Ain’t That A Messy Middle – Episode 242

Ain't That A Messy MiddleIf you are a new listener to the show, we have a lot of back episodes where you can find information that you're looking for. But starting with Episode 239, which was three episodes ago, we started following the life of Barbara mock. This is section one of this one year project, there will be 12 sections, which we will release on a monthly basis, so be sure to subscribe.

Have You Made That Decision Yet?

Today, Barbara, and I talk about the messy middle. This is the place where you have made the decision to retire. But you're not retired yet. You're getting ready. You're planning. you're filling out forms, taking classes, creating your checklist, checking things off, it's during this messy middle. That things start to get real, it starts to get a little scary.

You're looking at how permanent your decision is. This is the part where things can get a little messy at home too. Because even though we might have discussed it with our significant other, when it starts to get real, things can pop up that you didn't think about before. And as Barbara promised, when she embarked on this journey with us, she tells us everything. Remember Barbara promise to be vulnerable.

The Messy Middle

Barbara is halfway through looking back and halfway through looking forward to that retirement. The other day, it's fall in the Pacific Northwest, raking leaves on a gorgeous sunny day. Suddenly, she kind of felt like the changing of the seasons is a metaphor for what she's going through right now. When she first started in the summer, everything was new and bright and shiny and exciting, full of energy. Now that fall has arrived, having wind and rain and leaves flying everywhere, she's thinking that's a picture of how she's feeling right now. And then as winter comes she would just like to curl up with a good book and sit by the fire.

But I'm thinking that spring is going to be my new life. And I'm going to be coming out of this season of the past and looking forward. And in some ways that is exciting. But it's also a little scary because it's so permanent.

Once You've Made that Decision, There's No Coming Back

Once you make that decision, you're going to retire. I'm sure there, you could go back on that, but I'm not. So I know, there's a state certain out there. And I think Ain't That A Messy Middleour listeners, Barbara had talked earlier about a book she has been reading called, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement by Alan Spector and Keith Lawrence. If you're the type of person that really wants to think about and plan for your retirement, not related to money, this book is highly recommended for you.

As each chapter unfolded, it was exciting. It was fun. At the end of each chapter, it suggests to you to answer some questions. What are you going to stop doing? What are you going to continue doing? And what are you going to do that's new? Those are really, really fun questions to explore and think about. So Barbara churned through these 10 keys, these 10 secrets, and then she got stuck. She couldn't figure out why. Because the very next step is to create your plan for retirement.

Barbara's Vision for Retirement

After so much thought into it and so much back and forth with her husband, Barbara finally knew what her vision for retirement is. She's a little vulnerable in saying it but as she said before, she's committed that she'll be open about this.

Barbara's greatest ambition is to please Jesus, above all else. Continue to love and be loyal to her best friend and husband. Full of gratitude for her family and friends. Embrace adventure and travel for the opportunity to learn and grow. Kind, thoughtful, and compassionate to those in need. And focus on her physical, spiritual, and emotional well being so that she can bring joy to others through service in my community. That is who she is and who she aspires to be.

Retirement Is A Messy Middle

If you're thinking about retirement, it is almost like a journal. With projects, at the beginning of a project, you're really excited. You're envisioning this future, but it gets really messy in any project and there's never a straight line from A to B. It's whirling around back and forth. And if you're impatient like Barbara, you want to get to the finish line, you want to get it done.

If you're anticipating retirement, don't rush this part, rest in it, analyze it, think about it, talk to your friends, talk to your family. And at some point, try to get it down on paper, because that means then you're likely to get it done.

Read all of Barbra's blog posts by visiting https://www.rockyourretirement.com/blog/

Mentioned in this episode:

Barbara's Amazing Retirement Journey: Section 1
Canceled Plans Before Retirement – Ep 241
Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement

This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

Do Seniors and Retirees Abuse Drugs or Alcohol Out of Boredom?

Depressed Senior CitizenDo Seniors and Retirees Abuse Drugs or Alcohol Out of Boredom?

Most Americans cannot wait until the day they get out of the rat race and retire, and many may plan and prepare for this day their whole life. Unfortunately, life’s circumstances may put a crimp in well-laid retirement plans. Life changes like divorce, death, or adapting to a decrease in income can make retirement challenging, at the very least.

For some, retirement may be disappointing — even depressing. Loneliness, despair, and boredom may creep in if the retiree fails to stay actively engaged with others — in and out of the home. Unfortunately, today’s retirees are from a generation that does not reach out for support or help when needed. Many choose to cope with their situation independently. Often the result is unhealthy coping strategies to simply get through the day. It is estimated that 10% of those addicted to alcohol in this country are over the age of 65, accounting for nearly 80,000 alcoholics in the U.S. With numbers like that, this trend is becoming a social problem that warrants new solutions, services, and systems to provide help for alcoholics in this demographic.

Do retired seniors abuse drugs and alcohol because of boredom? Consider the following:

Addiction Complicates Other Health Conditions

There are serious health issues that can emerge from drinking over time. According to WebMD, the tolls of alcohol on aging include physical changes, like the condition and appearance of the skin, as well as risks of dehydration, organ failure, slowed cognitive function, and a weakening of the immune system. Using drugs or alcohol also increases risks for dementia and has a direct impact on heart health. Further research indicates that heavy alcohol consumption contributes to conditions like diabetes, ulcers, high blood pressure, and chronic pain — as well as mental health disorders and memory loss.

Addiction is a Symptom of Something Else

Remember that when it comes to seniors and alcohol or drug abuse, it is often a sign of an underlying condition or situation. Sure, at first retirees may drink out of sheer opportunity or to fill free time. It may evolve into a habit that you engage in when times are tough or to adapt and adjust to your new life. Over time, the impacts of addiction on health and wellness can be devastating. If you feel a need to drink, why? What is it that is really going on? Sometimes the real-life stressors of getting older — including financial challenges, poor health, job loss, caregiver responsibilities, or chronic pain — create circumstances and situations that appear hopeless. In those situations, someone may ask themselves: Why not drink? Dig a little and find out what is going on, first, before trying to intervene. Alcohol or drug use may be a bandage for something much deeper.

Addiction is Easy to Miss

You may think that it would be easy to tell if someone close to you was using drugs or alcohol. The truth is, it is easier for retired seniors to hide signs of any problem as they may stay in, at home, and engage less with those around them. Even heavy drinkers or drug abusers are frequently able to fly under the radar — until an issue related to their addiction arises, which it almost always inevitably does. Family providers and practitioners may write off signs of addiction as being related to age, like unsteady gait or slurred speech, for example. 

Addiction Compromises Autonomy

One of the biggest threats against the independence of the aging population is the risk of falls. It is estimated that around 25% of all seniors fall once or more each year. Falls can contribute to a decline in overall health and mobility due to injuries and age-related complications. Some seniors may never recover from a nasty fall, losing the ability to live independently and care for themselves. Preventing falls is key in maintaining health and wellness; drugs and alcohol can exacerbate the risk of a stumble, tumble, or slip — especially for someone over 65.

Combat the Loneliness

Drugs and alcohol are often a way to cope with loneliness and fill a void in life. In fact, substance abuse is a coping mechanism, albeit an unhealthy one. Many times, the goals of addiction treatment are to teach and install new, healthier coping strategies for when feelings of loneliness — or other trying times — strike.

One way that many seniors have been able to combat fear and loneliness is with pet-assisted or animal therapy. Support animals provide a companion that is permitted anywhere the owner or handler goes — and that is particularly in-tune with their owner’s habits, needs, and schedule. Support and therapy animals are far more than pets; they are often the key to overcoming and coping with difficult situations without resorting to drinking or using drugs.

It Comes Down to PurposeIt Comes Down to Purpose

Coping with the changes that age brings can be difficult. Retirement is often a snapshot of that life change when age commands that you go home and stop working. For many, this will be a struggle. Work often provides a sense of identity; without it, who will you be? Furthermore, work offers a sense of purpose — a reason to get up and get out of bed in the morning. Those that seem to thrive in retirement often have hobbies, volunteering, civic involvement, and, yes, jobs. Retirement may include part-time work for self-fulfillment and socialization.

Intervene with Love and Boundaries

Unless you are a professional, you need help intervening with your loved one. Seniors may feel ganged-up on and resist any attempts to discuss the situation openly. If your loved one’s drinking or drug use has gotten to a point where it impacts your life, it is time to set firm boundaries and, in many instances, an ultimatum.

In some cases, boredom may cause retired seniors to drink or do drugs, but it’s only one reason. A significant percentage of retired seniors struggle with drug or alcohol issues, stemming from any number of potential reasons. No matter what, substance abuse presents health risks and hazards, but older individuals may be more impacted by the tolls of addiction.

Canceled Plans Before Retirement – Ep 241

Canceled Plans Before RetirementThe transition to retirement can be tricky for many, as spending discretionary income we can’t earn back seems risky. The last time that we got together, Barbara and I were talking about her pending vacation. Not only her pending vacation, but the vacation that she just went on, and how that was similar to a mini-retirement. Today we are talking about canceled plans. And I'm sure that you the listener has had some canceled plans this year, too.

Planning is Difficult During This Period of Time

I've had a couple of canceled plans. When COVID first started, I was really just getting off of a cruise. We almost didn't go on that cruise but my husband and I kept going back and forth on it. Like many, we didn't think the virus was going to get as bad as it did. What we di was we prayed about it. For those of you who listen, you know that I am someone who prays. It's not something that I focus on during the show, but we prayed about it and we ended up going on our trip. Honestly, that last cruise was probably one of the most interesting cruises we've ever been on because it was the cruise that kept going back and forth to Florida. For one reason or another, we kept heading back to the port.

Since then, though, I had a trip to Hawaii, that was canceled, a wedding that was canceled, and a lot of other events that have been canceled or postponed. 

Canceled Plans

Barbara also had a bunch of canceled plans. Starting with their 40th-anniversary trip. Barbara and her husband had planned to go to Cancun and the Riviera Maya. That's 10 glorious days planned! One at a resort and one on Isla Mujeres, a small little island off the coast of Mexico that she had always wanted to take her husband to. This trip was supposed to be in April. As the virus was unfolding in March, it became clear that everything was shutting down and it was really disappointing for them.

Barbara thinks that 40 years of marriage is a big deal that is why it should be celebrated. They had a pretty big financial investment on that trip though they got most of the money back. Still, money wasn't the issue. It was just that dream and that expectation of getting to go.

Barbara's Big Retirement Party

From previous episodes, we've talked and established that Barbara is an extreme extrovert. She's that person that wants a huge party. Her kids have known for years what that party was, they knew where it was going to be. They knew that they were going to have to take off work and come up with the grandkids so that all her friends could see her children and grandchildren.

And to realize that, no, there probably won't be a party is hugely disappointing for Barbara. Yet, Barbara knows in her heart that there'll be something down the line when it is safe to travel and maybe it'll be better. She's trying to take an optimistic approach because, in the end, what's important is that they're safe. Sometimes she feels guilty that she have that option to consider having a big party and having a trip planned. On the brighter note, she just thinks it's been delayed, not necessarily canceled.

This Should Have Been The Last Hoorah

Sometimes retirement parties are opportunities to say goodbye to these people because this will be kind of the last time you'll see some of them. Having it a year later, probably wouldn't work and although zoom is better than nothing, let's face it, you don't get the hugs. Because physically being able to hug somebody means so much.

 In this time of COVID, we're not hugging, we're not shaking hands. I just wonder, what is that doing to our mental health? What is it doing to our well being? Barbara is a big hugger. She's missing hugs as well. It's tough.

What do you do? One of the things that I've learned when I'm reading articles and reading blogs is some people are forming pods. For the listeners, the pod is where you get maybe two or three families together and you have a pact that you will not get together with anybody else. Basically, your pod is your socially distancing. You can basically become each other's families. And that you promise that you will not go out in public and do things that will expose you to COVID except within this pod.

Give Yourself Something to Look Forward ToCanceled Plans Before Retirement

Sometimes having something to look forward to is more valuable than any money or deposit you might lose. In terms of retirement planning,  Barbara has been listening to all kinds of webinars and seminars that her employer offers. When you're in work mode, these things go past you with these emails and training and classes and you just let them go by and it's kind of like when you're pregnant, you all suddenly see all these other pregnant people.

Now that Barbara's on the road to retirement, she's seeing all these opportunities that she didn't pay attention to at work. Every month, there's training and classes that are offered, but there's always one about preparing for retirement.

Now there's zoom. She's learned more about deferred compensation and more about Social Security. And then there was one that really aligned with the Rock Your Retirement program where it wasn't anything about money, rather it was about creating your personal definition of retirement. The presenter was talking about the steps of retirement, the stages of retirement, how important it is to redefine who you are, and just the different approaches. The time Barbara's spending in either reading or listening to the Rock Your Retirement podcasts or these classes is just really helping her form an idea of what her life is going to look like in retirement.

Read all of Barbra's blog posts by visiting https://www.rockyourretirement.com/blog/

Mentioned in this episode:

Trusted Housesitters
Go Do Enjoy! Episode 27

This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on http://RockYourRetirement.com

Barbara’s Amazing Retirement Journey: Section 1

Barbara Mock is joining the Rock Your Retirement Show to share her Retirement Journey with us!  We'll be following her on her pre-announcement.  We'll be following when she announces to her superiors.  We'll discuss what happens when she tells her team.

What will happen the next few months after the announcement?  What happens on the last day of work?

How will her relationships change with her friends?  What about her family?  How will her relationship change with her husband?

Will she go through the dreaded stages of retirement?

We'll all find out together as we embark this journey with Barbara hand in hand!

Join us on the Rock Your Retirement show podcast so you can go through this journey with her.  This is section 1.  It's best to listen to these sections in order so you can follow her journey.

And she's writing journal entries along the way.  After today's episode, you'll be able to follow those as well.   They'll be in the “blog” section of this website.


To listen to the podcasts, search for the “Rock Your Retirement” show in your favorite podcast catcher, or click subscribe on the player below, and follow the instructions.


How Multi-Generational Living Will Work Ep 237

How Multi-Generational Living Will WorkIf you are living in a multi-generational household or considering it, you must listen to this series. Last week we discussed the pros and cons of multi-generational living. Today, we are talking about tips for living in a multi-generational household.

Multi-generational living means a single household that includes family members of several generations, grandparents, parents, and children, all under one roof. Was once a cultural phenomenon has slowly become a national trend. For some families, it’s about caring for aging parents, others have adult children returning home. Also, for some, it’s a cultural expectation. And others have adult children that haven’t left.

Learn to Deal with Conflict

It's tough from the spouse’s point of view. For Tae’s part, you can't be as a direct daughter-in-law it's hard for his wife to talk to her father-in-law like, “Hey you two you need to clean this up.” Time’s a little bit different. All of us have to contribute to a multi-generational household. To avoid any kind of conflict down the line, Tae would rather do the work upfront.

Tae’s wife is not living with her parents, she's living with his parents. So, it's very important to recognize, appreciate, listen to her concerns about a multigenerational household, without being judgmental but just kind of hear her out.

Set Boundaries

Tae’s family shares a community fridge. Everyone shops at their own timeline and then everybody was just kind of stuff their own things in different sections of the refrigerator. There was this time when Tae’s wife was going to cook and couldn’t find the carrots that they just bought. This is one of those items where you know it keeps coming up. So what they did to fix this problem was they labeled parts of the refrigerator saying, okay this my section, this is the grandma section. We don't go into each other’s sections and everyone's got their own section.

We have come up with the system of separating parts of the refrigerator and then just reinforce it on a regular basis.

Even Though You're In a Multi-Generational Living, You Still Need to Prioritize Privacy

It is recognizing that everyone has their own personal space in the house, and one of the things that helped out was having separate spaces within the house. Tae’s family has their own little community area where they can have their television and just sit on their couch. They lay out the things that they want, not getting into each other’s space as regards to like who left the newspaper here or who left tissues here. It’s a place where we can create our own mess, they can create their own mess, and we're not getting into each other’s space. That was very important for them.

Split Expenses, Where Possible

When Tae’s family decided to cohabitate, Tae would take over the mortgage as a majority of the utility expense. His parents thankfully said they would take care of the electric bill and the phone bill. So, to clear things up, they said they would take care of the gas bill, the water bill, the mortgage, and then you guys can get take care of the phone bill and the electric bill. Food is a little interesting because they don't have clear agreements. Tae and his wife would go and do their own shopping at Costco for what they want and then for his parents they would purchase what they want.

In a Multi-Generational Living, Going with the Flow

Conflicts are going to happen on a weekly basis just because when you have four adults living in the house. It's natural for Tae and his wife to just recognizing where his How Multi-Generational Living Will Workparents are coming from. That helps get things into the right mindset. You need to approach things with a mindset of appreciation instead of trying to say, okay, like this is not working for us. At the same time recognizing that, hey, there's a cost to everything.

For us we make a conscious decision to cohabitate because there is a mutual benefit from both financially at the same time from a family perspective. It’s comforting to have parents around. So, recognizing that we've made a conscious decision to be where we can't get everything that we want, but in the end, the benefit outweighs the cost and they're the things that we have to work through. Coming back to the right mindset try to look at everything from a very empathetic perspective.

Multigenerational households only work with a high degree of mutual respect, communication, and, above all, loving family ties.

About Our Co-Host

Tae is the blogger behind Financial Tortoise. He writes about navigating the intersection between personal finance and being a sandwich generation. Tae and his wife cohabitate with his aging parents while raising their own children and building their careers.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Tips for Multigenerational Living

This post of Retirement and Retirement Lifestyle first appeared on https://RockYourRetirement.com

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