Follow the Wonderful “Gold Brick Road” to More Retirement Resources
This blog-site will continuously explore new/better research on and suggestions for a happy, healthy, and meaningful transition to retirement. This month, it seems we hit the mother-lobe of recent discoveries for this journey… four more for the road! (To catch-up reading all the blogs for retirees, click on the category link “Retirement Resources” at the right.)
Probably one of the most insightful and expansive treasures of online articles on retirement is Stepping Into the Future – A Retirement Journal by Jean Potuchek, who defines herself as “a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching.” She succinctly states her purpose: “This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.”
Take a deep breath, find an easy chair, ignore your cell phone’s texts/calls, and plunge into her full website: https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/category/retirement-transition/. Or, if you prefer, set aside 30 minutes and read a few of her individual posts (below). I have just begun to “crack this nut” – her blog-site is more extensive than anything else I have found!
- Summer Holidays https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/summer-holidays/
- Retirement, Leisure and Quality of Life https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2016/02/25/retirement-leisure-and-quality-of-life/
- Taking Stock of Time https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/taking-stock-time/
- Taking Stock: Finances https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2016/01/03/taking-stock-finances/
- Not One Thing https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/not-one-thing/
- Productivity, Sociability, Relaxation https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/productivity-sociability-relaxation/
- Spontaneity and Singing https://stepintofuture.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/spontaneity-and-singing/
As a music educator, this last title peaked my interest. We urge every retiree to revisit their creativity roots and seek renewed opportunities to enjoy music as a lifelong pursuit. (We have already posted reprints of several of my articles on this subject from PMEA News, the state journal of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, including Sing Your Heart Out, Now and in Retirement and It’s Time to “Dust off Your Chops” (join a community band/orchestra).
Potuchek relates her rationale for a quest in more spontaneity in her retired life and participating in a “creative aging singing workshop” sponsored by the Portland Public Library:
I am never going to be a totally spontaneous free spirit; it’s just not in my character. I like structure, and I don’t see myself giving up scheduling as a way to structure my days and weeks. But as I get weekly practice in spontaneity, I am learning to loosen up and be more flexible with my schedules. My first spontaneous jump into a new activity has brought the joys of choral singing back into my life, introduced me to some new friends, and helped me to recover long-forgotten skills (like reading music). Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? For this old dog, retirement is proving to be a time of growth and learning. – Jean Potuchek
Top 55 Retirement Planning Websites
Generally, I am not much in favor of perusing commercial websites on planning for retirement, especially those by investment counselors, but Ernie Zelinski (author of bestsellers like How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free) sent me this link: http://goldretiree.com/retirement-planning. Zelinski’s own “Retirement Cafe” (http://www.retirement-cafe.com/) is the second website listed, and seems to archive the foundations of much of his subsequent writings. Here is his “10 Dumbest Retirement Moves.”
Purchasing a larger home than you need or than you can afford
Watching a lot of TV — more than an hour and a half a day is excessive!
Spending a lot of time shopping
Complaining about life
Being afraid to spend the kid’s inheritance
Being a miser with your money
Planning to work forever — something NOT advocated in The World’s Best Retirement Book.
Neglecting your health by not indulging in vigorous physical exercise every day
Not making new friendships and neglecting old friends
If you are concerned about your personal finances, investment, life styles, travel, or other issues in planning for your “golden years,” goldretiree.com may be valuable. Besides Zelinski’s site, I was taken with the following writers:
- Emily Brandon http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire
- Scott Spann http://retireplan.about.com/
- Dave Bernard http://lovebeingretired.com/
- Mike Piper http://www.obliviousinvestor.com/
- Barbara Torris http://www.retireinstyleblog.com/
The final entry at goldretiree.com, AARP is worth mentioning here (http://www.aarp.org/). I was one of those 40-something spouses who automatically became a member when his wife turned 50 and she joined; I was neither ready nor expecting it. However, the AARP magazine and online materials are excellent, and span topics about travel, health care and coping with aging, finance, dining and cooking, etc. plus special discounts and benefits.
If you like, the entire listing of retirement websites is provided at this link: GoldRetiree.com
In my last blog-post on retirement, “Three Exit Lanes to Retirement Self-Help Guides,” I briefly mentioned Stephen Price’s book “How to Survive Retirement: Reinventing Yourself for the Life You’ve Always Wanted.” No one resource has everything… but this book comes closest to covering the greatest variety of subjects, exploring such possibly mundane (?) topics of financial planning, making your home elder-friendly, and social security information, to riding the up-and-down emotions of “change” and retirement. The book’s table of contents is eclectic:
- Entering Retirement
- Discovering the New You
- The New Realities of Money
- Making a Move: Post-Retirement Relocating
- Do Unto Others: Opportunities to Volunteer
- Encore Employment, or Returning to Work
- Planning for a Healthy Retirement
Of special merit, Price shares 14 pages of ideas on volunteering, with a gang of valuable websites on which to follow-up… everything from animal shelters, museums, zoos, aquariums, and conservation groups to business mentoring, foster grand-parenting, senior companions, and child advocates.
The last full chapter, written by Laurence Burd, MD, starts with a quote by the late PA Senator Arlen Specter: “There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset,” and dives into the effects of aging and how to maintain good health throughout “our maturing years” (or second childhood?). I have never seen a manual for retirees that goes into such detail on these issues:
- Decline of Organ Performance and Function
- Wrinkles and Dry Skin
- Gray Hair
- Hearing Loss
- Decreased Vision
- Dental Problems
- Skeletal System
- Cardiovascular System
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Swelling of Ankles and Feet
- Urination Irregularities
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Memory Loss
- Help, I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up
- Depression and Anxiety
This is definitely a book worth buying, reading, and keeping!
Although a life of ease may have been your dream, retirement brings with it a host of questions, problems, and responsibilities that never occurred to you and may now seem insurmountable. How to Survive Retirement will help you plan for most any eventuality during the golden years. – Steven Price/back cover
Finally… The Ultimate Resource Guide/Bibliography
I tried to revise, assemble, and share in one place all of the retirement resources I have found. Click on this link to download the ultimate retiree resource guide 072216. You do not have to be a former music educator to use this reference list to gain a perspective on research and assistance to preparing and managing the life-changing adventure of retirement.
This document is my present to you. It cannot get much more comprehensive or convenient to find/use this collection of “sound advice” from advisors who themselves have successfully found happiness, good health, and real purpose in retirement life.
Updates to my presentation “Surviving and Reveling in Retirement” for the PMEA Summer 2016 Conference are posted on the PMEA retired members website: http://www.pmea.net/retired-members/. If you are music teacher retiree and taught or live in the state of Pennsylvania, we recommend joining PMEA to enjoy the numerous benefits of networking with fellow colleagues, reading publications, supporting music advocacy efforts, realizing ongoing professional and leadership development, and other programs. One advantage of being “senior citizens” is that our dues and conference registration fees are significantly reduced! For more information, please go to the PMEA website: http://www.pmea.net/membership-information/.
© 2016 Paul K. Fox