If you're reading this with interest, there's a good chance your career may be coming to an end. You may have dedicated a significant portion of your life to one or two companies. Saved enough money for your children to go to college. You may have even forgone holidays so your retirement fund could assure you a stress-free, post-retirement life.
But while that's all well and good, many factors need considering before your sun-dappled retirement becomes a reality, and if you don't consider them, you could actually find yourself leading a more stressful life.
With those unintended consequences in mind, here are ten typical mistakes people make in retirement and the best ways you can avoid them.
1. They have no goals
Having a lot of time on your hands is a luxury that can turn into a problem. For young people, it's figuring out how best to spend their summer vacation. For retirees, it's how best to spend the rest of their lives. It can indeed become a problem, and for those unwilling to test new waters and try new things, it's unlikely you'll find getting up every morning without anything to do that interesting.
So plan ahead. Perhaps you've always wanted to write a novel but never had the time? Or play more golf, and even enter some local tournaments? Whatever it is, make sure you think ahead and challenge yourself. Otherwise, you'll find your days becoming nothing more than a chore.
2. They aren't willing to change their lifestyle
If you've recently left a well-paid job, chances are you'll be used to the luxuries and perks it has offered over the years. The company car, the complimentary air-miles, the free lunches. In fact, such perks can become a staple part of someone's life that people forget that everything costs money once those perks are taken away.
Thus, instead of ordering a taxi, ask yourself if it would be cheaper to take the bus? Or if going out to a restaurant five days a week is necessary when you can get just as good ingredients for only a fraction of the price at your local supermarket? It doesn't have to mean your lifestyle has to be radically altered but to indulge every day on such things is almost asking for financial ruin.
3. Spending too much too soon
As humans, instant gratification is hard to resist. But for pensioners and retirees, being presented with an abundance of free time and a vast arsenal of cash can also mean a splurge on goods and services that could quite easily give you this false illusion of being a lottery winner.
You've waited years for such a moment, and to be robbed of your moment in the sun doesn't sound fair. But then again, you're not a lotto winner. And like with your lifestyle, purchasing things you deem a necessity or a luxury- whatever they may be- must always be done within your financial limits.
4.Spending too much time together as a couple
After retirement, a vast majority find themselves married. And one of the best things about married life is spending quality time together. But with the kids all grown up, and work commitments all but over, precious free time can turn into a precarious situation when you're spending too much time with your significant other.
So to offset the devastating outcome of divorce, let your partner have space. If you want to do different things some days, then that's more than acceptable.
After all, even in old age, absence always makes the heart grow fonder.
5. Supporting adult working children
In an era where young adults are putting off home ownership and starting a family until much later in life, their financial dependency on their parents has only increased. Yes, millennials have it hard, and it's unlikely many will own a home without the aid and support of their parents. But then again, that shouldn't guilt trip you into offering them a massive deposit.
It may be tempting, but in reality, all it will do is put your life and, in some cases, marriage, in increased jeopardy. By all means, offer to help with their bills now and then. But if your resources are limited, then it's important you see the bigger picture and remind yourself you're no longer earning what you once did.
6. Not staying physically and mentally active
If you've been a gym-goer for most of your adult life, there's a strong possibility you'll be in the gym even more than before. But for the others, who, for understandable reasons, put all their spare energy into their families, being presented with the perfect chance to exercise may now be a nightmare.
Saying that you might not have a marital partner, and social conversations may be sparse if you live away from friends. So going to the gym is the perfect way to meet new people.
What's more, exercising the brain is just as important, because, as with your muscles, the brain can quickly erode without significant training. Even if it's just reading a book for half an hour each morning, your mind is staying active and engaging with material rather than being exposed to pixels on a television screen.
7. Dismissing the need for full-time care
Growing old is a fear we all have, and for retirees, starting the next chapter of their life can be more scary than exciting.
It's for this precise reason that money should indeed be put aside for care, even if it's a prospect that sends shivers down your spine. To put things into perspective, a good care home can cost anything upwards of $40,000 a year, and that alone should be enough of a warning that growing old isn't cheap.
8. Assuming their interests will last
We all have at least one interest or passion that we can't wait to devote more time to.
For retirees, however, time is of the essence, and it's easy to presume such likes will stay with you till death. Although that may be the case for some, most people, even in old age, don't know quite exactly what excites them most. So make sure you keep yourself open to trying new things and seeing different places rather than settling for a predictable lifestyle.
9. Waiting for life to happen
Carrying on with the theme of trying new things, one can only find such things if they look high and low. If you don't know what you want to do with your free time, then go outside and find things that interest you. Perhaps there is a painting class in the local area?
Or a book club that meets every Friday with wine and cheese beforehand? Whatever it is, go out and test the waters.
10. Being led astray with bad investment advice
The elderly are prime targets for investment companies. Why? Because they know you're investing in your family's future and have enough time on your hands to be swayed into making a decision. But don't take their words.
They may sound warm and welcoming, but to them, you're just another customer. Instead, it's better to seek out advice by researching online or via a financial book, such as the ones produced in the Dummies series. Perhaps there is even an investment club in your local area? Or a family member who works in finance that can honestly assist you without being biased. After all, why take investment advice from those who don't even know you?