Retirement Planning Tips

February 2nd, 2012 admin No comments

Alright, so you have already reached plus 60 and you still have no idea or image of a life after retirement! Well, that is not good. You need to take serious considerations for retirement, as you once did, before starting a career. Isn’t life all about living comfortably and happily?

A retirement can make your post – job life, either very leisurely or very problematic, which totally depends on the way you have planned things for yourself. So if you haven’t planned anything yet, it’s time you start doing it, and if you have some ideas in your mind, then you can incorporate our ideas into yours, and plan for a hassle free, comfortable and independent post – retirement age.

Some retirement planning tips to be considered are:

1. The first and most important tip would be, “save”. Yes this is the word you need to keep in mind for a comfortable old age. Start saving from a younger age, so that by retirement, you won’t have any issues.

2. Investing is another good option, on that note. Your money is saved in a very productive way by proper and reliable investments.

3. It is very important to keep a track on what you require in life, what is your lifestyle that you would want to maintain or how much you will need to spend on that. All these need to be taken into account for your retirement planning.

4. Cooperate with your employer if they have Retirement Savings Plan for you all. This is something for your benefit itself, and indeed a best kind of saving which will make your future secure. You get various benefits from this plan, like tax deductions, equal contribution from employers and so on.

5. A Retirement Savings Plan, that a company’s offering, is a serious matter, and you need to make sure if it is benefiting you in all the measures. Get complete information about these plans, before consenting to them.

6. Lot of Social Security Plans are available for elderly people. You can check them out and calculate the amount of benefit that these organizations can provide.

7. You can set an age bar for yourself to work and retire, that will give your planning a perfect finishing, for say, how much and for how long you need to save , while you are still earning.

8. You can plan for a relocation, to a place which will be low on cost of living, and such place are usually more peaceful as well, so consider this option as a helpful and merry one.

9. You can plan to tighten your budget, from young age itself, as it will help you save for the future and will also enable you to have a post retirement life, free of unnecessary expenses.

10. Seeking professional help has always been a great way to draw proper results for anything. You can consult the Financial Advisors or Consultants, for retirement related queries, investments and saving plans, so that you can organize a healthy and happy life for yourself, post retirement.

How to decide your Retirement Location

February 2nd, 2012 admin No comments

Retirement is a major phase of a person’s life, since it is the last biggest change one can have in his life. People these days have begun to plan their retirement, way before the actual occasion, as no body wants any kind of tensions and head aches at the time when things can be really chaotic.

In present times, no person wants to remain dependent on his or her children, and wants to be able to fend for themselves after retirement, and most people prefer to relocate after their working age, so that they can live a peaceful and changed life with a new location. And this relocation depends on several factors. Take a look.

Some factors on which an individual decides, where to locate post retirement are:

Lifestyle-
A major portion of your decision lies on the kind of lifestyle you have lived your entire life, and what you are expecting now. Whether you want to maintain it or change it according to your preferences, you can decide the new location on that basis.

Money-
What is the pension that a person is getting after retirement, and how big a part of it can he contribute in relocation, in adjusting the requirements of that place, or in the average cost of living of that place . These factors help in deciding what kind of a place you’d like to locate to.

Health-
Old age affects your decisions a lot, taking in consideration your health needs. No matter how healthy and ailment free you have lived your life, but at the post retirement age, you just cannot take chances. So what kind of a climate will suit your health, mountains or plains, proximity and accessibility of health centers, all these factors are equally important.

Preferences-
Some of us have a love for nature, while others prefer the coastal breeze; depending on the kind of atmosphere you like, you can think your new area of location, as being at a vulnerable age where even smallest of the things can make you sad or happy, you yourself need to think about your happiness.

Recreations-
Some people never age at heart, no matter whether they are 65 or 75, and even at that age they want to keep going with life’s adventures, and even learning or trying things that they have wanted. Some people may have a liking for arts and aesthetics, books, old monuments, parks, or sports, and hence depending on all these factors as well, you can choose your new place.

Accessibility-
For elderly people , it is very important to check that the place they want to relocate has all the required essentials at a close proximity. If you and your partner, are planning to locate yourself alone, then you need to keep close to airports, bus terminals or other modes so that in case of need or to meet your children you can easily commute. Even essentials like markets, groceries, and so on, also need to be considered.

If you will keep an account of all these things, you would be a smart post retirement buyer of property, and would spend your days leisurely at your new location, in a blissful and comfortable state.

5 Most Important Retirement Questions

January 16th, 2012 admin No comments

As you near the end of your working life, you are probably wondering about a lot of different things. With so many different things to think on, you may even be asking, “What are the five most important retirement questions I could ask?” Getting a grip on every aspect of your retirement planning is, sadly, made to be more complicated than it has to be. Though you should absolutely consult with trusted professionals to secure your financial future as your last day approaches, these questions will help you frame the discussion as you meet with your advisor.

Who are you spending retirement with?

This question has two parts: financial and relational. From the standpoint of your money, you must look into who is going to rely on the income from your investments – you and your spouse, any dependent children, etc. Knowing who all falls into this category will help you figure out how much to save.

From the standpoint of other people, the question turns into a consideration of your social environment. How do you plan to fill your days when work is no longer part of the equation? The ability to meet new people and have stimulating conversation is a key to happiness for retirees, so consider which groups you’d like to join up with.

What do you plan to do?

Much like understanding how many people you’ll be supporting is important, having a clear picture of what it is you want to accomplish in retirement is a big key. Are you hoping to travel all over Europe? Have you always dreamed of volunteering for a summer or two on an archaeology dig in Guatemala? Your golden years are certainly a time to be enjoyed, but until you have an idea of where you would like to go, you have no real clue as to how much you’ll need to have saved in order to fund that lifestyle.

When can you retire?

Once you have figured out what your desires are, you can plan a budget for when you leave the office for the last time. Based on how your wealth projects, you can spend the remaining years you have at work pushing money into your savings accounts and investment portfolio to support that. Though you might have a bit of trouble catching up with only two or three years to go, you can still make some course corrections that allow you to achieve far more than you might have first guessed. The key will be to look deep into your expenses for areas to make cuts.

Where are you going to live?

As you begin looking to trim the fat in your spending, one of the first places you might consider is your home. This can mean something as simple as downsizing to reflect the fact you have an empty nest or relocating to an entirely different city with a lower cost of living. It can be exceedingly difficult for you to leave the cherished memories of the house your family grew up in behind, but keep nothing sacred – your financial health and well being depends on your ability to make smart decisions about where your money goes. When you add up the cost of upkeep and utilities, it could be an easier decision than you would think.

Why should you stop working?

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to give up being a desk jockey when you reach retirement age, but the fact of the matter is you don’t have to quit drawing a paycheck altogether. Thanks to a shortage of workers, there are a variety of industries looking for experienced professionals to lend their expertise on a part- or full-time basis. In addition to giving you the opportunity to pass on your wisdom to another generation, you will be able to continue earning an income that supports your dreams for the future with much less pressure than your time in the corporate world. Encore, a service designed to connect retirees with non-profit organizations needing help, is a great place to start.

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Tips for a Happy Retirement

January 15th, 2012 admin No comments

Over the last several years at work, chances are good you’ve done a host of retirement planning. You’ve probably made a budget, figured out which accounts to draw from and when, maybe even downsized your home so as to save on utilities – but have you looked up some tips for a happy retirement? You want to enjoy those years when your time is free to fill up as you choose, right? After you’ve done all the planning and your last day at the office, you’ve got to sit back and have some fun. Here are a few ideas to help you get started as you make the transition.

Create a workout regimen

It’s no secret that the best way to get the most out of your golden years is to keep yourself fit and healthy. This goes far beyond just keeping your ticker tuned up and beating strong, more research emerges all the time pointing to exercise as a means to stave off the effects of conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Many health clubs and community centers offer classes geared specifically to retirees that test your balance and help build muscle, so do some asking around for the best ones.

Dig into a hobby

It’s a subtle truth, but sometimes it’s tough to fill all the hours your job used to take up. You probably used to squeeze in some time on the weekends for woodworking or gardening, maybe playing a game of bridge or bowling occasionally with friends. Well, now you have the opportunity to do them all you want, so consider becoming a bit more serious about having fun with your interests. Have you had a project in mind for a while to beautify your home or yard? Why not learn how to do it yourself (and consult with some experts) so you can have the satisfaction of putting your knowledge and love to good use?

Get involved with a cause

There are probably dozens of organizations in your area that are begging for volunteers with your experience at this very moment – and not just because you’re a willing body they can put into a soup line. A growing number of not-for-profit groups are turning to retirees for help with everything from marketing to fundraising to program design, hoping to capitalize on their expertise without having to shell out the big bucks for a public relations firm. Find a cause that fixes a need you see in your community or elsewhere in the world, then see how you might be able to contribute.

Make new friends

Perhaps more than anything other than exercise, your ability to form and maintain fresh relationships is a key to your longevity. Intentionally seek out ways to engage with people from different backgrounds in conversation over lunch or a cup of coffee. It doesn’t have to lead to a life-long friendship worthy of the movies, but it will expose you to a variety of ideas, something that is key to brain function going forward. And, as you connect with people from all over, you might find other activities to fill your time with – salsa dancing or Australian rules football, anyone?

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Ten Financial Risks of Retirement

January 11th, 2012 admin No comments
When you sit down with your spouse and financial advisor to do some retirement planning, you make the best effort you can to prepare for the future.  Like it or not, these ten financial risks of retirement can sneak up on you and make your golden years a struggle.  Thankfully, there are ways to minimize these challenges by formulating a strategy that helps your assets continue to grow despite any blips in the economy or unexpected expenses.  By understanding the possibilities presented by the factors listed below, you will be in an advantageous position when it comes time to lay out your strategy for the years leading up to your final day on the job.
Lifespan
Though it’s tough to imagine a long retirement being a bad thing, the fact of the matter is you are far more likely to live to 85 than you think.  Advances in medicine, not to mention good genes and healthy habits, could have you pushing 95 or 100 – and your money has to make it there, too.  Invest as though you’ll live into triple digits and you’ll be in great shape.
Inflation
It’s a simple fact of life that the cost of everything increases over time.  Consider the purchasing power of $10 in 1980 was equivalent to almost $21 just 20 years later in the year 2000.  What can you do to keep your money from only going half as far?  Invest in inflation-protected securities or industries likely to gain as prices increase.
Market Dips
As the years after the sub-prime mortgage collapse in 2008 have shown, the market is a fickle mistress.  The instability of the global financial system continues to turn stomachs all over the planet, but the best thing you can do is diversify as much as possible.  This goes beyond the size of company or type of assets in your portfolio, too – pick companies from different regions so problems in one are less likely to affect your bottom line.
Early Maturation
Though you might have a handful of bonds that aren’t set to come good for a while, be mindful of the possibility they will be called early.  Though this is an opportunity for reinvestment, of course, you might find it difficult to locate something with a similar return.  Stagger your maturity dates so that your repositioning is less likely to happen all at once.
Cashing Out in a Low Market
For most people, a 401(k) or mutual fund contribution is based on the purchasing power of what they’ve set aside – when the prices are down, they get a lot more than when prices are high.  Though you might not think it too much of an issue, it can be a major problem if you are looking to sell during a downturn.  Your only option is to get fair market value, which means you are losing out on the possibility of benefiting from a future upswing.  Make sure you have plenty saved to cover your expenses for as long as possible so you can allow your portfolio to pick back up.
Fraud
Sadly, there’s not a year that goes by in which a group of senior citizens are robbed of their wealth by spurious characters going door to door.  Though you are fit and sharp now, where might you be in a couple decades?  Do your best to educate yourself now about the risks, involving trustworthy family members, if possible.  By having a background knowledge, as well as someone to act as your back-up when a too-good-to-be-true opportunity pops up, you have already set up a first line of defense.
Taxes
You might assume that, without a steady job, taxes aren’t something you will have to focus on much in your life after work.  Well, that’s not exactly the case.  Changes in the tax code happen all the time, subjecting earnings from investments or capital gains to a varying degree of vulnerability.  Sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of dollars could be at stake.  On the front end, you can put after-tax funds into Roth IRAs, but more complex dealings should be done with the help of a trusted financial professional.
Medical Costs
Adults who have cared for their parents during the last several years of their life know how much time is spent in the doctor’s office.  Even the fittest of people still has one or two prescriptions, an annual physical, and some wellness visits to make each year.  That leaves a lot of copays.  One way to help cover costs you face outside of Medicare is to create a Health Savings Account.  This will allow you to rollover any savings from year to year and, much like you did with your investments before retiring, you can make a set contribution each month.
Chronic Care
We all would like to think we will be on top of our game until our very last breath, but the fact of the matter is quite different.  More and more people are finding health care services are necessary during their final years, which can be fairly minimal (someone stopping by to administer medications) to very extensive (living in a medical home).  You can purchase insurance policies to cover just this kind of expense or set up specific accounts to be paid only when they are needed, but this area of financial planning is somewhat new, so you might want to consult with your advisor about the best option.
Unexpected Events
It might seem like Mother Nature would be the last thing for any of us to worry about, but sometimes disasters arise and leave people in the lurch.  This doesn’t take into account a fire or some other property damage that destroys what most people consider their most important investment – their home.  Regardless of where you live, it’s crucial as you head into retirement that your insurance coverage is good enough to provide security in the event of a major problem.

When you sit down with your spouse and financial advisor to do some retirement planning, you make the best effort you can to prepare for the future.  Like it or not, these ten financial risks of retirement can sneak up on you and make your golden years a struggle.  Thankfully, there are ways to minimize these challenges by formulating a strategy that helps your assets continue to grow despite any blips in the economy or unexpected expenses.  By understanding the possibilities presented by the factors listed below, you will be in an advantageous position when it comes time to lay out your strategy for the years leading up to your final day on the job.

Lifespan

Though it’s tough to imagine a long retirement being a bad thing, the fact of the matter is you are far more likely to live to 85 than you think.  Advances in medicine, not to mention good genes and healthy habits, could have you pushing 95 or 100 – and your money has to make it there, too.  Invest as though you’ll live into triple digits and you’ll be in great shape.

Inflation

It’s a simple fact of life that the cost of everything increases over time.  Consider the purchasing power of $10 in 1980 was equivalent to almost $21 just 20 years later in the year 2000.  What can you do to keep your money from only going half as far?  Invest in inflation-protected securities or industries likely to gain as prices increase.

Market Dips

As the years after the sub-prime mortgage collapse in 2008 have shown, the market is a fickle mistress.  The instability of the global financial system continues to turn stomachs all over the planet, but the best thing you can do is diversify as much as possible.  This goes beyond the size of company or type of assets in your portfolio, too – pick companies from different regions so problems in one are less likely to affect your bottom line.

Early Maturation

Though you might have a handful of bonds that aren’t set to come good for a while, be mindful of the possibility they will be called early.  Though this is an opportunity for reinvestment, of course, you might find it difficult to locate something with a similar return.  Stagger your maturity dates so that your repositioning is less likely to happen all at once.

Cashing Out in a Low Market

For most people, a 401(k) or mutual fund contribution is based on the purchasing power of what they’ve set aside – when the prices are down, they get a lot more than when prices are high.  Though you might not think it too much of an issue, it can be a major problem if you are looking to sell during a downturn.  Your only option is to get fair market value, which means you are losing out on the possibility of benefiting from a future upswing.  Make sure you have plenty saved to cover your expenses for as long as possible so you can allow your portfolio to pick back up.

Fraud

Sadly, there’s not a year that goes by in which a group of senior citizens are robbed of their wealth by spurious characters going door to door.  Though you are fit and sharp now, where might you be in a couple decades?  Do your best to educate yourself now about the risks, involving trustworthy family members, if possible.  By having a background knowledge, as well as someone to act as your back-up when a too-good-to-be-true opportunity pops up, you have already set up a first line of defense.

Taxes

You might assume that, without a steady job, taxes aren’t something you will have to focus on much in your life after work.  Well, that’s not exactly the case.  Changes in the tax code happen all the time, subjecting earnings from investments or capital gains to a varying degree of vulnerability.  Sometimes thousands or tens of thousands of dollars could be at stake.  On the front end, you can put after-tax funds into Roth IRAs, but more complex dealings should be done with the help of a trusted financial professional.

Medical Costs

Adults who have cared for their parents during the last several years of their life know how much time is spent in the doctor’s office.  Even the fittest of people still has one or two prescriptions, an annual physical, and some wellness visits to make each year.  That leaves a lot of copays.  One way to help cover costs you face outside of Medicare is to create a Health Savings Account.  This will allow you to rollover any savings from year to year and, much like you did with your investments before retiring, you can make a set contribution each month.

Chronic Care

We all would like to think we will be on top of our game until our very last breath, but the fact of the matter is quite different.  More and more people are finding health care services are necessary during their final years, which can be fairly minimal (someone stopping by to administer medications) to very extensive (living in a medical home).  You can purchase insurance policies to cover just this kind of expense or set up specific accounts to be paid only when they are needed, but this area of financial planning is somewhat new, so you might want to consult with your advisor about the best option.

Unexpected Events

It might seem like Mother Nature would be the last thing for any of us to worry about, but sometimes disasters arise and leave people in the lurch.  This doesn’t take into account a fire or some other property damage that destroys what most people consider their most important investment – their home.  Regardless of where you live, it’s crucial as you head into retirement that your insurance coverage is good enough to provide security in the event of a major problem.

Retirement Income Plan

January 10th, 2012 admin No comments

It’s only natural, after decades on the job, for you to feel a bit of trepidation as the day arises when your retirement income plan kicks in. For years, you have been able to count on a steady paycheck and the possibility of an incremental raise from time to time. Once you leave the workforce, you will be able to count on a monthly check from the Social Security Administration and payouts from the various accounts set up as part of your retirement planning – stocks and mutual funds that are subject to the whims of the market. If you’ve learned anything from the current state of the economy, it’s that your portfolio can take a hit one day and have you flying high the next. How do you create some stability when the financial sector is as volatile as a nitroglycerin plant during an earthquake?

Here are a few tips to keep you moving in the right direction, when the Dow Jones is a roller coaster:

Live Within Your Means
Making a budget is a basic practice for many households in all strata of society. Sticking to one, however, proves to be too challenging – they either expect to live like princes or attempt to be paupers and fall short either way. Sit down with your spouse and make a realistic target for your spending, leaving aside extra money for savings accounts and additional investments, as well as activities both of you can enjoy. Ideally, you will have begun this practice well before you retire – spending your last year at work spending as though you are already retired is a good idea – but even creating a plan in the first month or two after you leave the office behind is acceptable.

Diversify Your Portfolio
It’s likely you’ve heard this advice from your financial planner and investment magazines over and over, but it goes far beyond the types of stocks or mutual funds you own. Sure, you should have a variety of low- and high-risk accounts to provide a measure of security against a market in flux, but you might find other areas are being neglected. You probably have a home that acts as one of your major assets, but do you own other properties that can be rented or sold? Have you sought ways to solidify your percentage of precious metals in the overall picture? Take an honest look at your situation and see how things could be reshuffled to maximize your return.

Seek Out Earning Opportunities
Without a doubt, you have earned a break from the daily grind associated with a 9-to-5 job. Does that mean you ought to give up on employment altogether? Absolutely not – and that doesn’t mean you should be greeting customers at your local retail chain. Chances are good your experience can be put to good use in a variety of ways. If you were in advertising, for example, you could begin consulting with small businesses part-time to help them grow. This will allow you the fulfillment of continuing to contribute to society without having the pressure of someone breathing down your neck. Who knows? The freedom might unleash some creative talents you forgot you had!

Vaccines for Pancreatic Cancer

October 31st, 2011 admin No comments

Advances in medicine continue to astound us. Over the years, conditions that were once thought a near-immediate death sentence now have treatments that will extend patients’ lives for months or years beyond the initial diagnosis. With the death of business icon Steve Jobs, interest in vaccines for pancreatic cancer – a disease that kills 95% of those who have it within five years – has increased dramatically. The good news is, unlike many other forms of cancer, there are actually some promising early trials moving into larger studies. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have created a novel treatment for the disease, one so intuitive it could end up creating dramatic change for the treatment of cancer in other tissues. Here’s what you need to know:

Simple and to the Point

Much like any vaccine, this one acts to stimulate the immune system. What makes this treatment unique is the ability to use this built-in response to attack tissues that generally find a way to hide undetected by the body’s natural defenses. Using dead pancreatic cancer cells altered to create a special chemical called GM-CSF, immune cells are enticed to develop antigens against this molecule quickly. Then, acting like a roving band of vigilantes in search of a criminal, they spread out to other tissues and fight active cancer cells. The resulting interaction slows the progression of tumors, possibly allowing other, time-tested therapies an extended period to do the work of killing the deadly growth.

Research is Ongoing

The vaccine, being relatively new in pharmaceutical terms, has only just moved into clinical trials. These tests, which include hundreds or thousands of patients instead of three or four dozen, will determine the fate of TeloVac – so named because it works on the telomerase enzyme cancer cells use to keep from dying. Essentially, scientists are attempting to figure out the best combination of vaccine and chemotherapy to use, a difficult balance that must ensure the immune system is allowed to attack the tumor at the same time radiation is being used to kill it. Researchers are looking into three different methods of counteracting the disease: a general dose of radiation and vaccine, a targeted application of both, and separate interventions. If all goes well, results are expected to be released in 2012.

It’s Not a Cure

The fact of the matter is pancreatic cancer is incredibly tricky. The condition is often silent for months or years, only manifesting when it has progressed to the extent of invading other tissues. At this point, time is short for the individual who gets the bad news. The idea, at this point, is not to reverse the cancer and return the tissue to a normal, healthy state. The limits of the vaccine – both in its scope and the length of time it’s been tested – mean it is used only to buy time. However, when you are faced with the possibility of surviving for several months as opposed to a few weeks, those precious extra days are worth celebrating.

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How to Live Independently and Safe

October 24th, 2011 admin No comments

There is something uniquely comforting about your own home. However, as you age, figuring out how to live independently and safe will become a concern. Try as you might, eventually you will face a decrease in your vision and loss of flexibility. You will remain as active as possible, of course, but time catches up with us all in the end. The key is to take steps to ensure you can stay in the house you worked so hard to own and the good news is there are a handful of simple changes you can make to help you remain there as long as possible.

The most common cause of injury and death among retirees is a fall – the Centers for Disease Prevention and control estimates reducing the tripping hazards in a home could make a significant difference in the number of broken bones suffered by people 65 and older. Here are some basic precautions to help you avoid becoming a statistic

Make the bathroom walk-in friendly
Slick tile floors can be a challenge to navigate safely when you are a world-class athlete, let alone when your balance isn’t what it used to be. Getting in and out of the tub is the biggest hazard, as it requires transferring with one leg lifted high over a barrier. A growing number of companies have designed special walk-in combination bathtubs that have low entry points and a waist-high, watertight door. Most give you the option of sitting or standing as you bathe, using a removable showerhead to reach as much as six feet from the wall.

Exchange shelves for drawers
Under-counter shelves are frequently used in the kitchen for storing pots and pans, but they can pose a danger to seniors who will be tempted to bend over or get down on all fours to dig for a saucepan. This creates an unsteady stance that can lead to strained muscles, too. Adding drawers allows the sought-after item to be pulled out instead of reached for, a basic modification that leads to major changes.

Watch your step
It seems straightforward, but are the walkways in your home free and clear? This goes beyond a pair of shoes in the hall – are there loose rugs or slick spots? Paying attention to the surfaces will keep you from being caught off guard when you set foot in a room. Also, be sure to place nightlights in each room and ensure there are light switches inside each door. Being able to flip on a lamp quickly will make those late-night trips to the refrigerator about a piece of pie instead of a hospital visit waiting to happen.

Be by the phone
In the event of an emergency, the ability to communicate is crucial. Every room in the house should have a telephone available. (You can turn the ringer off on several of them, if the noise is too much.) In addition, it’s smart to have a charged cell phone handy, whether you carry it in a pocket as you walk around your home or as a backup in case your line is down. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to be sure you can get a hold of someone as fast as possible.

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5 Ways to Boost Happiness

October 22nd, 2011 admin No comments

As decades of work turns into free time in retirement, it is natural to feel a bit confused as you make the transition. Where you once spent your entire day cooped up in an office with several other people, it can be tempting to begin spending hours on end cooped up in your house alone. Of course, that’s no way to spend your golden years! Unfortunately, a large segment of retirees find themselves feeling down – or worse, diagnosed with depression – as they lose the sense of identity once attached to their work.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though! If you find yourself dealing with the blues, remember these five ways to boost happiness and you’ll be back on the sunny side of the street before long:

Build new relationships and strengthen older ones

There’s no way around it, human beings are social creatures. As you separate from the workplace, take care to maintain the friendships you cherish. Meet an old buddy for lunch every once in a while to catch up on life, it will give both of you a much-needed break from the daily routine. That’s not all, though, you’ll want to seek out opportunities to reconnect with family, too. And, since you have so many extra hours in the day, you can get out and meet some new people to widen your circle. Do your best to find avenues to stimulating conversation, whether it’s with a child home from college or fellow gardening fanatic.

Forgive freely

If you’re like most people, old wounds can creep into your mind when there aren’t other activities to keep your brain busy. Everyone has been through bad experiences and – whether we know it or not – mistreated someone. Find a way to release all that pent-up energy, as it is toxic waste to your emotional state. Without releasing the pain, either through a long journal entry or a polite conversation, you leave yourself susceptible to focusing on negative circumstances – an antidote to happiness if there ever was one.

Engage in something meaningful to you

There is nothing quite like a worthy cause to energize people. Find a way to connect with an organization doing good in your community, whether it’s providing services to cancer patients or helping children from rough neighborhoods learn how to read. The fact of the matter, despite how you may feel, is that you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that could make a difference in someone else’s life. When you dedicate time to the pursuit of something larger than yourself, you are more likely to encounter joy and fulfillment. Plus, you will be able to share your passion with another, which might light a fire that burns bright well into the future.

Stay active

It seems like the list of benefits tied to regular exercise gets longer and longer every day. Studies continually show that maintaining even a basic level of fitness is good for more than your body – your brain gets a good workout, too. Though the mechanisms aren’t fully understood, scientists have discovered links between emotional health and physical activity, as well as delays in the onset of memory loss or dementia.

Find ways to be grateful

It might sound a bit trite, but counting your blessings is a simple way to get back in a good frame of mind. Strange as it is to say, you can’t really focus on more than one thing at a time. If you are holding onto pictures of the best things in your life – great family and friends, fun hobbies – you will find it easier to brush off something that tries to bring you down. When you start to feel your mood shift into a lower gear, quickly name ten things that make you smile (then another ten and another, if necessary).

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Foods to Sharpen Your Memory

October 17th, 2011 admin No comments

Maintaining a clear, agile mind is a key to enjoying all the retirement planning you did while still on the job. If you are like most retirees, the search for ways to keep the brain healthy has extended into a quest to find foods to sharpen your memory. When you consider 20 percent of all the calories you consume end up being used between your ears, it’s little wonder that what’s on your plate might be important. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of ongoing research into the relationship between eating and mental health, so developing a solid idea of the best choices is getting easier all the time. Next time you go to the grocery store, make sure to put these items in your cart:

Cruciferous vegetables

These “little trees” – broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy and others – contain a lot of antioxidants. These tiny chemical powerhouses are media darlings nowadays, being touted to help slow aging and mental decline. On top of that, they are high in fiber, which will help with digestive health and might even decrease our blood pressure. (The latter helps oxygen reach your brain with considerably less effort by the heart.)

Leafy greens

You always thought salads were for people trying to lose weight, didn’t you? Well, they can certainly benefit those looking to shed a few pounds, but they are also loaded with folic acid – a vitamin which studies have indicated might affect memory. Skip the romaine lettuce and go for the darker shades of green: spinach and kale, as well as collard, mustard, or turnip greens. Interestingly, these veggies are relatively high in calcium to keep your bones strong, too.

Dark colored berries

Much like the cruciferous vegetables, the deeper colors in certain berries indicate a higher presence of antioxidants. What’s more, they are filled with anthocyanins and flavonols, which have a protective effect on brain structure and, according to animal studies, might even help reverse memory loss. As if any of us needed a reason to get our hands on the sweet stuff, you can say you’ve got a basket full of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries for the sake of your brain! If you can get them fresh from the farm, do so. In the off-season, take a stroll down the frozen foods aisle and pick up a pack without extra sugar added.

Catch of the day

In recent years, the positive effects of fatty fish like salmon and mackerel have come to light in a major way. Filled with omega-3 fats, which go on to become components of nerve cells in some cases, these sea dwellers ought to be the main course two or three times a week. If you are unable to make that happen, then consider a high-quality fish oil supplement. Research has shown a correlation between higher omega-3 levels and decreased incidence of dementia, as well as reductions in memory decline. Even an extra three years at your best (as one study showed) will make a dramatic difference in your quality of life down the line.

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