Retirement is what every working man and woman dreams of throughout their career. There are very few people who love their work so much that they wish to carry on after they reach the age of retirement. Most people spend years planning for the day they can enjoy their homes and travel at their leisure. Retirement is freedom.
However, how we retire depends largely on personality and good fortune. Today, it is important to plan well in advance for your retirement. This does not simply mean putting extra money aside for your pension pot but developing a clear plan of how you will spend your years in retirement.
The freedom of retirement
Today, improved health care means that we are all living longer. Not only has our life expectancy increased but also the quality of life in older age.
Retirement is a time of freedom for many people. Couples who have worked their entire lives tend to build up a large investment during their 50s and early 60s. Mortgages are usually paid off (although this is unfortunately changing today) and children have left home. During the last decade before retirement, money seems to be available in relative abundance.
Many pensioners spend much of their early retirement visiting new places and traveling to countries that they had only previously dreamed of. One of the most popular ways to travel is by cruise liner. With its grand restaurants, luxurious apartments and thriving social scene, cruise liners are the perfect way to explore the world. Cruises carry passengers to every corner of the world and some of the most popular destinations are in Europe, South America, India, the Far East and Africa.
One of the greatest advantages of retirement is that you are not restricted in any way to the time that you can travel. This allows you to take vacations out of season when prices are much lower. Many companies offer enticing discounts to pensioners.
There is not really a “best” place to visit on retirement. Every journey is personal. Some people wish to explore places they first learned about in school, others visit counties that are steeped in history such as Italy, England and France. Some people just wish to travel the world, to take in every major sight from the Great Wall of China to the Galapagos Islands, from the Nile to the Highlands of Scotland.
The day you retire is a great time to write a bucket list of places to visit.
Where to settle
Of course, retirement is not just one long vacation, and although our health is improving to allow us to live longer and more active lives, there always comes a time when a little more comfort and support is required.
Although many people at first do not find the idea of a retirement home appealing, it is actually a great option for those who are very social and love adventure. Good retirement homes provide many opportunities for their residents to socialize with others – group dinners, regular talks, shows, parties and games are commonplace. Some homes arrange regular day trips so that people can get out into town or to the coast for some relaxation and fun.
This may all sound overly idyllic at the moment, but the unfortunate truth is that a majority of elderly people become lonely and isolated in their old age. When a partner of many years dies and the children move away, elderly people can often go weeks without really speaking to anybody.
Retirement homes provide an environment where people can meet and form new friendships. Some are more like college campuses, with an emphasis on group activities and fun, with all the conveniences that you require, such as cafes, stores and banks.
The most luxurious retirement homes, such as Fox Hill in Bethesda, have fine dining, spas, swimming pools, live music and games rooms. Fox Hill caters for those who wish to continue with their hobbies; it has a woodworking shop, recording studio and artist studio.
Such homes are designed to make retirement fun and relaxing, to take away stress, worry and doubt. Many elderly people worry over home repairs, bills and general maintenance, but at a retirement home all of these are taken care of. Residents only need to worry about where the next activity is being held or when the evening entertainment commences.
Retirement really is a chance for adventure, a time to discover new places, visit the destinations you have spent your life only reading about and a time to build new friendships and pursue old hobbies. Ultimately a happy retirement is a safe and secure one where you are well catered for and cared for.