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Stewardship

Simple Living for Retirement

Retirement years often bring reduced income, energy, and strength. These 3 simple steps can help you prepare for them…

Retirement anymore seems just around the corner for us. Yikes! And because of certain life-style choices we’ve made, we’re starting to think they will be interesting years, to say the least. Not that we’ll be alone. It’s fairly common for folks to find themselves in reduced circumstances during retirement years. 

And not only with reduced income. Old age and retirement, which eventually arrive despite any efforts to avoid them, often bring many reductions. Reduced income, decreased energy and stamina, vanishing physical strength, and sometimes, declining health. So in light of all that, how can we best prepare?

Preparing for retirement

In our twenties and thirties most of us seldom think about retirement. Youth often believes itself to be invincible, thinking old age will never get the best of them! And then 50 comes with its aches and pains. Perhaps high blood pressure or other age-induced ailments. And all of a sudden you realize, “I’m getting old!”

Well, since there is no avoiding it (short of death, that is), what can we do about it? These thoughts run through my mind lately. Which by the way, runs slower than before too. Good thing too or I’d never manage to catch up to it! 😉

Still in our early 60s, I certainly don’t think hubby and I are ready to be put out to pasture yet! But we do wonder where our youth and vigor went, and how we’ll manage financially. Perhaps you do too, so here are three simple preparations most of us can make, regardless of current income.

3 simple ways to prepare for retirement:

1. Cut expenses now

Learn to live on less income by cutting expenses now. Many people focus on financial savings, IRAs, or investments. But since that takes money to start with, those have never been a viable option for us. So we’re learning to live frugally and debt-free now in order to put a bit aside and make retirement income stretch further. We also try to eat out less now – so that when income shrinks, we’ll already have broken that habit!

2. Downsize and declutter now

Simplify while you still have the energy, stamina, and strength to clear it all out! Because a smaller home with less stuff is much easier in so many ways! Less cleaning, dusting, and maintenance. Lower taxes, insurance, and energy costs.

Plus as we age it’s harder to keep up with everything. So aim for few things that are easy to clean, and easy-to-move furniture. Many of us already have a hard time keeping up with everything, and it only gets harder with aging!

3. Safeguard your health

Protecting our health is better than trying to reclaim it. So start protecting your health before you lose it. Get proper rest, physical activity, and eat healthily. Give the Mediterranean diet a try! These can make us feel better and keep excess weight off. Plus from everything I’ve read, living well in younger years means you’re more likely to be healthier even in old age!

Obviously we can’t prepare for everything. But I’m firmly convinced that these simple steps can help us deal with coming old-age reductions. And hopefully enable us to live our older years with greater joy, peace, and energy!

So don’t wait till the last minute. Start thinking and planning now, no matter how young you are. Aging is a certainty, and failing to plan for it is like leaving your umbrella at home, even when rain is certain. And then wondering why you got soaked! So prepare now, while you can!

What preparations are you making (or have you made) for retirement years? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

In fair weather, prepare for foul!

Thomas Fuller

Cottage| Living room | Ducks.

32 replies on “Simple Living for Retirement”

My pastor husband and I lived in church-owned parsonages all during his 40 years of ministry. That means at retirement we were buying our first house. It’s a small 1960s ranch, so if our knees and hips start to cause trouble, we won’t have to deal with stairs. (The laundry is in the basement, but if worse comes to worse, the washer and dryer can be moved upstairs into a closet.) We paid less than our budget actually allowed, knowing that extra space just seems to accumulate stuff (and takes longer to clean!) and “fancy” just isn’t necessary nor does it guarantee contentment. I love our little house and practically sigh with pleasure when I/we pull in the drive of this property God provided!

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Wow Nancy! Your story is so similar to ours. In our years as missionaries with no steady income no bank would give us a loan. And usually we had barely enough to pay the rent. So we also bought our first (small) home later; we were 50 & 51. And with only a 6-year affordable loan! I have the same feeling of contented awe when we walk into it. And even more so when we step into our lovely back garden. Awe over God providing when it seemed utterly impossible! And it gives us a place to park our bags while we take missionary trips – which should be increasing now that things seem to be opening up again! God is so good! So happy for God’s gift to you. May he grant you many more happy years there together!!

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Thanks, Nancy, we appreciate it. When we down for a long weekend at Easter, the folks were still wary of interaction because of the virus situation. Churches in the area were meeting, so we got to encourage the brethren – and should be able to do again this year too. But hopefully, as more and more people are vaccinated, the fear will start easing up too. It’s really hard to reach out when people are afraid to even come near!

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Great reminders, thank you! We are trying to make up for lost time in saving money, trying to get healthier and declutter our home so we have less stuff if the opportunity arises and we can downsize to reduce our expenses.

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Well TR, it does sneak up quicker than we could imagine. Not that I’m old (yet). I’ll be 60 this summer (yikes) so I figure I’m just older. But that retirement age does keep creeping closer and closer… You guys are smart to think and prepare now while you still have plenty of time to plan wisely!

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Seems to happen as time passes, doesn’t it? lol! Mario is hoping to work as long as possible. Because of our missionary status (no steady income or actual employer) we probably won’t have much of a pension. But we know we are in good hands. The Lord never fails, and we’ve practiced simple living a long time!! Hope you can make good plans now to make those later years better!

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Wise counsel! And you are right about retirement. Many people see retirement, Social Security, 401k funds, and pensions as the great provider instead of God Himself as the provider. Just one way we take the Lord out of the equation.

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LOL Wally, good to know we have company in our boat!! As missionaries (with no steady income or actual employer) our pension will be very low. We’re thinking we might want to plant a huge garden. At least then we’ll have food. And one major blessing is that over here our health care is free. We only pay for specialist visits and exams (very little), and over-the-counter meds. That helps a lot!! Thankfully, we know we can count on the Lord’s everlasting care!!

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Sheila, I retired a couple of years before I planned to when my employer closed the office and moved to another city. My husband had retired several years earlier. I remember telling my employer, “Well, I don’t know the plan, but I know the Planner!” God has provided everything we need and more. We live a simple life, live in the house we raised our sons in, and enjoy time with our family and friends. In fact, I didn’t realize this season in our lives would be this relaxed and enjoyable. But looking back, our Father has a way of sending abundant blessings in every season of our lives, doesn’t He? You are trusting the Lord, making wise choices, and looking forward as God leads. May you continue to be blessed as your days unfold.

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I’m so glad Doris that things worked out so well for you, and that you are finding joy and peace in your retirement years. That’s encouraging! And yes, the Lord does always provide – and give us goodness all through life. We hope and pray that by making good choices now – we will reap benefits later!

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You have good plans. I was thrust into retirement a few years earlier than I wanted for health reasons. The sudden change in income and activity wasn’t as dramatic as I feared but the house was a different story. You cannot downsize on the fly. Take time now to consider what you really need and start thinning. It will be time well spent.

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