If you heard that the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) did extensive research in their AgeLab and came up with three questions to predict the quality of your retirement life, what do you think the three questions would be? It would seem that the questions would be extremely complex and daunting. However, the questions are actually very simple yet insightful.
Research has shown that most people fear outliving their money. However, there are other risks that are more likely to happen and are often overlooked. As you read through each question, answer each one for yourself, or one you love, and see how prepared you are for retirement.
1. Who will change my light bulbs?
The answer seems simple: “I will.” This is typically true in your early retirement years. However, what happens as age starts to creep up on you and you start to lose your mobility?
Would you really want your 90 year old mother climbing a ladder, even if she is in good health? As you age you should create a plan for when you are no longer able to do everything on your own. Will you have a child or grandchild live close by and help with odds and ends?
Or will you move into a retirement community with a handyman? Changing light bulbs “is more than an issue of long-term home maintenance. It is a question that asks, ‘Do I have a plan of how to maintain my home.’”1
2. How will I get an ice cream cone?
On a hot summer night, when something cool and refreshing would hit the spot, will you be able to drive to your favorite creamery for a tasty treat? Even if you are lactose intolerant, or one of the rare few that just don’t like ice cream, you can still ponder your ability to routinely access the small things that bring a smile to your face. Will you have adequate transportation to maintain your independence?
If you can no longer drive, do you have alternative ways that enable you to make the trips you want—not just those you need? Will you physically be able to travel to the far away destinations you have dreamed about?
Create a plan that will allow you to participate in the activities that you enjoy and that keep you engaged with life.
3. Who will I have lunch with?
When you think about having lunch with friends or your significant other, you picture a good restaurant with good food, but more importantly good friendships that bring joy and happiness into your life. Lunch is about relationships.
Life is about relationships. Baby boomers are facing a different retirement than their parents. They are more likely to live alone, have fewer children, and live in suburban or rural areas without active livable communities.2 Today, “more than 40% of women over 65 years old live alone.”3
Planning where to retire may be as important as how much it will cost. A home in the mountains may be picturesque, but it may not be an ideal spot to retire unless you will have a network of people you can depend on. Find a community where you will have activities and people that will keep you engaged, active, and having fun.
As you can see, planning for retirement is so much more than just making sure you have enough money. If you have concrete answers to all three of these questions, you are well on your way to a happier, more comfortable retirement.
If answers are hard to come by, then take some time to ponder these questions and talk them over with your significant other, family, or friends. Making your retirement enjoyable is all about independence, freedom, and living life to its fullest. Whether you know the answers to these three questions or not, come and talk to us and we can help make your retirement fulfilling.
1. MIT AgeLab: Three Questions that can predict future quality of life.
2. MIT AgeLab: Three Questions that can predict future quality of life.
3. MIT AgeLab: Three Questions that can predict future quality of life.