Now really is the greatest time to be alive — and the greatest time to retire! Despite the doom and gloom we often hear on the news, the world is improving at an incredible rate. From affordable goods to safe neighborhoods to endless opportunities for communication and recreation, the modern age has made retirement a dream. Here are nine of the greatest things about being able to retire today.
1. Incomes and Prices
While spending power varies slightly from year to year, we’re living in the richest time in history. The inflation-adjusted median income was about $25,000 in 1950, and it’s nearly double that amount today. What’s more, annual inflation hasn’t risen above 10 percent since 1981, and it’s been under 5 percent for most of the last 70 years. At the same time, technological improvements have driven down the cost of almost every essential good.
For seniors, this prosperity has allowed for more savings, more recreation and less worry throughout retirement. In fact, two to three generations ago, few people could ever afford to retire. Now it’s the norm.
2. Social Security Benefits
Despite skepticism over the future of Social Security, the program seems to be doing just fine for current and future retirees. Inflation-adjusted monthly benefits rose nearly threefold from 1940 to 2010, and the average check was $1,406.58 in December 2016. Combined with a well-planned savings strategy and a paid-off house, Social Security offers greater retirement security today than ever before.
Travel is one of the best ways to spend retirement, and it’s easier, cheaper and safer than ever. Smart travelers who shop around can take international vacations for under $1,000, and flying within the United States is unprecedentedly cheap — especially for retirees who can take off and land at odd hours. If you’ve put off travel to build your career, now is the time to see the world!
Contrary to popular opinion, we’re living in the safest time in history. There is less violent crime in the United States and around the world than ever before, and wars are on the decline. For retirees, such unprecedented safety means less worry, more relaxation and greater freedom to travel abroad.
5. The Internet
The internet has further revolutionized an already-revolutionary time in human history. People around the world can connect in seconds, and information on every subject is at our fingertips. One of the internet’s greatest benefits for retirees is the ability to connect with old friends and distant relatives — people they may never otherwise see. It also provides nearly endless opportunities for learning, shopping, entertainment and business. With a computer and an internet connection, there’s no reason to ever be bored.
6. Business Opportunities
Whether you have a unique, untapped idea or just want to make a little money practicing your craft, modern retirement presents the perfect opportunity for starting a fun, fulfilling business. Without the need to make fast profits, please investors or appeal to management, you can spend time doing what you enjoy.
7. Leisure Time
Free time in retirement seems like a given, but that hasn’t long been the case. Earlier in the 20th century when few could afford to retire at all, most people only stopped working when they were sick. In fact, Social Security’s original retirement age was 65 in 1935 — a time when average life expectancy was less than 60. Now, as we live longer, healthier lives and make more money in less time, our free time in retirement has skyrocketed. According to the Federal Reserve, average lifetime leisure time rose from 11 years for a person born in 1870 to 35 years for someone born in 1990.
8. Great Health
Life expectancy has risen by nearly 30 years in the last century, and medical advancements have allowed seniors to live long, healthy, active lives. With the internet and the growing popularity of preventive health, there are also plenty of resources to learn how you can eat and exercise to improve your quality of life. With the right lifestyle, you may even become more active than you were in your 20s, 30s and 40s.
9. Choice in Retirement
Baby boomers are retiring, and a record 13 percent of the population is 65 and older. Retirement communities are growing in number and quality, and in-home care services are readily available across the country. There are also myriad cost-effective options for seniors who are independent now but may need assistance in the future. Overall, there has never been a better time to retire.
Seniors have more opportunities than ever before. To learn more about what’s available to you, contact us today!