This nonagenarian retired several times, first at 65 from a career job. Again at 70 after five years as public relations manager at a city community center. And again from the same job at age 75 after another five years as a volunteer PR specialist.
Then, at age 80, I began posting daily online. Now 90, I’m not quite ready to unplug my Mac. I still write, cartoon and photo at least a dozen articles a week.
Decisions I made at my first retirement are listed below as suggested New Year’s resolutions for other seniors. Especially those who’ve recently or are soon to enter those anticipated sunset years.
1. Wait! Don’t quit just yet! Before you retire, check out the best deal you can get in pension and other benefits. If another year or five on the job will earn you a higher income and/or added health coverage, hang in there. Consider waiting for Social Security, too. It’s minimum if you retire at age 62, so consider staying beyond 65 to get higher monthly SS checks. The amount increases at the rate of 8% per extended year until age 70.
2. Confer with a family business adviser about investments. With today’s volatile market, you may want to convert risky stocks to fixed-interest accounts. Then enjoy regular monthly income to supplement company pension and SS checks.
3. Volunteer: If you’ve been lucky enough to complete that working career with good health, pension and bank account, show thanks by helping others. Offer your brain, energy and skills at a hospital, homeless shelter, community agency, church, synagogue or other place where you’ll be needed and appreciated.
4. Get in shape: If working years were spent sitting at a desk, don’t go into sunset years shaped like a moon. Get a complete report on your physical condition. If overweight and sedentary, start serious daily exercises and sensible diet.
5. Dump the weeds: If still smoking and old enough to retire with both lungs working, you’re a medical miracle! Now’s the time to escape from the tobacco addiction and its costs. How many packs a week do you puff @ $6 x 52? Once clean, you’ll not only be healthier, but can use the savings to pay for an annual luxury cruise or island vacation.
Finally, making New Year’s resolutions to begin a meaningful and healthy retirement should be taken with an upbeat and positive attitude. Don’t consider it an ending, but a beginning of what could be the most satisfying years of your life.