Saturday, March 7, 2009

Think About What You Want To Do When You Retire

Tip #85 – Think About What You Want To Do When You Retire. When you are young, people ask all the time what you want to be when you grow up. Some children have known since the time they were five years old that they want to be a doctor or a teacher. Others have no idea. But people still always ask. When you are an adult, however, no one asks you what you want to do when you retire until you are almost at retirement age. And I’m sure at age twenty, most of us probably don’t know what we want to do. But then again, I’m sure there are some who know they want to buy a boat and sail around the world or others who are sure they’d be happy piddling in the garden at a home in the country when they are old and gray.

So why not think about what it is you want to do? No one will hold you to it. In fact, your ideas may change five or 10 times before you actually retire. But it doesn’t hurt to at least consider some ideas. And thinking about what you want to do or where you want to live may actually help you figure out how much you need to save for retirement. If you are sure you want to move to the South from the Northeast US, chances are your cost of living will go down. Knowing you might want to travel around the world but still keep a home in the pricey West Coast, however, will cost you a lot.

Some people think that retirement is just something to do far off in the future when you are old. However, even if retirement is years away, it is still best to have a plan - even if it is just a general idea of your likes and dislikes. Besides, most of us hope our retirement will be interesting and rewarding, so it might be fun to consider all of the possibilities. Why not try to figure out what types of things you think you'd like to do in retirement?

In Real Life (IRL) – As my parents were nearing retirement age, they knew they wanted to retire to Florida. They both had grown up in New York but had moved away when my dad took a job in Pennsylvania when he was 30. They kept in touch with their New York friends and relatives, however, and most of them seemed to be headed to the East Coast of Florida for retirement –some for year-round living and some as “snowbirds” (spending only the winters in Florida). For good or bad, many parts of South Florida are just transplanted New Yorkers. So my parents figured they’d do the same. “What’s not to like?” they thought. The weather’s warm, the pickles are sour, and there are bagel places on every corner. Plus the real estate is cheap.

So at the ripe old age of 60 my parents bought a condo in South Florida and started spending their winters in the sun. The whole culture there is unlike any other – the combination of New Yorkers, old people, and many Jews (and Italians and Cubans…) is nothing like you’ve ever seen. So much so that when I was home with my first newborn 7 years ago, I decided to write a humorous account of what my parents’ lives are like in a retirement community in “G-d’s Waiting Room.” I decided to share that story in a new blog that I just started here. The full story is already written to the tune of about 11 chapters, but I figured I’d add a little bit each day to the blog for those of you who want to read it. So please head on over and let me know what you think. It might just make you want to retire to Florida, too (or maybe not).


Anonymous said...

The word GOD has an "o" in it, not a dash. If you don't believe in Him, or feel like you are going to offend someone, then you shouldn't be using His name in your blog.

Michele said...

Anonymous, FYI, in the Jewish religion, we are taught to write out G-d's name with a dash so as to not deface His Name if we were to write it out fully and throw away the paper it is written on. I explained this in an earlier post because this practice is not known by some people. Thanks for your interest.