The “M” Word in Retirement

Mindfulness - Photo by Esther Wilhelmsson via Unsplash

The most important factor to living a happy retirement starts with the
letter “M.” And it’s not “Money.” Yet at the commencement of all our
retirement planning courses the money factor sits large on the minds of
attendees. In fact, as we prepare for starting the course I have more than
once been approached by the first comer into the lecture room and asked
“Are you the Pensions Man?”

You shouldn’t ignore money. It is important. It may be the one thing that
preserves the “living” part of “living a contented retirement.” But it is
not the most important thing to think about when planning for a life in
retirement. While money helps pay for many important matters, the idea of
the unpredictability of your future health provides you a clue as to what
that most important “M” word is. To be truly happy the secret is in Continue Reading

Healthy Ireland and Life Expectancy

Healthy Living

The Healthy Ireland policy document entitled Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013 -2015 is the government’s plan to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation. So how are we faring mid-way through the lifetime of the plan?

The mid-term report entitled Health in Ireland: Key Trends (2017) revealed that 70% of men and 57% of women are overweight or obese. This also reflects the lack of a personal physical exercise regime whereby only 46% of men and 62% of women are termed “physically active”. All of this reflects significantly on our birth to death life expectancy ratio.

Between 2007 and 2017 the following increases in Life Expectancy are recorded: Continue Reading

Emotional Preparation for Retirement Life: Identity Issues

Perhaps no other stage of life triggers such intense feelings of excitement and liberation, on the one hand, but, on the other, fear and anxiety. Retirement for many entails a leap of faith after decades of routine. You’re not simply at work Friday, doing your job, and retired Monday, dancing for joy. Retirement is a major transition that unfolds over many years, as we move from the life we know, into the life we will get to know.

Most people don’t realise that psychological and emotional readiness is as important as all the concerns about financial issues in retirement. I have personally witnessed attendees on arrival for a course to ask me “are you the pension’s man”; in other words: I am here to hear about my pension; about money issues and that is all that concerns me so just tell me about how I’m going to survive financially. By the time our course is over attendees realise that while money issues are important, there is a whole lot more to consider about an emotional ‘glide path’ into a life in retirement. So our key message is Continue Reading

Healthy Living: Know your numbers

As we prepare for retirement, we need to reflect on our current lifestyle behaviours.

A change to how we live our life can reduce our chances of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Other forms of ill-health.

Tips on Lifestyle Behaviours

  • Sit less and move more: Be conscious of the length of time you spend sitting. Get up and stand and stretch.
  • Design a physical activity pattern that suits your condition and work on taking 30 minutes exercise at least 5 times a week. Take a look at this website: getirelandactive.ie
  • Don’t smoke and if you do then try and quit smoking which is the best thing you can do to improve your health.
  • To find out more about good healthy eating habits take a look at this Food Pyramid:

Continue Reading

Developing Our Spiritual Health

During our retirement courses we consider all aspects of our health including Physical Health (keeping active and eating healthily); our Mental Health (including emotional issues/stress management and resilience) and thirdly the importance of developing our Spiritual Health. In today’s world with all that has happened as regards religious practices many people neglect what is essential to maintaining our Spiritual Health.

So what is Spiritual Health if it is not all about religious practice? Here we intertwine spiritual health with the singular “Spirituality”. Basically, spirituality connects us to a purpose in life that is larger than ourselves. For some this may still be traditional religious practice. Regardless of the methods we us to achieve it, spirituality dictates how we see the world around us and our attitudes to what we see.  It dictates whether generally for us “the bottle is half full or half empty” as regards where we are at in life. It is about our own perspectives of life (more on this later).

To develop our spiritual health can be as simple as standing and staring in awe at what is before us at any moment in time. It can be as simple as Continue Reading

Reform of the State Pension

A Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023: Reform of the State Pension

In Autumn 2018, the Department of Social Protection launched the Roadmap for Pensions Reform which contained 6 main strands of which Strands 1 is the most important for those nearing retirement age.

Adequacy

The reform sets a proposed target for payment of the State Pension to a level at approximately 34/35% of average earnings. It is proposed to link further increases to changes in the Consumer Price Index and to wage levels in order to ensure that the value of the State Pension is maintained.

Sustainability

The State Pension is premised on the principle of social rather than personal insurance and operates on a Pay as You Go (PAYG) basis meaning that today’s pensions are not funded by past contributions made by today’s pensioners but are instead funded by the taxes and social insurance contributions of today’s workers. The PAYG model works for as long as there are roughly four or more workers contributing into the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) for every pensioner drawing from it. Ireland is facing huge demographic challenges which will Continue Reading

Why bother having an Enduring Power of Attorney?

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Having an Enduring Power of Attorney (EDU) in place is becoming more important now that we are all living longer and as a consequence the incidences of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease is becoming more common. Both spouses and/or single people should have an EDU.

How to make an EDU

Get to a Solicitor. Ask the Solicitor what fees may attach to this service. The Solicitor will then take you through the four step process.

Step 1: You are asked to nominate a person to whom you wish to give the EDU and the Solicitor will then take you through a list of powers which you wish to evolve to the nominee.

Step 2: Your solicitor will ask you to nominate 2 persons in your family who will be notified in writing of your decision to make this EDU. There are legally defined issues around nominees.

Step 3: Your Solicitor will then contact your own doctor and will instruct you to visit the doctor within 21 days of signing the EDU and if appropriate your doctor will certify that you have the mental capacity to make this decision.

Step 4: Once the Solicitor receives the doctor’s certificate it is placed in your file. In the event of you losing your mental capability to make decisions your Solicitor will apply to the High Court to have the EDU activated. This final process is relatively straight forward once the paperwork is properly formulated. Continue Reading

Importance of Making and Updating Our Wills

Surveys show that most of us are less than careful when it comes to ensuring that we take care of those who will be left behind when we pass on to the next life.

Many people are reluctant to make a Will. If you fail to make a Will then your descendants will pay a large share of your estate in surplus tax as a result of you dying intestate and settling your financial affairs will take a lot longer. A Will helps identify your resources and ensures that your property passes to the people of your choice and helps avoid family issues..When you have made your Will you should review it approximately every five to seven years.

How to make a will

Spend some time thinking through what you want to put in your Will – don’t just dash in to making your Will until you have prepared some notes to take with you when you get to a Solicitor. Prepare a list of your assets, your insurance policies and a list your creditors. Decide on whom you want to benefit under you Will and whether or not you wish to leave assets in trust. Be sure to ask the Solicitor what fees may apply to this service.

Wills must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the Will) and witnessed by two independent witnesses. Neither witness nor the spouse of a witness can be a beneficiary under a Will. You will be asked to nominate an Executor who will be responsible to see that the will is enacted after your death. Continue Reading

Healthy Eating in Retirement

Nutrition is an important part of healthy living post-retirement

[This is a guest post by Consultant Dietitian Gillian McConnell]

Many factors are important for a healthy retirement – staying physically active, maintaining close relationships and pursuing personal goals. However, one factor is vital to make the others all possible: a healthy diet. Without considering healthy eating, you cannot fully benefit from a rewarding and engaging retirement, and increase your risk of a range of health issues.

Challenges to good nutrition:

As people age, the amount of calories they need to consume each day reduces as the amount of good quality nutrients they need increases. This makes it difficult to ensure they’re getting all the vitamins and minerals they need each day, since you’re typically eating less. That’s also why it’s all the more important to Continue Reading

Healthy Living in Retirement

Water is a major element in making life on earth sustainable- we will discuss and re evaluate its importance at each and every cellular level.

Modern society faces the challenge of an ageing population. Globally, between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of adults older than 60 years is projected to double from 11% to 22%, and the number is expected to grow from 605 million to more than 2 billion.

This demographic shift will lead to a rising disease burden with profound implications for health care and practice. Evidence suggests that adopting and adhering to healthy lifestyles in middle or older age can reduce risks for chronic disease and mortality. Therefore, it is important to identify opportunities for lifestyle changes in middle to older age to promote healthy ageing. Continue Reading