (and without checking in with yourself about whether you really WANT to retire)

- retiring because your partner is retiring and they're pressuring you into retiring at the same time, whether you're 'ready' for retirement or not

- allowing yourself to be 'pushed out' by a boss who seems anxious to replace you and who already has your replacement lined up and ready to step into your shoes

- retiring before you've met all your professional goals

- retiring before you've met all your financial goals

- being forced into retirement by redundancy, ill health, company relocation, etc

2.  Not having anything to retire 'to'.  For example, having insufficient hobbies, activities and pastimes to keep you interested, interesting and engaged.  Not having a plan for your retirement (or having a plan but not taking action on it).  Not having a bucket list of things you want to be, do, have and achieve before you 'kick the bucket'.

3.  Unresolved relationship problems.  Like the fact that the two of you don't get on.  Maybe your relationship worked while you were both working and had routines to follow and not much spare time available to find out how little you actually have in common.  Or you're spending too much time together, you're getting under each others' feet and you need regular time apart to each do your own thing and/or have some privacy.  Other causes of relationship problems in retirement arise from:

- partners who have never learned to communicate and resolve their differences like adults
- one or both partners having inadequate boundaries around the way their partner is allowed to treat them

- not living your own retirement - i.e., always doing everything your partner wants to do and none of the things that you want to do

4.  Financial woes.  Not having enough money to be able to live the kind of life in retirement that you want to live.  Or not having enough money to be able to stop worrying about what the future will bring.  Also, when partners have different values about money, they can often gloss over these when both are working and have a steady source of income.  In retirement, when people become more reliant on savings, simmering resentments about money can intensify into something much bigger.

5.  The failure to replace the benefits you got from your work.  The benefits that we get from working are generally recognised to be:

a)  financial stability
b)  time management
c)  a sense of being useful
d)  socialization and companionship
e)  status

We need to find ways of replacing those benefits once we retire.  So, our pension and possibly a part-time job or home-based business will, hopefully, provide us with financial stability.  Having a structure to our days and somewhere to go/something to do will provide us with a way to manage our time.  Voluntary work or starting a service-based business will give us a sense of being useful.  Having a wide circle of friends of all ages will fill the need for socialization and companionship.  You might not feel the need to replace the 'status' that you got from your working life but if you do, some sort of voluntary work might do the trick.  Volunteering makes us feel valuable - it helps us realise how competent, accomplished and fortunate we are in comparison with others and it provides us with the opportunity to be perceived as a wise person.

6.  Wasting time.  Once the initial excitement about being retired has passed, some people don't actually DO anything with their retirement.  They act as if they have all the time in the world to check off all the items on their bucket list.  Or they spend their time procrastinating about what to do and how to do it.  Or they get sucked into watching too much daytime TV or getting distracted online without acknowledging they're in the final chapter of their lives and that this is their last, best chance to do all the things that they've always wanted to do.

7.  Not taking care of yourself.  Many people report a little weight gain or loss of muscle tone in retirement but there comes a time when you have to make the choice to either take that in hand and do something about it - or not.  Not doing what you know to do - i.e., not taking the necessary action, makes you feel bad about yourself and this is often compounded by what you see when you look in the mirror.

8. Having so many ideas that you feel overwhelmed and don't know where to begin.  Here's what to do:

Make a plan and then work the plan.  Just take the first step... I'm 99.9% certain that you know what that first step is.  Decide what it is you need to do and take the first baby step in the right direction. I love baby steps. They're much easier to take than a big leap and, no matter how small the step you feel able to take, you'll have made progress. Which will give you the incentive to take the next baby step and the next and the... (Okay - you get it!).

Most of us spend more time planning our annual holiday than we do planning the non-financial aspects of our retirement.  Some time spent thinking about what could go wrong with your retirement, can help you avoid many of the potential challenges and pitfalls, and help make sure you get the retirement you want and deserve to have!