Retirement, Finances, and Social Security –

Caution - Retirement AheadThere was a recent report that 20% of Americans, aged 50, have less than $1,000 saved for their retirement. They are paying their bills, but they are not able to sufficiently save for the next chapter of their life. There was also a report that the average 65 year old couple has a net worth of less than $60,000 with expected life time medical expenses of over $250,000. Clearly, the financial figures are not presenting a life style that would qualify for anyone’s description of “golden years”. So, how are people trying to cope with this financial predicament? This article highlights that more and more people are relying on social security income as their primary source of income for retirement, supplementing their social security income by additional paychecks: e.g., they are forced to keep working well past their parents retirement age. In this next article the author highlights the obvious: retirement today is much much more challenging than it was for our parents. Our savings have been less; our social security income and other benefits are stretched thin; and we have rising costs with a lower standard of living. In summary, many of us are facing a massive financial challenge for retirement; and many of us will need to work into our retirement years, changing our retirement to a form of partial retirement. As difficult as this financial challenge appears, there are other solutions to make our retirement years far better than currently expected. Ironically, the solutions to involve better finances. They involve creating a better life. That goal can be accomplished by redesigning yourself, your relationships, and your life, including your compass and your clock.

 

Resetting Our Compass and Our Clock –

Education concept: Think Different on Paper backgroundIn the last blog on Monday 8/18/14 I highlighted two specific secrets for increasing your happiness in your retirement. With this Friday Finds blog I want to address two broad issues, not the prior specific issues. (See those in the prior blog.)  Clearly, if you are going to base your retirement happiness on your finances, you have a problem. So, I encourage you to shift your compass. Shift the direction of your focus and the direction of your life away from the finances. Focus less on the bills and focus more on the relationships in your life – the real wealth of your estate. As explained in previous blog, happiness and money (when compared) do not represent a straight upward line. More money often does not equate to more happiness. The reverse is also true. Some people, still struggling with bills and continued part-time work, are happier than wealthier people who are fully retired. If you doubt that statement, just read the tabloids about the rich and famous. The news is not that good. So, for you, I encourage you to look at the real sources of happiness – your connections with your spouse, your children, your friends, and your working cohorts. With those personal connections, I also recommend that you glance at my blog on the lessons learned from the death of Robin Williams — and the role of giving / contributing in establishing a sense of satisfaction and happiness. For the second broad issue, I encourage you to also look at your compass and your use of time. Time can be expanded, and the passage of time can be slowed. It’s a winning formula. You just need to develop the right habits. Those habits will be addressed in some upcoming blogs.