It’s probably one of humanity’s survival mechanisms that young people rarely think of growing old and in fact tend to believe that they’re immortal. But old age does creep up like a thief in the night and take you completely by surprise. In your head you may still feel young and sprightly but the truth is that you’re forced by your body to start seriously considering tedious things like health care and perhaps wheelchair mobility or other issues.
Time speeds up, or at least it seems to, as retirement looms and you have to start doing some hard thinking about the likes of savings, planning and investments in preparation for the inevitable day when you finally finish working and the regular income stops. How are you going to manage financially?
Retirement of course means that the drudgery stops and that when you wake up in the morning you’re at last free to do whatever you like for a change, without having to worry about getting into the office. Unfortunately, it also means that your income will plummet, but you’ll still have to pay those bills.
According to the research, old age and retirement very often take us by surprise, and many of us when it happens are unable to pay for the basic needs, quite apart from regular holidays in the Mediterranean. Many people over the age of 65 can’t afford proper food, never mind sangria, and are living way below the official poverty level. Transportation, food, healthcare, rent and other matters become real problems for them.
Most people can expect nowadays to live well into their eighties or beyond, but they don’t start actually thinking of themselves as being old until the serious aches and pains start. Because of this, many haven’t bothered investing or enrolling on healthcare programs and by the time the problems start it’s usually too late to do anything about it. Those of us blessed with the natural forward planning capabilities of a CFO will probably have sorted things out well in advance, but the rest of us do tend to take things on the fly, unfortunately.
Although retirement is often mentioned in the same breath as getting old, and as a result the automatic attitude is that once we reach retirement age we are constitutionally no longer capable of working, this is in fact not the case. Many retirees relish the freedom to start up a home business for example, and experience a new lease of life as a result. Continuing to work and generate an income, perhaps on a part-time basis, is also an option you can consider, both to help things along and to stay physically and mentally active after retiring.