First Person: I Want a Simple Retirement

Yahoo Contributor Network

What is it with retirement worries in America? It seems as if people spend their entire lives worrying about a time period that has a great deal of uncertainty in terms of finances, health and lifestyle. Obviously it makes sense to think about the future and put together some sort of realistic plan. However, I refuse to stress too much much about retirement. After all, the more that I feel stress, the less years I will probably have in retirement. For me, a simple retirement would be just fine.

Enough to live on

It is probably not uncommon for people to express a desire to have enough to live on in retirement. Obviously that is a fairly vague idea, as lifestyle expectations can be as varied as the individuals that ponder them. For me, enough to live on probably consists of groceries, household expenses and health care. I must admit that health care in the future does make me a bit nervous. However, I am at an age where health care could be extremely different by the time I retire. Therefore, it is not worth worrying about something that could be an entirely new environment.

A sense of purpose

What I do want in retirement is an ongoing sense of purpose. I think too many people see retirement as an opportunity to sit around and just relax. There is certainly something to that, and I would like to spend ample time with family and friends. Still, I would also like to volunteer quite a bit and pursue additional college degrees. If not degrees, I may just take ongoing classes at the local community college. Nothing says longevity like continued stimulation of your brain. It is less about having a lot of money and more about enjoying the simple pleasures of life. A local coffee shop and a good book may be just as satisfying as a dream home and a luxury vacation.

A few extras

Granted, it would be nice to have a few extras. Traveling a bit would certainly be enjoyable, though I do not have grand plans of circling the globe. Having enough money to visit family and go on a couple of trips would certainly suffice. The idea of a "bucket list" is fine for some, but I suspect that for many individuals the list ends up being a collection of regrets and unmet desires. There is more to life than one amazing experience after the next. Why not plan on simplifying in retirement and spending energy on other people?

Retirement might actually be more enjoyable.

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