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7 things to do to get Ready to Retire

7 things to do to get Ready to Retire

7 Things to do to Get Ready to Retire

Well, we just started empty nesting and now we have to think about retiring. We are still paying for college, but wait, do we have enough retirement savings to ever quit work or at least cut way back? You may have 20 years or more before you plan to retire, but it is time to get ready. Read on for 7 Things to do to Get Ready to Retire.

Get ready to retire pin

 7 Things to do to Get Ready to Retire

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.   

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT RETIREMENT TO LOOK LIKE

Does retirement mean not working at all? Does it mean part-time work? Where do you want to live? What kind of lifestyle do you want? Do you want that lifestyle to be the same as you live now? Do you want it to be more luxurious than your current lifestyle or do you want to live more austerely in return for not working or saving as much?

 

WHAT AM I ACTUALLY GOING TO DO?

When thinking about what you want retirement to look like it is fun to think about all of the things you are not going to do anymore – like work all the time. But, what do you actually want to do? Sitting around doing nothing gets boring after a while. Adjusting to not working or working a lot less will leave you with time on your hands. Like when you became an empty nester it is time to decide what you are going to do with your extra time. It can be really jarring to suddenly wake up with no place to go and nothing to do.

Take the Empty Nest Super Power Quiz if you have not done so. It can help you come up with some ideas. Another helpful post is Empty Nest Hobbies.

TAKE A RETIREMENT FINANCIAL CHECKUP

Now that you know what you desire for retirement, it is time to take a retirement financial checkup. There are a number of online options for completing this checkup. If you have your retirement savings at a particular brokerage house, use their checkup because it will incorporate your savings there. I did ours through Fidelity and was impressed with the 32 page report I was able to print out. It included estimates for spending and saving, as well as suggestions for possible changes in investment strategy.

Retiring requires retirement savings, so it is time to see where you are in your savings and where you need to be.

 

CONSIDER YOUR DEBT

None of us like to talk about debt and I am not a No Debt Ever Guru. For my thoughts on paying down your mortgage read Why You Should Not Pay Down Your Mortgage and Other Lessons from my Dad

However… there are a few things that do not go together like a leisurely retirement and credit card debt or excess mortgage debt and car loans. You are going to have to pay off any consumer debt before you retire and the sooner the better.

 

ADEQUATE INSURANCE

Are you adequately insured? We are not getting any younger, sister, so we have to prepare for some stuff. Long term care insurance or do you have the retirement savings to pay for long term care? Do you or your spouse still need life insurance? Term or whole life?

 

ESTATE PLAN

Estate planning is more than a will. You no longer have to make sure your kids have guardians in case you pass away, but at what age do you want them to receive your estate? Even a fairly small estate can be a stumbling block to a young adult or make them prey for people who might want to take advantage of them. What does probate look like in your state? Do you have a power of attorney and HIPPA releases in case you are incapacitated? Are your kids old enough and mature enough to make medical and financial decisions on your behalf? An estate plan includes naming people to make these decisions for you.

Spending money at the lawyer’s office is like buying tires for your cars. You are not going to post your new documents on Instagram for all your friends to coo over, but it has to be done.

 

MAKE THE PLAN

If you are 10+ years out, it is ok for the plan to be a bit fluid. We are still thinking on ours. As you walk through the 7 Steps to do to Get Ready for Retirement the number one priority is to determine if you will have enough savings and sources of income to fund the retirement you are envisioning.

 

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More from Almost Empty Nest:

crockpot meals for two
How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30

 

Many years ago I read an article about How to Make New Year’s Resolutions. The author said that you should make a resolution in each of these categories: financial, social, intellectual, and physical. Because I was a Christian, I added a spiritual category.

Several years later, after reading Mark 12:30, it occurred to me that every goal, whether physical, financial, social, or intellectual is ultimately a spiritual goal. We are called to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30) Our entire being works together in everything we do to honor our creator. This post tells you How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30.

A FREE PRINTABLE 18 Page Workbook is available to assist you as you make your New Year’s Resolutions.

How to Make New Year's Resolutions with Mark 12:30

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions using Mark 12:30

 

Taking time to review the year behind and plan for the year ahead is a process everyone should undertake. As the Christmas decorations come down and we begin to rest from the frenzy of the prior days, sitting down for a few hours with a notebook, a pen, and a warm beverage to plan the year ahead is a gift we should give ourselves. Here are some steps to help you through the process:

Meditate on Mark 12:30.

“Love the Lord your God with all your HEART (relationships with others) and with all your SOUL (relationship with God) and with all your MIND (my intellect and skills) and with all your STRENGTH (my body, my finances, my time, my surroundings.)

HEART: relationships with others. Think about the relationships in your life. What do you need to do to improve these relationships? What relationships do you need to let go of? Who do you need to forgive? How can you live at peace with yourself and others?

Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.”

SOUL: relationship with God. What do you need to do to become closer to God?

        Psalm 119:175:  “Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.”

        I can’t recommend enough reading the entire chapter of Psalm 119 as you think on your  relationship with God

MIND: A vast category of learning and expanding. It’s not a category of just eliminating the pollutants, but enriching our thoughts with good books, good ideas, new skills, new people. Learn something new this year and use that skill in service to God and man.

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

James 1:5:  “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

STRENGTH: physical goals – the bulk of most resolutions – weight, exercise, diet, finances, home improvement, careers, etc. This category could be called “taking care of business.”

These items are the things that strengthen or weaken our hearts, souls, and minds. If our “business” is out of whack, it strains our relationships with others and with God and keeps our minds focused in the wrong place. If our hearts, souls, and minds are out of whack, we have difficulty accomplishing our strengthening goals.

We may even add harmful habits to distract us from our hearts, souls, and minds. Think about what business you need to take care of. What to you need to do to keep your body healthy? How are you spending your money? Are you taking care of the home you are blessed with?

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Luke 11:36: “Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

Ephesians 4:1: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”

Put your goals in writing.

 The FREE PRINTABLE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION WORKBOOK is a great place to write down your goals for the new year! 

 

Run some tests.

  • Is it realistic? Is the goal reasonable and accomplish-able or is it just a fantasy?
  • Is it measurable? Should it be measurable? How will you know if you have accomplished your goal or not? Some goals are easy to measure. Did you clean out the closet and give unneeded items to charity or sell them as part of your financial goals? Others are not easily measured, like relationships. While there are concrete, measurable steps that can be taken in your relationships, in the end, only you will know if you are at peace in your relationships.
  • Is it about bananas? Is it a fad or a narrow dictate from an article or book? I reference the lowly banana because periodically I see an article citing the diabolical consequences of eating bananas. Having spent 7 years attending high school cross country and track meets observing thousands of abnormally skinny kids consume millions of pounds of bananas, I can assure you that banana peels make a mess, but they are not the sole cause of an expanding waistline. Realize that certain items, like health and finances, can not be improved with one gimmicky change.
  • Is it a good use of resources and time? There are things that are not worth your time or resources and can become an obsession.

Make a plan – a real one.

Write it down! All the steps! Write them down!

 Be accountable.   

I’m not talking about bearing your soul to everyone on Facebook; just decide who or what is going to spur you on.

 Finally, be patient with yourself.

Resolve to love the person God created and not the one you wished he had created. Just keep moving forward. You can do it.

A new year is a time for self-reflection and planning. Following the instructions for How to Make New Year’s Resolutions Using Mark 12:30 as a guide will help you keep your plans and goals in perspective of the ultimate goal. May you be blessed in the new year.

More From Almost Empty Nest:

Christmas Planner Template

Christmas Planner Template

Digital Christmas Planner Template

 

I use both paper planners and digital planners depending on what I am doing. This year I nerded out and created a complete Digital Christmas Planner Template because digital planners win every time there are numbers to be added.  Christmas lists and budgets and meals are items that are just complicated enough to need a digital Christmas Planner Template. I can’t imagine adding up my budget by hand or erasing and re-adding the numbers every time a change is made.

If you, however, prefer paper even when numbers are involved, check out Stress Less this Christmas for a link to a beautiful paper Christmas Planner created by a friend of mine.

Otherwise, read on to find out how to completely organize your Christmas meals, gift lists, budget, and more with my Digital Christmas Planner Template.

Christmas planner template

Digital Christmas Planner Template

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

 

This Digital Christmas Planner Template was created to be used with a FREE AirTable Account. AirTable is a super cool organization system that is kinda like a spreadsheet system, but WAY BETTER!! Cells can be formatted to be checkboxes, multiple choice items, dates, times, text, and more. This is awesome for Christmas organization because you need to plan meals and other gatherings, make grocery lists, make gift lists, decide on a budget, and it sure does help if your lists can talk to each other.

 

The ability for the sheets to talk to each other is one of the coolest things about AirTable.

You make a list of recipients on one sheet, then you are able to choose the recipient on your Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other shopping sheets.

THEN, it gets even better. The gifts will also appear by the recipient on the Gift Recipient sheet.

You can plan your meals by occasion. It does not even have to be a full meal. You could set up a meal for the treats you need to bring to your daughter’s classroom party.

You will then be able to select which meal or occasion every item on your grocery list goes with.

AirTable is also an APP that you can download on your phone so you will be able to take your lists with you everywhere you go. All the information will sync from your computer to your phone app.

Every good organization system needs a place for a “Brain Dump.” List everything you can think of that you need to get done. If you give it a date, that date will appear on your calendar.

This entire Christmas Planner Template works with a FREE AirTable Account.

Prefer Paper?

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester 

 

I receive so many emails from readers telling me about the loss of purpose they feel as their children leave home and become less dependent on them. It makes me ache because I have been there. I want to share with you 5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester.

For all of my empty nest posts: Empty Nest Posts

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

 5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

Becoming a mother gave me a purpose that I did not have to go looking for. It was immediately clear from the moment I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test what my purpose and calling were. I knew this child was from the Lord and it was my purpose to be his mother.

Then one day I hugged him goodbye in his new college town. I left with the realization that I had 5 years before I would leave all of my children at college. It had not occurred to me before that moment I would one day need to find something else to do besides live in my car dropping off and picking up kids.

I was so overwhelmed with the idea of working my way out of a job and the fear of what I was going to do I decided to write about it. I had heard about “blogging,” although I am not sure I had ever read one. I googled “how to start a blog” and began Almost Empty Nest.

It has been a bumpy ride with many stops and starts. It did not feel like a purpose at first, but it has become my calling. I recently wrote a calling statement:

I inspire, uplift, and transform women who are transitioning from a full nest to an empty nest so that they are able to let go, find their way, and embrace their empty nest.

I desire for you what I have found for myself – a purpose that never replaces your role as a mother, but gives you energy, fulfillment, and fun and allows you to share your God-given gifts with others.

Here are 5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

LET GO OF IMPOSSIBLE

You may believe that it is impossible to move past your grief. It is impossible at your age to start something new or to fulfill a long-held dream. There are too many barriers and roadblocks in the way.

Do you remember the story of Abraham and Sarah? The story where one week in Sunday school you learned about Abraham’s call to leave his home and father a new nation. A few weeks later you learned about the birth of his son Isaac. Unlike the Sunday School journey, the real journey required more than a few weeks. It took 24 years with more roadblocks, detours, and drama than a telenovela. God was faithful to Abraham and Sarah. He will be faithful to you. You will be able to overcome your grief and you will be able to find new purposes and adventures.

LET GO OF BAD HABITS

We moms spend years putting everyone else first. If it required putting off our own physical and mental health needs, we did that. We ate nachos in the bleachers and we pushed our mental health issues aside. We chaperoned youth group, but neglected our own spiritual growth. We fear we are selfish if we take care of ourselves. It is not selfish to maintain your physical, mental, and spiritual health.

We can look to Jesus as our example. He often withdrew to be alone with God. There were people clamoring for his attention, but even God in the flesh knew he needed restoration and he took it. If you have neglected your physical, spiritual, or mental health, now is the time to take action. Make an appointment with your doctor. Talk about any and all issues you need guidance on. Listen to the advice you are given. Invest in therapy if you feel it would be helpful. Invest in time with the Lord.

LET GO OF UNMET EXPECTATIONS

We compare our arrival at midlife with the standard we see on our friends’ social media and on their rows at church filled with seemingly loving husbands, successful children, and adorable grandchildren. If our marriage is floundering, our adult child is asleep at home, and our greatest longings are unfulfilled, our minds are like an episode of “Hoarders,” cramped and dark with the debris and rubble of unmet expectations and years of disappointment.

It is not until we put these expectations and disappointments in perspective that we will look forward with a clear vision of the infinite possibilities available in God’s creation. 

Look to the Israelites at the time of Christ. They spent hundreds of years yearning to restore the Davidic kingdom. By focusing only on this singular expectation most missed the most amazing gift ever given, Jesus Christ. Don’t miss what God has in store for you.

FIND YOUR WAY TO PURPOSE

New purpose will not come overnight. It may be a long and arduous trial and error journey or you may discover it right away. Use every self-discovery tool at your disposal to find your gifts and reveal where you are stuck. Some tools you can use are a spiritual gifts assessment, the Strengths Finder, and an Enneagram assessment. I recommend the book The Road Back to You as a companion to your enneagram assessment. You can find free enneagram assessments and spiritual gifts assessments through Google. I don’t have a particular ones I recommend.

FIND YOUR WAY FORWARD 

Many life coaches and goal achievement methods recommend creating a vision board. A vision board is a collage of pictures and words revealing your dreams and goals. It is meant to inspire you. Inspiration is awesome, but you cannot stop there.

Progress requires more than a pretty vision board filled with inspiring pictures of perfect rooms, projects, and accomplishments. It requires backside in a chair, notebook in hand, calendar in the other, and the willingness to give up comfort and excuses.

The Apostle Paul had the singular goal of spreading the news of Jesus Christ. Everything he did and said was channelled through this goal. He planned his journeys, he considered who was accompanying him, and he did not let shipwrecks, imprisonment, or enemies dissuade him. Give your goals the planning and time they deserve.

 

Finding Purpose after your children leave home is not a journey for the faint of heart. You are up for the challenge. Give yourself some time to grieve and process the change in your life, but then get after it! Use these 5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester as a guide.

 

MORE EMPTY NEST RESOURCES:

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters
best books on parenting adult children
Bible verses for empty nesters

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More from Almost Empty Nest:

crockpot meals for two
Gifts for Empty Nesters

Gifts for Empty Nesters

Gifts For Empty Nesters

 

Gifts for Empty Nesters are not hard to find if you know what to look for. Whether single or married, an empty nester is going through a big change as the children leave home. Some are excited about the new possibilities and others are downright depressed. Gifts that take into account their new household size and new routines will always be appreciated.

For more ideas:

Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

Digital Christmas Planner

Gifts for empty nesters

Gifts for Empty Nesters

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

Empty Nest Gift Box

Is this not the cutest? The Confetti Gift Company on Etsy makes these gift boxes with a funny card, cocktail mug, candle, polka dot matches, 2 yummy cookies, and a small envelope of confetti. It is sure to cheer up a couple who has just dropped their last child off at college.

Gifts for Empty Nesters

Cooking for Two Cookbook

One of the things that is hardest for a new empty nesting couple to adjust to is cooking for a smaller household. The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook has over 650 recipes and tips for shopping and storing leftovers and ingredients. You can read my complete review of this cookbook at The Best Cooking for Two Cookbook.

Luggage Tags

I love these luggage tags! The new empty nester is definitley on a new adventure. Even if they cannot travel the world because they are busy working to pay for college, they can use them when they go to Parent’s Weekend at the college.

A Great Book

Check out 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters and find a great book for the new empty nest mom.

A Fun Mug

This Empty Nest mom mug is so fun and would make an excellent gift for a new empty nester. Add a book or gift card, wrap in cellophane with a fluffy bow and you have a perfect gift.

gifts for empty nesters

Throw Blanket

After having teenagers in the house for however many years, pretty much everything in their house is worn out – from towels to throw blankets. A new throw blanket like the ones from Barefoot Dreams (the absolute softest ones ever) will definitely be appreciated.

Empty Nest Ornament

I love this handmade bread dough empty nest ornament!

empty nest ornament
gifts for empty nesters

Beautiful Sign

This beautiful chalkboard sign would be a welcome addition to any empty nester’s kitchen. What a wonderful sentiment to share with their adult children.

Adults and Crafts Gift Box

Does she (or he) like to craft? Adults and Crafts is a gift box with all of the tools and supplies to complete a craft. A new craft is featured each month. You can give one month or a subscription.

gifts for empty nesters
Gifts for Empty Nesters

My Garden Box

Send a My Garden Box. It contains everything you need to build relaxing, rewarding, and enriching garden projects, including live plants (variety of indoor and outdoor plants). With visually illustrated instructions, simple garden care tips, and properly portioned ingredients, assembly is fun & easy! 

Gourmet Food Basket

What would could better to go with their wine than a gourmet food basket. This one even ships Amazon Prime.

Gifts for Empty Nesters

TheraBox

You cannot go wrong with a TheraBox of self-care, stress reducing products. 

Gift Cards

Reintroduce the new empty nesters to going somewhere besides their child’s ball games. Raise has discounted gift cards for everything you can think of – movies, restaurants, and stores. If they are planning a home improvement project, then get a Lowe’s or Home Depot card. New hobbies? How about Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. The possibilities are endless.

Finding gifts for empty nesters is not that hard. They are beginning a new stage in life and there are a million possibilites for their new normal. Treat them to a night out or to anything that will help them adjust. 

Join the Community

Join the Almost Empty Nest Community and receive FREE ACCESS to the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. The Printables Library includes every printable on Almost Empty Nest - A Year of Care Package Printables, Gift Tags, College Preparation Checklists, Additional Care Package Printables (Birthday, March Madness, the Super Bowl, additional Halloween and finals), Bible Verse printables and more.

 

 

If your prefer not to join, you may purchase the printables HERE.

More Gift Ideas:

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

 

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

 

Are you looking for a book on parenting adult children? I think many people are, but the problem is that so few have been written. I have read many books on empty nesting, but only 3 solely dedicated to Parenting Adult Children. While I am sorry I can’t give you a long list of the best books on parenting adult children, I will share with you what I have found.

For more information about parenting adult children:

Parenting Adult Children

10 Best Books about Empty Nesting: Many of these books have sections about adult children

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

 

best books on parenting adult children

Best Books On Parenting Adult Children

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

“Empty Nest, Full Life” by Jill Savage

This book is about empty nesting, but the entire first section deals with our adult children.

This book is the deepest, most vulnerable, and raw of all of the books I read. The first half of the book concerns relationships with adult children. Jill has truly struggled and come out the other side including loving her homosexual son and his friends and dealing with mental illness in another son. Her insight into what drives us as parents to try to control our adult children and beat ourselves up if they do not “turn out” like we would have wanted is unmatched in any of the other books I read.

A quote:

“… I’d made my children’s behavior an idol. I was using them to define myself. In order to have a healthy relationship with my kids, I had to let go of my idols.”

 

“Doing Life with Your Adult Children” by Jim Burns

Best Quote in the Book: 

“No parent wants to see a child end up homeless, make unwise decisions, or lead a negative lifestyle. But this is where parents must face their fears and decide what is best for their child in the long run.”

“Doing Life with your Adult Children” is a practical guide to having good relationships with your grown children. He covers topics such as when to insert your opinion, avoiding entitlement, in-laws, and stepfamilies, grandchildren, and financial planning (including estate planning) with your kids.

best books on parenting adult children

“Praying the Scriptures for your Adult Children” by Jodie Berndt

Best Quote in the Book: 

“God doesn’t want us to trust in an outcome, he wants us to trust in him.” This quote comes from the Epilogue of the book, but it is a great summary for the book.

“Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children”  is as much about praying over ourselves as it is praying for our children. One of the biggest struggles we moms face as our children grow up is letting them go and giving them and their decisions to the Lord.

best books on parenting adult children

“How to Really Love Your Adult Child” by Gary Chapman  and Ross Campbell, MD

 

At first I was not too sure about this book. It starts with a long dialogue about our culture and its affects on our kids. While culture is always a factor in all of our lives, I don’t find it helpful to wring our hands over it and give up. As I moved into the chapters the advice became much more practical and helpful.

Ross Campbell is a psychiatrist specializing in children and family issues. Gary Chapman is a minister and counselor. I appreciate the expertise of a physician especially when dealing with depression, ADHD, and other issues in our children.

Unfortunately that’s all there is folks in my list of Best Books on Parenting Adult Children. I reviewed one more book. It was written in 2008 and seemed out of date. The author was talking about being pregnant in 1965! Her child is older than I am, so I did not include it. 

 

What is Your

Empty Nest Super Power?

How to Own Your Nest, Live your Passion, and Love your Life!

 

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