5 Tips For Starting The New Year On The Right Foot In Retirement

Getting focused, organized and structured in a New Year is something we approach with great intentionality when we are working. We set our goals and make plans to achieve our goals. After retirement, however, many people drop the planning and goal setting at the beginning of a new year. The result is that they find themselves slouching into the year and wandering somewhat aimlessly from one interest to another.

While I’m not advocating structuring of every minute of every day, there are some things you can do now that will save time and provide focus throughout the year. Here are the top ten tips for starting a new year on the right foot.

1.Organize your finances. Whether you simply start a new check register at the beginning of the year, or you organize files for paid bills and other records, getting things organized early in the year can save huge amounts of time throughout the year. It helps to simplify your record keeping and set up your own system of keeping track of financial matters. An important part of your financial management will be keeping track of medical expenses, Medicare statements, secondary health insurance payments, long term care insurance payments, etc. The better you manage these records throughout the year, the easier it will be to find what you need if you have a question or a problem.

2.Organize your medical information. You can reduce stress and confusion, save time, and protect your own health by organizing your medical information. Make a summary sheet, if you have not already done so, that lists (a) current medications, including dosage and when taken; (b) drug and other allergies; (c) current conditions for which you are being treated by a physician; (d) a brief medical history of previous surgeries, diseases, etc.; (e) a summary of your wishes regarding heroic medical treatment and end of life. Carry a copy in your wallet, give a copy to your doctor when you visit, and put a copy in a market container in your refrigerator (emergency medical personnel know to look there).

3.Set some personal goals. Important goals might be in the area of personal health and fitness, life-long learning, social activities, family time, and finding a meaningful and rewarding way to give back to society. You goals need not be big or complex. Goals simply give us ways to measure our progress and something to keep us on track in trying to accomplish things that are important to us.

4.Plan for balance in your life. Balance in life is often under-appreciated. The nature of retirement living and a retirement mindset can easily allow us to get things out of balance. We our lives are out of balance some part of our being is usually being neglected. Planning for balance makes it easier to attend to all of our personal and social needs and reduces the amount of stress we experience.

5.Keep fun in the picture. We might be grown up” and, indeed, we might be retired.” This does not, however, mean we are too old to have fun. There is no such thing as being too old to have fun. I believe that a life without fun is a life that is out of balance. Remember, you worked hard for your retirement! Enjoy it!

Spending a little bit of time at the beginning of the year to put your life in fresh perspective will make the year more enjoyable, less stressful, and more manageable. A good start includes putting finances and medical information in order, setting some personal goals, keeping life balanced, and remembering to have some fun.

Have a wonderful and fulfilling 2008! Fire up YOUR Retirement!

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