Taking Flight in Retirement

 As we age, there are some certainties, such as changes to your physical appearance and your lifestyles. But retirement, Medicare, and aging, in general, don’t have to mean you stop enjoying your life. 

Instead of seeing retirement as an ending, why not see it as a new beginning?

Taking Flight in Retirement

A Change of Perspective

For many of us, retirement may be a season during which we find ourselves with empty nests and more time on our hands than we’re used to. Have you ever thought about using retirement to pursue a job that you put off when you had to support yourself and a family? Obviously, many people use retirement to enjoy their hobbies and to splurge on what they didn’t have time for earlier in life, but it’s also a great time to do fulfilling work that previously couldn’t pay the bills, or would have taken you away from your family too often.

Earn Your Wings

When you have other means of supporting yourself and fewer family obligations to meet, it’s the perfect time to spread your wings and try something new– like becoming a pilot! As travel becomes more appealing once again, the demand for pilots in 2022 and beyond is growing. FLT Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah reports that the industry may need to fill up to 50,000 positions by 2025. Is becoming a pilot, either for personal or professional purposes, a bucket-list item you’d like to check off? If so, now is a great time to get started on flight training so you can literally see the world from a new point of view. 

Becoming a pilot once you retire is not only a way to spend your time doing something you love, but it can lead to other opportunities, such as meeting new people and visiting new places.

Ditch the ‘Burbs

Often, there’s pressure to downsize your home when you retire. Loved ones may encourage you to move out of the family home and into a retirement community. While there are benefits, such as not having to perform home repairs or manage lawn care on your own, it may not promote the type of lifestyle you’re used to enjoying. There’s no rule you have to move to Florida with the majority of retirees unless, of course, you want to. Here are some of the top-ranked places to retire, according to U.S. News:

Best Places to Retire in the East

  • Sarasota, Florida - 40% of the population is aged 60+
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - 34% of the population is aged 60+
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania - 27% of the population is aged 60+
  • Knoxville, Tennessee - 24% of the population is aged 60+
  • Manchester, New Hampshire - 22% of the population is aged 60+
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan - 19% of the population is aged 60+
  • Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina - 17% of the population is aged 60+

Best Places to Retire in the West

  • Palm Spring, California - 30% of the population is aged 65+
  • St. George, Utah - 22.7% of the population is aged 65+
  • Cody, Wyoming - 21.1% of the population is aged 65+
  • Boise, Idaho - 16.3% of the population is aged 65+
  • Yakima, Washington - 15% of the population is aged 65+
  • Las Vegas, Nevada - 14.9% of the population is aged 65+
  • Prescott, Arizona - 12% of the population is aged 65+

Many of these areas are rich with history, strong communities, resorts, and lots of sunshine. What could be better for the place you plan to spend your golden years?

Hit the Books

Maybe you’re not interested in a new career or relocating after you retire. But you can always teach an old dog new tricks, so going back to school might be the right choice for you. Nontraditional students in education are anyone aged 24 and up, and over 75% of students in higher education fall under that umbrella. While a smaller percentage may be over 55 years of age, it’s not unheard of for retirees to hit the books.

You might wonder what the point of going back to school is if you’re not going to start a new career. Well, many people put their education on hold to support a spouse through their schooling or career. Additionally, women often put academics and careers on the back burner in order to be the primary caregiver while a spouse works full-time. 

If any of that applies to you, then retirement could be the ideal time to resume your education simply because it’s something you’ve always wanted to do for yourself. Earning an Associate, Bachelor, or Master’s Degree can be extremely rewarding, even if it’s just for the sake of learning and not for career advancement. 

Going back to school may also provide more opportunities to socialize, learn skills to keep up with technology, and keep your mind active. 

Choose Your Charity

Some of the best life advice to follow is to choose your charity. This means that you should be the only person in charge of deciding who is worthy of your charitable contributions. You could choose to give financial assistance or the gift of your time, but the decision is yours to make. 

It may be difficult to turn down family requests that you babysit or foot the bill for vacations or emergencies. But if that’s not how you want to spend your time, set boundaries early on in your retirement. Don’t be afraid to thank your family for turning to you in times of need, and offer them tools to solve their problems, versus handing out free babysitting or money.

Of course, if serving your family is your priority, then take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself in your golden years! 

Volunteer Opportunities in Retirement

Animal Shelter - You can donate supplies, clean kennels, cuddle cats, or walk dogs. Since many shelters are crowded, fostering a pet is also a great way to enjoy an animal companion without too much commitment.

Food Bank - You’ve probably donated food before, but have you been involved in the food drive process from start to finish? Find ways you can help food banks on the back end to reach more people.

Hospice - Some organizations need volunteers who can visit with hospice patients to enrich their quality of life.

Library - Enjoy solitude shelving books, or help organize community activities if you love to socialize.

Museum - Explore opportunities to help your local museum, whether you give your time, contribute money, or donate an item to an exhibit.

Whether your retirement includes soaring to new heights or staying a little closer to home, never stop growing as a person.

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