Minimal Living for Retirement

Between certain life-style choices we’ve made, and finding retirement age just around the corner, we’re starting to think about those years more. Choices we in no way regret, but which will probably make retirement interesting, 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 come to us all, bring many reductions.

Less income.
Less energy and stamina.
Less physical strength.
Less good health.

So how can we best prepare for those years?

Thirty, even twenty years ago, we didn’t think about it much. In youth, we think things will stay the same. Or we tend to think old age just brings gray hair, wrinkles, and perhaps some extra weight. And in the invincibility of youth, we’re certain old age will never get the best of them.

And then we hit our 50s. 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. Although, thankfully, slow enough that I still manage to catch it, most of the time! 😉

We turn 59 and 58 this summer, so we’re not definitely not ready for pasture yet! But wondering where the youth and vigor are disappearing to. And wondering, too, how we’ll make it during retirement years. So we’re starting to prepare now.

And perhaps you, too, wonder just how you can prepare for retirement years…

Learn to live on less income by cutting expenses now.

Most people seem to focus on financial savings accounts. You know, those special IRAs, or whatever they’re called. Bank accounts, investments. But that takes money to start with, doesn’t it?

IRAs and all the rest are not always possible. They certainly aren’t for us. (Although I doubt we’d do that anyway; but that’s another story.) So we’re looking at ways to cut expenses. Actually, we already try to live frugally. Both out of necessity and because we believe in good stewardship.

But we also practice frugality because we’ve learned how easy it is to settle into a higher standard of living. We get used to it, and come to expect it.

But life brings odd circumstances. Financial stability can crumble so quickly through job loss, health problems, or even natural disaster. Frugal living can help prepare us in advance for unforeseen events. We won’t really miss things like eating out if we already rarely do it.

Defeat less energy and stamina by simplifying and decluttering now, before it’s too big a chore for old-age strength and energy!

The older we get, the harder it becomes keeping up with everything. Especially if you live in an old house like ours. The stairs are steep, and each step ridiculously high. It’s hard enough climbing them, even without carrying stuff upstairs!

And with decreased energy, dealing with a lot of stuff and unnecessary cleaning and dusting, becomes a chore. Our energy will only diminish, so I figure our stuff best too!

Maximize physical strength by downsizing!

I know elderly people who bought tall king-size canopy beds in early retirement. Beds they now have a hard time getting in and out of, because they’re so high. So big, they’re a hassle to make. And with such tall canopies they can’t keep them clean. Did they think they’d acquire monkey-like climbing ability in retirement years?

Or others who got coffee tables so big and heavy they can’t move them to clean. Or still struggle to clean huge homes of mostly unoccupied rooms. Full of unused stuff, collecting dust.

Our theory is to make our home and possessions match the strength we have to keep up with them. Surely that’s why retirement homes offer residents mini-apartments!

Enjoy good health by safeguarding it now!

Not only promoting health by good eating and enough rest, but increasing activity before strength wanes. I’m not naturally an active person, but I’m taking steps to enter old age fairly active. Impossible, though, if I enter it with already weakened muscles, an out-of-condition heart, or too many extra kilos. My solution is to get up, and get moving. Now while I still can. Weather permitting, I’m forcing myself to go on walks.

Obviously, we can’t prepare for everything. But I’m firmly convinced that these steps will help us deal with old-age reductions. And live our older years in fullness and joy!

In what ways have you prepared, or are preparing, for retirement years?

We’d love to hear your suggestions!

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Mario]

8 thoughts on “Minimal Living for Retirement

  1. I am already there and the process has been slow and difficult. We have a two story home with a basement which has been a drain on us physically and financially. Having lost a fairly lucrative business when we turned 50 meant starting all over. No retirement fund, no savings, no income. Fortunately we were able to make a comeback, but here we are almost 25 years older and still in debt, small amount of income and social security. We are putting our house on the market next month and hope it sells quickly so we can move into something less expensive and less work. I think you’re making the right choices now. Be frugal. Don’t spend beyond your means, continue to work as long as you’re able, save some money, DECLUTTER now, and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy your older years.

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    1. Oh, I’m so worry to hear of your difficulty. Life certainly deals some hard blows sometimes. I’m glad that we learned years ago about the benefits of living debt-free. We owe on our house and that’s it. And in two years time, Lord willing, that payment will be over too. We’ll be praying for your house to sell quickly. Getting the right place would be such a big help to you. But I love your positive, grateful attitude. It speaks volumes!! Thanks so much for your encouragement, and the confirmation that we’re treading the right path! It’s good to know that at least good also came out of our younger foolish years. God bless you and your husband.

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      1. Thanks for your kind words. You’ll be fine as long as long as you walk with God. He’s the best navigator.

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  2. Sheila, I’m retiring on June 30 and looking forward to it. I love walking and praying. You might want to approach your walks as prayer walks. Italy is so beautiful. Each home you pass could become an opportunity to pray for those living in that house. I’m glad that you have learned simplicity. It makes life so much easier. “Things” just aren’t so important. And a healthy lifestyle can add so much to your health. Don’t look at retirement as the season of old age and declining health. May your approach retirement as a new adventure that the Lord has prepared for you. All His plans for you are good and beyond what you can imagine. Blessings, Karen

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    1. Wow Karen, thanks for this encouragement! And actually, we do think of retirement as a great adventure. God always has great things in store for us! But we do want to try to approach those years with wise planning. And we do often pray for the homes as we pass them, or even as we drive in Italy. So many still don’t know his peace. I’m excited with you about your retirement!! Congratulations! Won’t it be great to see what God has in store for you??!!

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      1. Sheila, He’s setting the path before me quickly. It will be a busy and wonderful adventure with an intensity I’ve not known before. Wishing you peace and wisdom as you look into the future. Karen

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