Liahona
Smooth into Retirement
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“Smooth into Retirement,” Liahona, January 2022

Aging Faithfully

Smooth into Retirement

With planning, retirement can be a time of joy, fulfillment, and service.

Retirement

Illustrations by Carolyn Vibbert

Being released from the constraints of daily work when you retire can bring a sense of freedom, a time to enjoy recreational activities and being with family, and the chance to devote more time to your family history, temple work, and other projects you enjoy. But if you’re constantly concerned about finances, worried about staying occupied, or otherwise not fully prepared, retirement can be a time of stress and anxiety.

Whether you’re already ready or you feel like retirement’s sneaking up on you, a look at the experiences others have had with retirement may help you smooth into your own retirement.

How Are Your Finances?

Julie (names have been changed) was smart. She set a financial plan in motion when she was in her 30s and stuck to it. “If you’re talking to your children or grandchildren about finances, remind them that they need to start setting money aside when they’re young,” she says. “That way they can build a reserve over time and earn interest too.”

But Julie’s number-one rule is “I always pay my tithing first.” Over the years, she says, “the Lord has opened the windows of heaven to me in more ways than I can number” (see Malachi 3:10). She quotes President Russell M. Nelson: “Your investments in tithing will continue to pay rich dividends—here and hereafter.”1

Julie, who lives in California, USA, had health insurance to help pay for her husband’s healthcare costs and money saved for funeral expenses. After he passed away, she continued to work until she felt she had sufficient for her needs. Now that she’s retiring, she owns her own home and has a little money set aside for a mission. She looks forward to visiting each of her children and taking grandchildren to the theater and museums. “I’m not wealthy,” she says, “but I have enough money to make great memories with my family.”

Can You Live within Your Means?

Even if you haven’t planned ahead as well as you would have liked, you can still make plans. Those plans, however, may require a shift in lifestyle.

Many retirees have to adjust when they realize they don’t have the income they once did. Rene, for example, lived in a nice apartment in Michigan, USA. But when she retired, her Social Security and pension weren’t enough to meet her expenses. Finances became such a worry that her children suggested she look into low-income housing.

She found a retirement residence and moved in. “I’m stress-free now because I have enough money to live on,” she says. “I like my new ward and neighbors, and this apartment is perfect for family parties.”

How Much Can You Manage?

For years, Jerry and Linda of Colorado, USA, had lived in a large home with a big yard and a swimming pool. “We spent an inordinate amount of time each year just mowing lawns, raking leaves, and maintaining the pool,” Jerry says. “Finally, we decided we would rather spend time with our children and grandchildren and that we wanted to go on a mission.”

“We moved into a smaller home,” Linda says. “There’s less to take care of, and it even has a basement apartment we can rent out to have some extra income.”

In Athens, Greece, Ismena downsized by moving into the grandparent apartment in her home after her husband passed away. She gave the main house to her daughter, Helena, and her family. “It makes more sense for the growing family to have the larger place,” Ismena says. “I asked my sister Delphine to live with me, and we love caring for the grandchildren while Helena and her husband are at work. Many nights we have dinner and scripture study with everyone.”

What about Fitness and Health Care?

Sung, from Seoul, South Korea, believes a healthy body means a long life. Sung also says he is able to think better if he exercises regularly. He and other members of his neighborhood have organized an exercise group that meets daily.

Many retirees have health problems and can’t follow Sung’s exercise example, but most can at least find ways to go walking, and many can choose a healthier diet.

Frieda, who lives in Hamburg, Germany, needs special medical care that her family can’t provide. So she lives in a facility where she can receive proper treatment. She keeps in touch with her children and enjoys the associations in her retirement community.

What Will You Do with Your Time?

Retirement

In Lagos, Nigeria, when a schoolteacher named Abasi retired, he felt lonely and missed working with young people. Eager to find something to do, with the help of his community he opened a private school. He loves being with kids again.

David, of Utah, USA, had some health concerns that forced him to finally retire at age 72. While he recovered, his wife, Sheila, continued serving as ward Relief Society president. When she was released, they talked with their bishop about other service opportunities, and the bishop suggested that David could use his experience as a human resources administrator and Sheila could use her background as an employment counselor to serve at a Church employment center.

They were soon called on a service mission. “We love it,” David says. “We both get to do things we know how to do, and we can serve at our own pace.”

Many retirees find satisfaction as service missionaries, senior missionaries, or volunteers providing community service. Chances are you have particular skills that could bless others and help you contribute in meaningful ways. You don’t even have to wait until you retire. You can start today by exploring service opportunities where you live. Check with schools, community centers, libraries, and so on. In areas where JustServe.org is available, check listings to see what you can do to help. Then when you retire, you’ll already have a feel for things you might be able to do.

What Are the Best Things to Do?

As you move into retirement, you can smooth your way by planning goals that will work for you. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, gave this advice: “As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best.”2

With that counsel in mind, here are some things you may wish to consider after you retire:

  • Continue to make the Savior the center of your life.

  • Serve a mission—or several missions.

  • Focus on family history and temple work.

  • Spend time with your family.

  • Volunteer in your community.

  • Start a vegetable garden. Share what you grow.

  • Help grandchildren or other students with their studies.

  • Enroll in free online learning opportunities.

  • Learn a new skill or hobby.

  • Feast on the scriptures.

  • Develop or continue an exercise program to maintain your health and strengthen your body.

As President Russell M. Nelson has said: “I invite you to turn your heart, mind, and soul increasingly to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Let that be your new normal.”3 With planning, you will be able to anticipate and embrace retirement as a time of new beginnings.