1 of 2
Staying physically and socially engaged are two ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle after retirement.
2 of 2
Staying physically and socially engaged are two ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle after retirement.
With retirement – and even before it occurs – many questions arise. Will I have enough money? How will I maintain my health? Where will I live? What will I do all day?
Here, we’ve turned to a variety of knowledgeable professionals – and a retiree, too – on how to handle the retirement process the right way.
Dr. Aubrey Knight
Geriatric Medicine Physician at Carilion Clinic
Q: How can people stay healthy after retirement?
A: Stay active! I probably say that 10 times a day.
Be physically engaged: Find something that won’t be taxing on the joints; swim, ride bikes, maybe even more so than they did before they retired.
Be socially engaged: Join a club or get more involved with church to interact with people.
Be cognitively engaged: Reading, watching TV, word puzzles and anything that requires them to think and reason and engage their mind.
Q: What are the best ways to overcome health issues without making an appointment?
A: It depends on the issue, of course. Many diseases become more problematic and frequent with increasing age. We often get patients who have never had any trouble with their diabetes until they get older and the reason for that might be because they aren’t as active (socially, physically, cognitively) as they once were.
Q: What are some of the most common concerns for those who are beginning to age?
A: • Memory is by far the most common and part of that is fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Frequently a worried well patient, someone who has a memory lapse of one sort or another, comes in to see us and by all the testing we have at our disposal currently, we are not able to say yes, indeed you do have a memory problem.
• Function decline or muscle weakness and debility: It doesn’t take a lot of lack of activity to cause atrophy or a decrease in the strength and acidity of muscles. For instance, if an older person is hospitalized for a few days or isn’t allowed to do their daily routine, it doesn’t take long to no longer be able to do what they once could.
• Hearing loss and visual impairment are common. When you don’t have all of your senses working properly, you lose the ability to interact with your environment.
Q: What is the single most important advice you would give someone retiring?
A: They need a long-term retirement plan. They need to be thinking about what they’re going to do about staying engaged and productive. We get our kicks out of being productive and feeling like we’re doing something. When that is suddenly gone, it can have a profound effect on an individual’s psyche as well as physical and mental functioning.
Executive Director at Hermitage in Roanoke
Q: What should people think about when choosing a place to live after retirement?
A: Age! The ages at which people decide to retire vary from person to person. There are big gaps between the 62 year old and the 82 year old and another big gap between the 82 year old and the 100 year old. Being able to find a place with different peer groups that are suitable and open to newcomers is very important for those who have begun considering an assisted-living community.
Q: What is the difference between for-profit and non-profit communities?
A: For profit (communities) can be regulated by the government funding that they receive and even though they may want to chose to do some things, they may not have the ability to do that, which doesn’t mean they’re bad, they’re just different.
It’s a similar comparison to a state school, “for profit” (RU, VT, GMU) compared to a private school, “not for profit” (Roanoke, CNU, Hollins). They both have great things to offer for students of any kind but if you don’t show up to class at the state school, they probably won’t notice. But, if you don’t show up to class at a private school, they will know in no time. And though state schools are more affordable than private schools, some see the benefits of private school too convincing to pass on. This is very similar when choosing a community to live in.
Q: What is the importance of “downsizing”?
A: To plan ahead and avoid crisis so that you won’t feel stuck anywhere. No one wants to feel stuck. Also, to make sure what they have goes to the people they want and when they come here, you know what they brought is stuff that is really important to them. They take the important stuff and put it into their apartment and then that is their home. You really know that person a lot better when you look at what they’ve brought: pictures, family links, rewards from education or work, etc.
Life as the Retiree:
retired from GE in 2000
Q: What has been the biggest surprise about retirement that you would have never expected?
A: The biggest surprise to me is how fast time goes by. I sit and wonder how did I have time to work every day and still have time to get home and get personal things done.
Q: What was the biggest change you had to make after retiring?
A: When you’re working, you have a rigid schedule to be at work and a timetable to get things done. When you are retired, you have no schedules or timelines; you do what you want when you want. I would say it takes about a year or so to get out of the old routines and into the full swing of retirement life.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is retiring soon?
A: The major thing is planning! Plan where you want to retire (stay where you are, go to a retirement village, or be a snowbird and go south in the winter and north in the summer). And make sure you understand your Medical and RX plan; find out if the area you retire too has the medical facilities you need.
You should also stay active. You have the opportunity to do and try things you have always wanted to. It’s a new, different way of life.
Q: How do you best counteract the problems tied with retirement?
A: First get it straight in your mind that you are retired and that it will be a different way of life. Get involved in activities; get out to try new things. Stay close to family and friends, and be sure to make new friends too.
Barnes & Associates
– Ameriprise Financial
Q: What financial advice would you give someone thinking about retirement?
A: Know your numbers! Know what you MUST have for “essential” expenses, the things you need, annually or monthly to keep you going in retirement. These are things like food, utilities, housing, medical premiums, etc. Also, know what you WANT to have for the extra things in retirement, the “lifestyle” expenses (i.e. travel, entertainment, gifts to kids or grandchildren). Once you know these two numbers, you are in the position to look at your income sources and financial assets to create a plan for retirement. I recommend you involve a Certified Financial Planner practitioner to help you prepare an income plan for developing income in retirement.
Q: What are the best ways to overcome financial instability as a retiree?
A: The only certainty is uncertainty. Have a plan to address this uncertainty in advance. Some aspects of this plan should include:
• Make sure you can cover your essential expenses with fixed sources of income throughout retirement even when there is volatility in the markets or the economy.
• Have an adequate emergency fund that is positioned in a liquid account when the unexpected things happen (and they will).
• Have a plan for increased medical costs, especially costs associated with long-term care.
• Make sure you have adequate liability coverage (auto, home, umbrella). Review these with a property and casualty insurance agent.
• Understand the financial impacts due to death of either spouse. What will you lose in the way of income when each person passes away and plan for the adjustment to your income?
Instability will not go away, but having a plan to address the things we can reasonably anticipate in retirement can help to reduce the emotional impacts and become more confident.
Q: What are the most common concerns or topics that retirees face financially?
A: One of the most common concerns deals with children and grandchildren. I see retirees worry that they (children or grandchildren) will not have resources in the future to retire or send grandchildren to college, buy a house, etc. I also see some retirees “subsidizing” of children and grandchildren’s lifestyles to the detriment of their own financial security. Prior to retirement, I advise everyone to assess this concern and possibly have some very direct conversation with their children about what is coming and how this may affect them.
Q: What other personal advice could be beneficial for current/potential retirees?
A: Create a plan for your retirement, make sure it is written down, take action and then review the plan regularly, make changes as needed. I advise hiring a qualified financial advisor to help with this, because they can take some of the emotion out of it and help you look more objectively at what you are trying to do and make sure it is realistic. Starting sooner is better, but it is never too late to create a plan.
The Perfect Policy:
Sales Producer at Allstate Roanoke
Q: What is the importance of having an insurance plan, especially as a retiree?
A: In most cases, it is the law for people to have an insurance plan, especially if they own and operate a vehicle. Any sort of accident is unpredictable; we all should have an insurance plan that best suits our personal needs. Without unpredictable accidents, Mother Nature, and people’s negligence there wouldn’t be a need for insurance. Unfortunately, we can’t always be too careful, and that’s where having an insurance plan comes into play.
Q: How is an insurance plan beneficial?
A: The benefits of having an insurance plan is simple; it protects you from people’s negligence as well as protecting others from our negligence. It also helps protect those precious family values and assets that have been passed down from generation to generation. Not having insurance or the proper insurance could hurt that person in the long run. They’re risking their assets, having to pay for repairs out of pocket, opened to lawsuits, and in some cases, possible jail time.
Q: What advice would you give a retiree currently looking for an insurance policy?
A: Don’t obtain an insurance plan just to have an insurance plan. Having an insurance plan doesn’t mean you’re well protected. First, you would need to sit down with an agent, discuss the types of assets you have. The agent will then discuss the different types of coverage that are available to you. That way, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you’re well covered in case something unpredictable happens. –DF