A deficit is not always a monetary term. While it can refer to a shortfall in money or income, on a broader basis it means a “deficiency or disadvantage”. We’ve all heard of Attention Deficit Disorder, which is a brain malfunction, whether genetic or environmentally induced. Many retirees have what we can call a Retirement Deficit Disorder, which is a state of mind.
For many, the life change of retirement results in a slowdown that permeates through many areas of life. Approximately, 80 per cent of retirees are dependent on some form of government pension that results in a restricted lifestyle compared to when they were working. During our working lives, the income that we generate can allow us to fulfil many life pursuits including travel, recreation and the comforts that modern life has to offer. In retirement, the limitations of income cause a shrinkage in some of these pursuits. Consequently, retirees often modify their spending habits and carefully watch every dollar. That is the reality for many who have failed to plan financially earlier in their lives.
Another area of life that becomes a deficit is physical activity. Deteriorating health, with arthritic conditions, and general wear and tear, causes people to limit an active lifestyle. Whether it’s bad knees, ankles, backs or shoulders, people will restrict themselves, and that is not a good thing. Life is motion; the more that we restrict our mobility, the more we limit ourselves. We cannot all be like the Japanese mountain climber who at age 80 scaled Mt Everest, but most of us can do something. We see seniors swimming, cycling, golfing, taking pilates classes, water aerobics and walking. The point is to do something, and the most difficult thing is starting. Find someone who is self-motivated to inspire you. If you can afford it, get a personal trainer. Expect to be a bit sore, but that can be a good thing.
The other area where retirement leads to deficiency is in using our mental capacities. During our working lives, we get mental stimulation – dealing with customers, using technology and other modalities. When we retire, it can be a challenge to stimulate our minds unless we have something in place. Today, thanks to computer technology there is much available to us. Have you thought about writing a book, a blog or creating an online business with a website? You can do these on your own particularly if you have the time with sites such as WordPress making it easy to build websites. To stimulate your mind, you can also use an app on your phone or tablet such as Lumosity. It’s fun and keeps you mentally stimulated.
The final area of slowdown is vocation or business. There is no reason this should be true. We have the opportunity today with the internet to do anything. If you have an idea – any concept – that you can figure out how to monetise, then you can create a business. People such as Colonel Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize Winner (Angela’s Ashes) created their achievements at age 65.
The bottom line is that you only put limitations on you. Change your mindset and think of “retirement” as a time for surplus not deficit.
Do you have RDD? What do you do to change this? How have you made the most of the money you have in retirement? Tell us below.