This episode is from the vault and was first released January 15, 2018.
This might be a hard question for some people, but let's face it, what does your retirement life look like?
Steve Cousins is one of our listeners. (Hi Steve!) After graduating from college Steve joined an oil company at a refinery in Arkansas where he worked as an engineer, manager and eventually as the VP and General Manager. He stayed with the same company for his entire career and remained at the same location.
Last year Steve retired upon turning 60 and immediately stepped into a retirement career designed to be part-time, low stress and lots of fun. After a year, the plan is working great! I wanted to discuss with him his choice in a “semi-retirement”.
“You Shouldn't run away from something, you have to run towards something.”
Steve always thought he would be working until he was 70 or later because he really enjoyed his job. The last few years, things changed he did not enjoy it very much, but he hung on because frankly, he was afraid of retirement. There were several reasons he was afraid of retirement and I think a lot of people can relate.
Steve thought if he was leaving work because he didn't enjoy it anymore that didn't necessarily mean he would enjoy retirement either.
He also looked at the compensation he was getting from work and it was painful for him to walk away from that after working so hard to get to that point in his career.
His job was his identity, and he didn't want to lose that
Working to feel useful and productive in your retirement life
Even before retiring from his job, Steve decided what he wanted his retirement life to look like. He wanted to feel useful and productive. He started his side gigs which are pretty cool!
Expert Witness Work
Trade Association representation
Side gigs or semi-retirement not for you? Steve says, focus on volunteer work. He has a ton of volunteer positions! (As we tend to hear a lot, he is just as busy if not even busier than when he was working) His volunteer work includes:
Chair the Board of Trustees for the local community college
Local Hospital Clinic that helps people who are uninsured or underinsured
State and local Chamber of Commerce
State University mentoring students
On the board of a local group called 50 for the future, where they solve problems in the city
It's not all work for Steve. He also spends time with his wife. They enjoy doing a lot of things together like running, hiking, off-road riding, discovering hidden waterfalls, and many more activities. Now that they are retired, they can spend a lot more time together but still spend time doing their own things.
Steve's advice from one listener of the show to another:
You should marry someone better than yourself and invest a lot of time in your relationship because if everything else went away and you still have each other, you will still be fine.
Widen your horizon's. Don't just do your job, volunteer to do other things. Reach outside of your comfort zone and practice public speaking because it helps boost your confidence. What great advice Steve!
Did you plan your retirement life? How did you do it? Leave a comment below and let us know!
I talked with Cassandra Hill, who is a gerontologist and a certified wellness coach. She started out working with seniors in long-term care and assisted living and enjoyed her time. The health of the seniors she worked with declined to a point that their quality of life was limited. This gave her the passion to work with seniors and give them a better quality of life.
In this episode, Cassandra enlightens us on how to age properly and the things that we should do to live out our senior years in peace and confidence.
Cassandra tells us that the baby boomers are in their retirement age and they need to be proactive about aging. She has served seniors living at home, in a skilled nursing, assisted living, and also in hospice. She ensures that their emotional health is also taken care of so that they are in a good mental state. Their wellbeing is not only important to them, but also for their loved ones and family members.
Our body and mind are interwoven and often mental stress can lead to physical symptoms and even cause illness. It is necessary to take care of both in order to live a comfortable life.
I ask Cassandra to tell us more about the concerns of aging and growing old. She states that the primary concern of seniors she works with is finances. Having the means necessary to live and fear of outliving their money. Many people have not bought long-term insurance or didn't save enough to go through retirement. With the advance in medical science, people are living longer but with chronic illness.
Such people need to apply for government insurance like Medicaid immediately, which can cover long-term care depending on your circumstances. The insurance also pays for meals or any medical expenses including that of a nurse. Some states also offer the PACE program for seniors which are all-inclusive programs that come helpful in the golden years.
Cassandra is now focusing on people who are yet to retire so that she can work with them and help them save enough for retirement. She also feels that the retirement system in the country should change otherwise future generations won't be able to support them.
I presented Cassandra a hypothetical situation of a 62-year-old woman who has to take care of her kids and also has to check in on her parents. Doing things for her parents such as occasionally buying groceries and other things for them. I ask Cassandra what suggestion she would give to such a woman.
Cassandra says that this woman should first take care of herself otherwise she won't be able to care for others. She should go for a routine check-up at least once every 6 months. She also advises her to take self-care measurements and get the finances sorted. She suggests getting some form of pension and gets a retirement plan while making some cutbacks in her lifestyle. Her kids can also apply for education loans to take some burden off her shoulders.
For a 62-year-old woman living independently, Cassandra advises her to develop healthy habits or should practice living healthy. She should also exercise regularly for about 30 minutes a day to increase her heart rate. To avoid feelings of isolation, she should join some community such as YMCA and interact with people who share the same interests.
Advice from Cassandra
Cassandra also gives out words of wisdom who want to be proactive about their aging. She tells us to invite an Aging in Home designer who can come and assess your house. They can suggest a number of changes which might help you in living healthy and happy for a long time. Such considerations include putting slides in the shower, taking up rugs and so on. Talking on the subject it turns out that falls are really common with senior people. Most of the falls happen in the bathroom facilitated by factors such as water and slippery floors. The kitchen is another place which might prove to be hazardous in your old age.
You can make your house suitable for living and reduce the chances of mishaps. Such measures include putting a grab handle in the shower so that you can save yourself from falling.
If you want more tips about the science of aging, you can visit Cassandrahill.com and also check out her Facebook page Live Health for Life.
Stephanie Cunningham came on the show to talk about her retirement in a different county.
On Today’s Show we discuss:
Retirement in a different country
Stephanie’s bicycle tour
Decrease in social status after retirement
Stephanie’s cultural transition in Australia
Needing a reason to be on this earth or sacrificing happiness
Value of community in Australia
Money isn’t everything
Stephanie was born, raised and worked in Colorado until she took early retirement to join a round the world bicycle tour. While on the tour, she found Australia and decided to move there. Because of visa regulations at that time, she couldn’t work, which forced her into an early retirement. Trying all of the activities that are traditional in retirement left her unfulfilled and wanting more.
The Bicycle Tour
The bicycle tour was a millennial trip. While it wasn’t an inexpensive trip, it was for a whole year. Stephanie did a lot of physical training for the trip. It was recommended each rider do at least 6,000 miles before the beginning of the tour. Each weekday, Stephanie rode 135K. It was physically challenging but not nearly as difficult as she thought it would be. Stephanie enjoyed the trip because you see things you wouldn’t see on a bus or in a car.
New Found Love for Yoga
One new activity she tried was yoga and enjoyed it. She decided to become a yoga teacher for over 50’s and then added yoga training to teach over 50’s for yoga teachers. In March of last year, she started the podcast Changing the Face of Yoga to expand the perception of yoga. She will launch the second broadcast in July about finding purpose in retirement as she struggled to find purpose and feels it is very important for a successful retirement.
She talks about her initial culture shock and the challenges for retirement in a different country.
Australia is a tenth of the US population but as large land wise as the US. It is less crowded and frantic. Stephanie claims it is almost 10 years behind in certain ways. Australia has less commercial ads and consists of a much more laid-back atmosphere. It is also gorgeous.
Impact of Not Being Able to Work
Stephanie was not planning on retirement when she moved to Australia. She had worked for Colorado and retired for a nominal amount of money. She planned on taking a year off then going back to work in a different way. There were a lot things Stephanie loved about working and it was a hard adjustment at first. She certainly never imagined her retirement in a different country.
Advice for Retirement in a different country
Stephanie recommends really planning it and understanding what you are getting into. She recommends going to an expat community when first adjusting. In addition, look at exchange rates and cost of living when considering retirement in a different country.