We are in the middle of a short mini-series called, “Navigating Well through the Transitions of Adulthood.”
Many of you have mentioned challenges you are facing right now. I won’t be able to cover all transition areas in this short series, but I’d like to highlight a few:
Week One – Navigating into and through the Teen Years
On Week Two – Navigating into and through the Empty Nest
Week Three – Navigating into and through Retirement
According to Dictionary.com, retirement is:
The act of leaving one’s job, career, or occupation permanently, usually because of age.”
For some folks, retirement is a dream come true. It’s truly the best time of their lives.
For others, it is so hard. It’s like being put out to pasture to grow old. It’s lonely, painful, and the worst time of their lives.
Today, we are going to hear from several retirees to discover their thoughts and insights about retirement.
I believe some of their ideas will help you and me to navigate better into and through retirement.
Because one day… we all will be there!
Question One: What (if anything) has been sweet about navigating into Retirement?
“First of all, I was able to start spending quality and relaxed time with Debbie. Secondly, I had time to start serving the Lord in new and exciting ways. Writing books, creating and distributing devotionals, and spending more relaxed time preparing to teach Sunday School.” (Don Woodruff)
“Finding God faithful in every season of life, enjoying our time together, freedom to take day trips or an overnight ‘get-away’ during the week, serving together during the week in a mercy ministry in our community, serving together in our church, more time for prayer and Bible study.” (Debbie Settle)
“The best part is time to squander. Reading til I fall asleep if it’s 2:00 in the morning is wonderful. After years of getting to the school-house by 7:30, it is just plain fun to sleep til I wake up.” (Elsie Redd)
A few others I got who wish to remain anonymous:
“We love the freedom to get up and go. We can travel, go visit our kids, or head out on an adventure all by ourselves.” (A friend)
“To be able to serve, give, take mission trips, and go where there is a need – this is one of the greatest gifts of retirement for us.” (A friend)
Question Two: What (if anything) has challenged you about Retirement?
“The greatest challenge for me was changing my routines without having feelings of guilt. I felt like I needed to be doing something. The other challenge was adjusting to not seeing and commiserating with my coworkers. I started looking for things to do….built three pantries for Debbie, reorganized my workshop and started doing yard work. Later, I ‘learned’ how to pre-wash and load the dishwasher.” (Don Woodruff)
“Thinking through financial implications of a reduction in our income in balance with the blessing of lower expenses from no longer commuting each day, lunches out, wardrobe and cleaners cost. Also, factoring the new income into giving decisions and mission support. (It is more ‘fun’ to give freely…but the new income requires more prayer and dependence on the Lord’s direction.)
I had to adjust to factoring David’s plans into my plans for the day. We have to guard our time and commitments. The prevailing thought of others is to assume we are available since we are retired. We have to protect our calendar together and remember that every ‘yes’ is a ‘no’ to something else. Our commitment to caring for David’s dad and for being available for our children and grandchildren has to be calendared as our first priority.” (Debbie Settle)
“Losing friends! So many that I now have many more ‘contacts’ in Heaven than on earth. Also so many have left their homes and are in care facilities. Their mobility is so limited that our activities together are almost nil.” (Elsie Redd)
A Possible Solution:
If you are of retirement age and own your own home you may qualify for a special type of home mortgage agreement. It is called a reverse mortgage, and it will allow you to spend a portion of your home’s total worth on retirement expenses. You will be given ongoing cash payments from your reverse mortgage lender while still remaining in your home for as long as you would like.
However, the home must be your main residence. You cannot take out such a loan on a vacation home or a home you rent to other people, even if those people are relatives. If you pass away or choose to no longer live in the home while the loan agreement is still in place the property may be sold and the lender may keep an amount up to what you still owe at that time. However, if any remaining balance exists it will be erased at that point.
A few other advisors who wish to remain anonymous:
“It’s been such a hard time for us. The spotlight has been turned off in our lives, and we feel so un – unneeded, unnecessary, and uninvited. It’s really been a difficult transition.” (A friend)
“I especially worry about my husband. He’s so bored. He needs some hobbies, some activities, and more to do. He’s growing rather depressed because he really doesn’t know how to spend his time now that he is retired.” (A friend)
Question Three: What advice do you have for others who are heading into Retirement or new to it?
“Plan ahead. Find some projects to start as soon as you retire. Realize that life around the home will be different. Include plans to help around the house. Find reasons for leaving the home frequently in the early stages because your spouse is having to adjust to your being there. Doesn’t mean she isn’t glad but is a transition time for her as well. Pray about how you can serve the Lord in new ways.” (Don Woodruff)
“Think through financial implications of retirement and get out of debt! Begin living below your means with lots of margin. Cultivate shared interests and avoid living separate lives. Learn to “play” together so that the extra time in retirement is a blessing. Have fun together planning a big trip. Remember, there is joy in the journey!” (Debbie Settle)
“I find constant giving thanks for God’s presence and unrelenting provision throughout my life is my key to joy. We have been so blessed with great Christian parents, spouses, and children and grandchildren that I am convinced that if we are unhappy, we are DUMB!” (Elsie Redd)
More Retirement Advice:
Don’t compare with others – the haves and have-nots, consequences of various sins, physical strength, stamina, or fading beauty. (2 Corinthians 10:12)
In addition, be content with what you have or do not have and with where you are in life. (Philippians 4:11, I Timothy 6:8, Hebrews 13:5)
Also, be ready to “fill in the gaps” of your children’s faith –Listen and pray. Don’t give counsel or advice unless asked. Love them as they are and enjoy where they are in life. (I Thessalonians 3:10)
Be strong and be tough on yourself. Make yourself get up and do the things you don’t want to do – put on makeup- get out – go to church, fellowships, parties, the mall. Make yourself “Do the next thing.” (Joshua 1:9)
Additional Great Advice:
Indeed, be careful to take care of yourself, eat healthy, and exercise. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Keep your spiritual disciplines and build new ones. Spend time daily in the Bible and in prayer. (Joshua 1:7-8)
(All of the above suggestions are all from Barbara Gillentine.)
Thank you, friends, for sharing a bit of your life situation and your story with us today.
Further, we really appreciate you and your words of comfort, advice, and encouragement!
A very special thanks to these friends for their contributions today: Don & Debbie Woodruff, David & Debbie Settle, Barbara Gillentine, and Elsie Redd.
(Thanks to those who shared their thoughts quietly as well.)
For a little extra encouragement, I’ve shared a few book ideas below. These books came highly recommended by my retiree friends.
Were you encouraged today?
And, would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?
Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?
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