Retirement: The Dream vs The Reality

Throughout the course of a few years, I have noticed that many people have an interesting perception of what retirement is like. In fact, if I go back to when I was younger, I also had a certain expectation from my years in retirement. However, it is only when you enter the retirement lifestyle you realize just how different the reality can be from the dream of retirement.

  • The dream is that every single day, there will be an exciting adventure that you can embark upon. You can learn and experience new things that you would not have had the time for otherwise.

The reality is that initially, you can experience that sense of excitement. Everyday brings about possibilities for something new and exciting. However, after a few months pass by, you tend to get bored. We are used to living a fast paced life where we juggle various responsibilities all at once. Having so much spare time can be overwhelming since you tend to run out of activities to do –due to factors like age, finance, desire and lack of will.

  • The dream is that not having to wake up early in the morning to work will be a luxurious experience. The dread that you feel when the alarm clock ticks off at 7 o’clock in the morning will no longer be felt in the years of retirement.

The reality is that, as mentioned above, we are used to a fast paced, structured lifestyle. HSBC reported that almost 64 percent of retirees wished that they could have worked a job for a little while longer. There is something comforting about a routine to follow it gives you a sense of purpose.

  • The dream is that you will be able to pursue any activity you wish like. There will be no limiting factor, especially monetarily, because of all the preparations you have made for retirement before.

The reality is that the amount of finance at your disposal will be a major limiting factor when it comes to things you want to do. Even though we all have retirement pans when we are employed, it may not prove to be enough to maintain the same lifestyle as before. The loss of a steady income can force you to make tough decisions so that you can live comfortably.

  • The dream is that expenses in retirement will reduce dramatically. The expectation is that there will be little to spend on because things like mortgages will be paid off and transport costs will reduce.

The reality is that once you have retired, the costs seem to add up. This is especially true because you also do not receive a monthly salary through which you can just replenish your finances. You will be spending much more than you are generating. In addition to this, since more than 45 percent of retirees financially support their immediate family, this is another financial burden which may impinge upon your “dream” retirement.

Why I Refuse To Give Cash As Birthday Presents For The Grandchildren

There are many out there who believe that giving cash as a birthday present to their grandchildren is the best solution as they can buy exactly what they want. They argue that cash is something that every child can use, thus eliminating the idea of buying them the “wrong” present .

Even though there are merits to this argument, I feel that giving grandchildren an actual present is much more thoughtful than merely giving them cash. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be true and why I completely refuse to give my grandchildren cash for their birthday.

One of the main reasons why I opt for giving a present is because of the sentiment of picking something personal. Giving someone a gift entails that they put in thought into getting the perfect item for you. It displays a sense of affection and appreciation since the child will feel like they, and their personality, are valued. There is nothing better than the smile they give you when you give them something they really appreciate.

Presents are also a way through which you can encourage learning. Especially for younger children, you can give them presents that enhance their intellectual capabilities. You can even help them hone their interests and expertise through specific gifts. For instance, lots of toys for younger children come with learning benefits.

Moreover giving a present means you have taken the time to consider what the person who is receiving the gift actually wants. It does not have to be the most extravagant item or even the trendiest, it just has to be something that the grandchild will appreciate, like and use as much as possible.

Lastly, when you give cash to your grandchild, you are encouraging an unhealthy habit. They may start to always expect cash as presents, and even worse, start to expect a certain amount of money each time its their birthday. It also really does not help them appreciate the value of money if it is just given to them everytime its their birthday or at Christmas. Far better for them to earn money, by doing odd jobs round the house such as washing the car for example.

5 Ways to Save Money Once You Retire

Retiring seems like the time when all of our work pays off. I certainly looked forward to a time of pure relaxation after giving it all in the prime years of my life. We spend most of our active years working away in our respective fields. We put in the blood, sweat and effort required to make a living for ourselves and our children. Retirement should be a time when we are pampered; a time when we should worry about nothing else but our wellbeing.
The reality of it is that you will experience a loss of a steady income –something you relied on heavily before. With no money coming in, you have to figure out a way to save money so that you can maintain your lifestyle and pursue any activity you wish. While this process can seem hard, I have compiled a list of ways you can save money once you retire.

  1. Prioritize
    The one thing that will massively benefit you is the concept of prioritization. Evaluate what your needs are and adjust your spending accordingly. More often than not, you will find that it will lead you to managing to save more money for the things that matter in life.
    For instance, something as trivial as an internet connection can be the most important expense as it allows you to remain connected with your family, listen to music, read books as well as watching films and TV via streaming. Its multifaceted nature is what makes it a worthy investment.
  2. Sell Stuff Online
    As well as saving money you also have the option to generate additional income. This could be done in a multitude of ways, the most common being getting a part time job. However, that is something most people are not inclined to do since they want a break from working. So instead, why not try and create some extra cash by selling unwanted items on sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree?
  3. Relocate / downsize
    It is natural for us to want to retire in a house we have lived in for most of our lives as its the place where most of memorable moments occurred. However, you may not need the same amount of space you once did, but still be paying the same amount out each month you were when you had the whole family living at home. If this is the case you could decide to downsize to reduce your monthly outgoings as well as taking some of the equity out of your property at the same time.
  4. Use one car
    If you have a partner or spouse and you both drive, you will likely both have your own car. Whilst this may provide you both with a level of independence, it doesn’t always make financial sense. So if you can afford to from a practical and logistical point of view, sell one car and just share a car between you. This will save paying for insurance, tax and petrol twice.
  5. Invest
    Once you retire, don’t cash out all of the investments you made. It will be highly beneficial if you maintain the investment long term. So if you have shares or savings, try and keep the money invested. If you need to drawdown some funds, do it gradually rather than taking a big lump sum at the start of your retirement. However, if you do need to take a large sum out, use it for something else that can generate an income (such as a buy to let property), rather than spend it on luxury high ticket items that have no investment potential (such as holidays)