Royce Shook

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Here are some things that surprised me when I retired 1


I made retirement work and found I was happy!

I was a workaholic, some called me a type A personality and I thought I needed work to be happy, I was wrong. The good news is that we generally get happier in retirement so I was not alone! After the stress of building careers and raising kids, most people’s happiness seems to actually increase in retirement.

In fact, you’ll likely be shocked to learn which two ages in an adult’s life are likely to be at your happiest. Experts from Princeton University and the London School of Economics and Political Sciences found that happiness peaks at the ages of 23 and 69.

Home repairs and other unexpected emergencies can wipe you out

The study found that “shock” events — retirement surprises — had a significant impact on the assets of many retirees. More than one in three respondents experienced financial shocks that depleted at least 25% of their assets.

The majority of retirees are worried about their ability to handle financial shocks:

Home Repairs: Only 18% of retirees are very prepared to handle home repairs.

Homeownership is expensive. Where I live the economists estimate that the cost of homeownership is about 2,000 a month. This is for repairs, maintenance, insurance and taxes. Many of the most unexpected repairs are not cheap. From repairing a roof to replacing a broken furnace or air conditioning unit, home repairs can cost thousands of dollars and make a serious dent in retirement savings, especially for retirees who are often still paying off a mortgage.

When retirement is on the horizon, take a look at your home and consider what major repairs you might need to make in the next ten to 20 years. Either make them before you retire or set aside some money to take care of them in retirement.

We were lucky we had a small inheritance which allowed us to upgrade and take care of many household repairs, so we are good for at least another 15 years.

If you are among those worried about potential home repairs, do consider downsizing and other ways to reduce your housing burden.

Other surprise bills are car Repairs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the UD only 27% of retirees feel very prepared to manage car repairs or replacement

This Pandemic made us realize that our family members need our support. We are the sandwich generation. And, only 8% of today’s retirees feel very prepared to help family members. If you can before you retire try setting aside funds for emergencies. It can help reduce worry.

Many health care expenses will be paid out of pocket

In the United States, Fidelity Benefits Consulting released its latest retiree health care cost estimate, and it is again a sticker shock for people nearing retirement.

According to the report, a 65-year old couple retiring today will need an average of $280,000 (in today’s dollars) to cover medical expenses throughout retirement, up from $245,000 in 2015.

These costs include Medicare premiums, co-payments and deductibles, prescription drug out-of-pocket expenses. Also, as the report from the Society of Actuaries notes, most retirees do not have dental insurance and dental expenses are not covered by Medicare. Routine eye care, hearing aids and the exams for fitting them are also not covered by Medicare.

In Canada we have our basic health care covered but we face the same issues as our neighbours in the US do, in that most retirees in Canada do not have dental insurance and dental expenses are not covered. Routine eye care, hearing aids and the exams for fitting them are also not covered. Here are some things that surprised me when I retired 1



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