Snowbird Lifestyle: A Retiree's List for a Successful Retirement

 I have been retired for over 24 years. If I were to tell you that my life is just the same as it was in the beginning, I would not be telling the truth. Change will happen even if you don't like it. Thankfully, I do.

My husband and I retired when I was 55 and he 59. We are very young. It was not until we had been on this journey for 10 years that I began to understand how long we might live. We are now 79 and 83.

That was when I began buying the good paint for the walls and taking care of my body. I had been getting the cheapest paint possible saying, "It will last longer than I will." Then it came time to paint again and all I could think was shoot...I don't want to paint this place again. The solution was at that time...lets move. We don't think that way anymore. We repaint and stay put in Oregon. Arizona has turned out to be a different story.

As for my body, I have only recently began an exercise program. I am diabetic and have high cholesterol. Honestly, there are rules about taking care of stuff...especially when it comes to our health. Grow Young Fitness is my go to program.

Then there are retirement financial issues. Back in the day financial people wanted to write on my blog and tell old people about money/investments and long term nursing home care. It seems that there were lots of rules. Actually, it is not rocket science and we do follow rules. (see below)

Arizona Sunset

The fact is, when you retire young, you may struggle figuring out money matters. But when you turn 62 and get Social Security and 65 and get Medicare, you find that you have more money than ever. On top of that, if you are retired for a while, you will begin to grow up. You won't feel the need to squander all that you have saved or earned. It is a rule because it is simply the truth.

We have gone from a 1) motor home for travel 2) to a park model in a RV resort 3) to a townhouse and 4) now a single family dwelling on a golf course...all as our second home. Each one was sold as we bought the next place to spend our winters. We have never given up our home in Oregon even though we are living 6 month a year in Arizona. 

But in order to do that we have actually followed some rules:

  1. Before we retired, we did not spend more than we had and saved in our retirement system and in a mutual fund account. If we had lived on the company's dime, (free travel, a company car or even housing allowance) we would have known that we would have to downgrade. Living that lifestyle may not be possible.
  2. We still do not spend more than we have.
  3. We pay off any credit cards we have monthly. We charge anything we can because...
  4. We use the benefit of the pay back on credit cards to buy airline tickets.
  5. A life of hard work and dedication to outside activities (golf, walking, etc) as well as exercise is paying off.
  6. The climate in Arizona gives us a better balanced/healthier lifestyle that just staying in Oregon would have.
  7. We socialize and have many friends. That is so important to mental health. Isolation is a killer.
  8. We both challenge ourselves by reading good books and doing puzzles.
  9. Television is a life saver in retirement.
  10. We carry sufficient supplemental insurance to cover dental, health care and even hearing aids. This may be a sacrifice for some but it is a necessary part of a retiree's life. It is hard to pay for golf when you need teeth replaced/filled/bridged! KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES IN ORDER.
Tomorrow: How we bought a second home. Tune in.

If you have any thoughts about Retiring in Style Too, let me know!

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