“The times they are a-changin’.” I’m pretty sure Bob Dylan wasn’t talking about retirement when he sang these famous words, but he sure could have been. Retirement planning, including all of the non-financial aspects, needs to be done quite differently today.
Let’s take a look at the Top Ten Myths about retirement:
1. Choice is good. True up to a point, but too many choices are overwhelming. When there are almost limitless possibilities, such as choosing a place to relocate, people often go with the default, which is doing nothing-a case of “analysis paralysis.” Research shows that several high-quality choices not only make it easier to make a decision, but people are happier with the result. As an example, why are cruises so popular? Once you decide on an itinerary, your choices are narrowed but still very attractive-lodging, meals, entertainment, transportation and activities are at a manageable level. Cruisers can relax and enjoy the trip-the major decisions have already been made by the cruise experts.
2. Moving is too difficult. A 2010 Del Webb baby boomer survey found that more than one third of respondents plan to relocate, and half of them think they will move to another state. With 78 million boomers, that’s a lot of moving vans rumbling down the roads. Why do people choose to relocate? The top four reasons are: cost of living, access to preferred health care, cultural and recreational amenities and climate. Neighborhoods change, friends and adult children move away, suburban homes don’t have an environment that promotes healthy living (such as walking trails and sidewalks) and, as one woman stated who moved to a warm climate, “you don’t have to shovel heat.”
3. People are afraid of retirement. Not true at all. There is a lot of optimism about retirement and all it has to offer. A 2010 Ameriprise Financial/Harris Interactive Survey found that 74 percent of pre-retired women and 65 percent of pre-retired men felt “enthusiastic” about retirement.
4. It’s mostly about the money. A recent study by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-winning behavioral economist, found that an income of above $75,000 a year, peoples’ feelings of day-to-day emotional well-being leveled off. The old adage about money not buying happiness is true… after you’ve reached an income of $75,000, that is. When Ameriprise asked people what was important to them in retirement, the top answers included deciding where to live, traveling, staying healthy, having meaningful or satisfying work and deciding what hobbies to pursue.
5. People will continue in their present job for many additional years. A majority of survey respondents indicate that they plan to continue working, but the statistics tell a different story. Looking at people under 64 years of age who retired, only 28 percent planned to do so, but 61 percent actually did retire. And, it wasn’t because those who retired were getting huge buy-outs or a massive inheritance (source: 2010 Employee Benefits Research Institute). So, it’s always good to have a Plan B and explore alternative options.
6. Most people will work in retirement. The majority of boomers say they will do some kind of work after leaving a primary career. However, reality collides with expectations-although 70 percent of boomers say they want to work in retirement, only 23 percent actually do (source: 2010 Employee Benefits Research Institute). The top two reasons given by respondents for working are to stay mentally engaged and to earn money (source: 2010 Sun Life Financial study). If you’re not able to find a job in retirement, it makes sense to plan for a retirement that costs less and that gives you something to wake up for each day.
7. Men and women have similar goals. Both females and males rank travel near the top of their list of things to do when they retire. Yet, among couples, communication and planning are poor-for example, Fidelity Investments found that fewer than 50 percent of those polled agreed whether or not to try and work in retirement, only 15 percent felt the person who normally didn’t handle the finances could do so effectively if necessary and only 60 percent of couples agree on when they should retire. In fact, illness, a significant birthday, a layoff or a spouse’s retirement are common retirement triggers. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to plan ahead?
8. There’s no place like home. It’s frequently reported that people wish to “age in place.” True, but many of those who are surveyed are people who are 65 or older and have already relocated to a place where they now wish to stay. For example, Kevin (60) and Kathy C. (57) relocated to a master-planned community with tons of amenities, lots of social support, a favorable climate and proximity to good medical care and airports. Yes, they want to “age in place,” but the phrase is misleading, usually stated as though most people have lived for decades in the same home.
9. Playing it safe is good. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” “When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” These wise quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt and H. Jackson Brown, Jr. are supported by research. Neuroscientists have found that novelty and new experiences activate a number of brain systems and signal brain cells to grow and produce new connections. Let’s face it-the death rate is one per person, and today is the youngest you’ll ever be. Shouldn’t we make the most of our time?
10. There is no one-stop shopping for all my personal retirement needs. No longer true. How would you like to find out more about an innovative program that is effortless, fun, individualized and lets experts do the work to make your retirement the best and most satisfying it can be? Where you can “test-drive” your retirement at various desirable locations and address your retirement questions and concerns? If this is something that interests you, sign up for the free seminar, “Retirement Solutions for Changing Times” at www.livesouthshows.com/wisdom. Space is limited, so register now to ensure your spot.
Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life; her new book about single women and retirement will be published in Fall 2011.
Wouldn’t It Be Great If I Could:
• Save a great deal of time and money choosing my ideal retirement location.
• Benefit from an expert guide to assist me through this journey called retirement.
• Test-drive possible retirement locations in amenity-filled communities.
• Transition to a satisfying retirement through a fun and educational experience.
• Enjoy one-stop shopping for all my retirement needs-relocation, travel, finances, volunteering, life-long learning, working and health.
Well, you can!
Go to www.livesouthshows.com/wisdom and sign up for the ‘edutaining’ free seminar: Retirement Solutions for Changing Times. Spaces are limited, so reserve your place right away.