The craziness of the past couple of years has gotten many individuals to reassess their future and even create alternate plans in some cases. Between the pandemic, inflation, the stock market decline, and the shortage of skilled workers, many people are rethinking their retirement.
While money and finances can be a driving force in making a decision, it shouldn’t be the only one. More importantly, any decision you make should be well thought out and made with the idea that you might even change your mind after a short time. Many people don’t realize that they have more control over the situation than they might think.
Reaching retirement age should be regarded as a gift and something to be truly grateful for. Over the past two years, the pandemic claimed over one million lives with many of them being older adults. We have all been reminded that life is short, and it is meant to be enjoyed as much as possible. Even with money growing tighter and our IRA accounts shrinking by the day, it’s not a time to panic or put our zest for life on hold. Just a few minutes of thought or research will reveal many ways that you can keep the bill collectors away from your door until the economy turns around (which it will).
If you think it’s just a short-term problem, like being a little “cash poor” until gas prices go down, you might consider looking through your “stuff” and having a yard sale. These are very popular, and some locales have two or three during a year. Many local communities designate a day or a weekend to maximize the traffic for such an event. They take care of publicizing the sale and it can attract a lot of shoppes, especially if the weather is nice. It can be a pleasant surprise to see what your treasures from the attic might bring in today’s market. If nothing else, it will probably be more fun than you think it will be and, the bottom line is that it will help you declutter your life.
If your current cash shortfall looks like it might be around for a while, you have two possible directions. The first is to cut expenses and the second is to increase your income. It can even be a combination of the two. With the labor shortage that every employer seems to be experiencing, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that suits you and keep in mind, you don’t have to rush into anything. If your place of residence is like ours, there are help wanted signs almost everywhere. If you have any interests such as gardening, boating, crafts, or golf, see if you can find something related to that area. For example, many golf courses have part time positions that will put a few dollars in your pocket and might even get you a discount on greens fees. Even if there are no positions right now, leave your name and ask them to contact you with any openings.
Of course, if you have specific skills like accounting or writing, there are places that would love to have a part time worker supplement their staff and, quite often, some of the tasks can be done working from home. Just being able to organize an office and establish a routine for efficiency is a skill some business owners just don’t have. If you have graphic design skills, there are many online opportunities that you might find interesting and lucrative. Don’t be afraid to explore the options. I have a friend who always wanted to be a writer. She has no trouble finding assignments writing online advertising or checking copy. If freelance writing was something you’ve always wanted to experiment with, try doing some searches on the internet to see what comes up. If you’re lucky you might find assignments within an area that has been of interest to you. Working within a field of expertise or related to a passion or hobby that you have will make the proposition of having to create extra income a lot more fun. There are quite a few people who have turned their hobbies into a source of income and have a great time doing it.
The main thing is to try to find a way to make it as enjoyable as possible. Although you could probably get a job tomorrow on the early morning shift at one of those fast-food chains, you should step back and just think if there might be a better way to solve your short-term cash crunch. The fact is that your retirement years should be enjoyed as much as possible. You’ve worked hard to get to this stage in your life. You should regard each day as a gift and savor life to the fullest.
James Conner is retired and lives in Athens, New York. He was a “prisoner” of Corporate America for forty years and is on a mission to bring a sense of fulfilment to everyone’s retirement. You can find out more at EnjoyRetiredLIfe.com.