Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Busting the Top Ten Retirement Myths -- Part 2

There are many myths abroad about retirement, and many people who continue to believe them are being held back from fully enjoying the second phase of their lives. To help you avoid holding on to these detrimental myths, I'd like to offer my take on five more of the most widely held retirement myths.

Myth #6: Once I retire, I'll never work again. For the baby boomer generation, and for many of the previous generation, this will not be true. Retirees work for one of three main reasons: (1) they need the income; (2) working gives them purpose and meaningful activity; and (3) working is a way to be out with other people. A growing portion of the middle class is discovering the need to work to supplement retirement income. Many of the baby boomer generation might work both for a sense of purpose and connection with others and because they need the income.

Myth #7: If I save enough money, retirement will be wonderful. This is a very popular myth; and it is not true. Happiness in retirement has far less to do with having money than with having a new lifestyle plan. The old saying is as true for retirees as for anyone else: money doesn't buy happiness. We humans need relationship with others; we need purpose; we need meaning; we need to leave some kind of legacy. Money doesn't create or sustain the most essential human needs in retirement.

Myth #8: Life after retirement is a time when you watch your physical and mental capabilities decline. This is only true if you make it true. By taking care of yourself and getting proper diet, exercise and rest, you can keep both your body and your mind in excellent condition. Remaining active and engaged can keep you sharp. Every retiree should talk and work with their physician to create the best diet and the right exercise program for optimal physical health. Every retiree should also keep his or her mind active with reading, learning new things, social engagement, even playing stimulating games.

Myth #9: Everyone ends up in a nursing home. Increasingly, people are choosing to "age in place" – to remain in their homes as they grow older. To be sure, the more independent of us will find it easiest to do this. But insurance companies, social security, and society are learning that it is both better for the individual and cost-effective to provide services and treatments to people over 55 in their homes. Even people with disabilities or degenerative illnesses are able to find the equipment and support they need to remain in their homes.

Myth #10: The best time to think about a retirement lifestyle is after I retire. While I do not want to imply that you can't plan a retirement lifestyle after you retire, your transition and sense of direction at the time you retire from your job will be more focused if you plan earlier. Just as you recognize the need to start planning early for your financial needs in the second phase of life it is equally helpful to plan your lifestyle early. By planning early you can have the training, support systems, and sense of direction that will make the transition easier and your retirement lifestyle happier and more fulfilling.

If you have been holding on to any of these myths, I encourage you to shift your thinking and do a little bit of research. Moving beyond the myths allows us to step boldly into a future that is fulfilling, meaningful and happy in retirement.

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