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Retirement Lessons From A Pandemic

Retirement Lessons From A Pandemic

By Mike Drak

I know it feels bad, but like all crises this one will end along with the economic hardship it caused.

But on the plus side there are some benefits derived from spending a lot of time at home. It can give a person much needed perspective as to what is important and what is not. It has opened my mind to things, and it has forced me to rethink how we need to live going forward.

A New Sense of Gratitude

My son recently became a doctor in Australia and currently works in an ER in Sydney. I fear for him but I’m also very proud of him playing the part that he does. With him so far away I feel sometimes like someone who sent his son/daughter off to war to fight the good fight.

But then one day at the grocery store I began to think about the cashiers and the people who restock the store shelves so we can purchase the supplies we need. They play just as an important role as my son, and I’m grateful for their dedication, but then it came to me that some of them have no other choice – they are there because they need the money to survive.

A lot of people are living on the edge both old and young.

I knew it was bad but I didn’t appreciate how many people today are living paycheck to paycheck. I still have trouble comprehending this as we live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world yet so many of us are suffering and living in fear.

Life shouldn’t be like that.

The pandemic exposed the truth to us, and we need to come up with a new life model that works, and find ways to improve our social safety net.

Welcome To Retirement Hell

A report published by the the Insured Retirement Institute shared;

“Boomer expectations For Retirement 2019 stated that in the US 45% of Boomers have zero savings for retirement.”

That’s a pretty scary number, and while we don’t like to talk about it, the truth is that many of us will never be able to retire.

It’s a big mistake to think that you can get by solely on a government pension, and never have to work again because of the effect of inflation on things such as rent, property taxes, food, and health care spending.

If for whatever reason you couldn’t work every passing year your retirement world would become smaller and smaller in terms of what you could afford to do. Money would be tight and just getting tighther.  Your stress would keep climbing, and sadly you couldn’t even visit your kids at Christmas because they live on the other side of the country, and you can’t even afford the price of a plane ticket. Talk about being in retirement hell where every year you live is a little worse than the one before.

If you think about it the pandemic is forcing us to experience how it feels to live like this. Having a lot of money doesn’t do you a lot of good right now. You can’t go out for dinner, out to a show, to the gym, or go on a vacation. The frustration you are experiencing is what life feels like for many seniors in this country, and it’s not much fun is it?

The pandemic is opening our eyes to the real retirement that we will be facing.

If you think that you can get by solely on a government pension and avoid working – think again. If you are carrying large debts into retirement in the form of car loans, credits cards, lines of credit and mortgages, you probably shouldn’t even be thinking about retirement. It isn’t a workable concept for you.

You need to get ready for what is coming your way. Be realistic and set your mind to the more likely outcome. You need to understand what is going to happen and make plans based on your individual reality and follow through on them.

The pandemic sucks, and so does retirement hell. After we get through this my advice to you is if you are healthy enough to work get out there, and find some good work for yourself or preferably great work. Do that and you might discover like I did that not being able to stop working is not such a bad thing after all.

This is the first in a series of articles that I plan to do on the pandemic and what lessons that we can learn as it relates to retirement. Always appreciate your feedback and comments.

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Mike Drak

Author, Retirement Coach and Public Speaker at Victory Lap Retirement
Mike Drak is a thirty-eight year veteran of the financial services and lives with his wife Melina in Toronto, Canada. Mike is the Author of the best-selling book Victory Lap Retirement and also an award winning blogger, retirement coach and public speaker. Mike has also appeared on BNN, CBC Radio and iHeart radio.