Questions to Ask If You’re Thinking About Retirement

Making the decision to retire is not always an easy one, and many factors, including health, lifestyle, family concerns, and finances all need consideration. In the last half of 2020, more people retired than was expected due to the pandemic-fueled downturn in the economy. Not everyone was able to take the time to think carefully about this important event. If you have the luxury of planning ahead, spend some time answering these questions by yourself or with loved ones.

What does retirement look like to you?

Retirement is an important life transition, so it is a good time to evaluate what it is that you want going forward. Your very first question might be “what does retirement look like to me?” Are you hoping to spend more time with family? Do you expect to travel? Are you planning to move?

If you are shifting from a full-time career to not working at all, it will also be important to think about the kinds of activities you want to participate in to keep your mind focused and your body strong. Fortunately, even during the pandemic there are scores of resources for classes and programs that you can attend online. Check your local senior centers and community colleges for free and inexpensive options to learn something new. Give yourself some freedom to explore.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Another thoughtful question from the U.S. News article linked above, is “how do you want to be remembered?” Giving thought to the legacy you want to leave behind will likely lead you to what you value most and help you set goals and priorities. Maybe you will volunteer, or write a memoir, teach your grandchildren to bake, or climb that mountain you’ve been thinking about for years. Whatever you set your sights on, take your time, and let it evolve into what it is you truly enjoy.

Retiring can also bring many health benefits such as a reduction in stress and having the time to eat well and exercise. In the words of an ancient Roman poet, “Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings.” If taking care of yourself hasn’t been a priority for awhile, making even small changes to your lifestyle, such as cooking at home more or walking each day, can bring you lasting results.

Prioritizing your health and contemplating what a life in retirement might look like for you can start anytime. The more you can plan ahead for this important life change, the more you can simplify some of the other decisions you will have to make along the way, regarding finances and retirement housing options. Exploring these questions can get you off to a good start.

Follow this blog for more information on planning for retirement in 2021.

Preparing to Downsize

Preparing to Downsize

At a certain point, because of retirement, health issues, or lifestyle preferences, many seniors consider downsizing their home. Sometimes, it is loved ones who initiate a conversation because of concerns for older adults’ safety or financial health. Being aware of the challenges you may face with this important decision can help you prepare for downsizing smoothly.

You’re Not Alone

Nearly 4 out of 10 retirees move, and just over half of those numbers are downsizing. Downsizing, even for positive reasons like moving to be closer to family, can be difficult because it represents how are lives are contracting, according to Gary W. Small, founding director of the University of California at Los Angeles Memory Clinic and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Most of our lives we are building and growing, and downsizing represents a reversal of this trend.

Moving, as most of us know, can be stressful. For seniors who have spent a lifetime in one place, the emotional and physical stress of downsizing can be overwhelming. Besides having to make decisions about what to keep, what to give to family members, what to donate, and what to throw out, we have to process the emotions of attachment we have to our homes, our stuff, our loved ones, and possibly, our independence.

Downsizing can be less stressful with preparation. It is important to focus on the positive aspects of the change, and to get help navigating the more difficult parts of this transition.

Find A Good Reason

Graying With Grace is a website dedicated to “seniors, the elderly, and those who love them.”  The author identifies 5 steps for planning a downsizing move, starting with a conversation about the benefits of downsizing. For instance, we could have more time available to do things we love if repair and maintenance issues are minimized in a smaller space. Identifying positive reasons for the change helps us set a goal for success and provides the motivation to begin.

It is also important to note that downsizing takes time, both for the physical aspects of sorting and packing a household and for negotiating the many feelings that result when we go through our belongings. One suggestion from the AARP is to start in a spare room or perhaps an office, a space that has the least number of important memories. Starting small helps us build resilience so we are more prepared for tackling places like the kitchen where many family memories live.

Find Some Help

Tackle decluttering with a friend or family member. They can provide a listening ear as you sort through your feelings. They can also be objective and help you stay focused on the task at hand. When you come across items that you don’t know what to do with, or what their value might be, both the AARP and Graying With Grace agree that trusted professionals like appraisers, movers, and organizers can provide useful insight to save you both time and energy.

Find the Right Professional

When you search for your local professionals, seek out those with positive reviews and testimonials.. Find those who are not only knowledgeable and efficient, but who treat their customers with respect. Queen B Organizing has successfully assisted clients with downsizing for the last 10 years.  A recent client had this to say:

“There is a great deal of emotion that goes with emptying and selling a family home of so many years. Queen B Organizing really made a challenging task survivable. And they did it with respect and consideration. I recommend them without reservation.”

Queen B Organizing can help you prepare for the challenges of downsizing your home so that you can focus on the people, places, and things you enjoy. Consider calling us at (541) 231-6964 to plan for the move ahead.