Advice to My Newly Retired Mother

On: November 21, 2016

by Monica Paulino, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Operations

There are thousands of articles, books, and websites to help prepare you financially for retirement.  You can calculate how much you will need to live on, when to begin collecting social security, and how to downsize to minimize living expenses.  There is considerably less formulaic guidance to tell you what to DO when you actually reach that distant dream.  As someone who works with retired people every day, it amazes me how many people are at a loss when it comes to being retired…
Days that you thought would be filled with grand adventures tempered with siestas and happy hours are suddenly very busy with doctor appointments, phone calls to insurance companies, and obligatory babysitting, and next thing you know you’re counting the hours between Kelly Ripa and Jeopardy.

The formula for a SUCCESSFUL retirement is simple – every single month, without fail, try something new.  Here’s why:
1. The older we get, the smaller our world becomes – we go from Fitbits to the 12 steps between the kitchen and easy chair, reducing our strength and mobility and increasing risk for falls and disease
2. The older we get, the more risk averse we become – we go from running families and companies to never straying more than 10 minutes from a lavatory. We stop getting invited, we get depressed.
3. The older we get, the fewer people we have in our inner circle – we go from numerous work friends and parent friends to spouse and family, to Kelly Ripa and the mailman… we get lonely.  A simple Google search about loneliness and self-isolation in seniors will show you a world of illness that no amount of financial planning will prepare you for.

By committing to and scheduling something new every single month starting the month you retire – you develop the skills and reserves needed to continue a vibrant life while it is still second nature to try new things.

We are blessed in Chester County to have so many opportunities to try new things…. senior friendly classes at the Y and other fitness facilities, small private fitness studios, cooking classes at adult schools and Wegmans, volunteering at the Historical Society, or any of the wonderful daycares, theaters, or other non-profits in the area. Go to church and stay for coffee hour- and join a group.  Do something -and no problem if you hate it! You will have a chance to try something new next month.