Excerpts from How to Love Your Retirement, 2nd ed., Barbara Waxman, special editor, published by Hundreds of Heads, November 2010
Retirees’ expectations and circumstances are different from previous generations. Retirement does not necessarily mean stopping paid work; it may mean embarking on a new career, shifting work schedules to incorporate more volunteer work or pursuing other hobbies, or starting a business.
It could mean continuing to work but also focusing on challenges and opportunities outside of work that are encountered at this life stage. Over the course of the next couple of decades, being an older adult can increasingly be viewed as some of the best, most productive and rewarding years of life.
That’s why GRAND is pleased to recommend How to Love Your Retirement, the most comprehensive workbook and collection of advice from real people about how to fully enjoy and thrive in retirement.
Here are some of the topics in the book on which real people and professionals share their best stories and tips:
- Knowing if and when one is ready to retire
- Planning for financial independence (even if you are starting late)
- Traveling and relocating
- Learning to refocus on your spouse (and dealing with an empty nest)
- Identifying new passions/hobbies
- Focusing on aging health
Other contributors include professional experts in the areas of finance, health, career, psychology, education and business. And exercises are included for readers to turn the advice into lessons they can apply to their own lives, making this both a quick reference guide and a workbook.
“I had been a writer, journalist and radio personality in earlier years. When I got to be over 60… I had other things I wanted to do: staying in shape, skiing and building things. At one point, I had an idea to do oral histories for people for their families and for organizations. The idea is, at some point down the road, a great-grandchild who has never met his great-grandmother will want to know about her life. And it will be there on a CD, in the great-grandmother’s words and in her own voice. I love doing this…. this is as much fun as I’ve ever had.” – Michael Creedman, San Francisco
“What motivates me now? Just getting out of bed and remaining healthy and getting to spend quality time with my seven grandchildren…. Now I can commit so much time to them without having to worry about getting to bed at a certain time…. I can give myself completely to them, and that’s a very unburdening feeling.” – J.E., Morgantown, West Virginia
“If you have the means, buy a condo on a beach…. Not a beach house; a condo…. We use it to visit and vacation with our kids and grandkids. But when we’re not there, we don’t have to worry about upkeep….” – E.R., Tampa, Florida
Get involved in other things that you enjoy! “After retiring, I got involved with my church, my grandchildren, and traveling. It wasn’t long until I was asking myself, “When did I have time to work?” – Margaret McCown, Jacksonville, Texas
Kid-friendly: “National parks are great for traveling with grandchildren. Park rangers offer educational programs that help build an appreciation for history, nature and wildlife.”
The best thing about retirement: “We have two grandkids (8 and 10), and we get to spend more time with them. Sometimes we keep the kids while my daughter is working. We have a lot of fun with them, especially at those ages. And I also do more things with my own kids than I did when I was working. For example, my daughter bought an old house, and I helped fix that up.” – Chalmers Gable, Marion, Texas
Sometimes I wonder, when did I have time to work? “My new job is taking my granddaughter to her figure skating lessons and competitions. On Wednesdays, I have yoga and schedule doctor appointments. I want to take a computer class and a philosophy course. And we’re always having events like graduations, parties, and church activities. My life is very busy, but it is good. I can’t see myself sitting at home watching TV!” – E.M., Edgewater, New Jersey
6 Tips for Traveling with Grandchildren, from How to Love Your Retirement
One of the pleasures of having flexible time in your life is sharing your footloose status with your grandchildren. But like so many things in this world, travel gets more complicated when it crosses generations. Here are some things to keep in mind so that your trip with your grandchildren will create the best memories for all concerned.
- Make your plan together. The purpose of traveling together, after all, is to grow closer, so begin your trip before you set out by sharing the creation of this experience. Having your grandchildren’s participation in choosing a location and activities will also mean you are more likely to have a successful trip together.
- Remember that you are a role model. Your actions, from planning the trip to interacting with others and dealing with difficulties along the way, will teach your grandchildren invaluable lessons.
- Consider everyone’s health and safety. When planning the trip, be realistic about your physical and energy levels – and those of the grandchildren. Plan for any possible dietary restrictions you – or your grandchildren – may have. Take changes in altitude, allergens and time zones into account.
- Plan ahead for emergencies. Don’t forget to carry a signed authorization allowing you to be a health proxy for your grandchild, and bring a list of emergency contacts with you.
- Be flexible. Leave room in your days for a rest, a side trip or simply unstructured time. Understand that all of the museums your grandchild seemed to be excited about during the planning stage may not turn out to be so much fun. Keep a list of backup activities for those times.
- Don’t forget the camera! Ignore family members who hate having their picture taken, or who think you wait too long to push the button, or who would rather “experience” than “document” their trip. They’ll thank you, eventually.
Retirement is about purpose and passion and the place where the two intersect. It’s about strengthening bonds with friends, family members and those causes that we relate to. It’s about a peak quality of life…. Creativity, lifelong learning and engaging in activities and with people who make you smile will increase not only the quantity but also the quality of your years. – Barbara Waxman
Barbara Waxman is president of the Odyssey Group, an executive and life coaching company for adults, midlife and better.