It is estimated that at least 10,000 people turn 65 every day in America. During the COVID-19 shutdown (March, 2020 through April, 2021) that means over 4 million people became “seniors”. What should they expect of their senior years in a post-pandemic world? What strategies will work for them in planning for life after COVID-19?
- Get vaccinated
First and foremost, doctors and the CDC recommend that seniors be vaccinated. Once you are vaccinated, you can return to the activities you enjoyed before the pandemic. Not only are you safe, but your grandchildren are safer because you are vaccinated. The CDC provides the following list of indoor and outdoor activities that can be resumed when fully vaccinated.
- Attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission
- Dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households
- Attend a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event
- Visit a barber or hair salon
- Go to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum
- Attend a small, indoor gathering of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Go to an indoor movie theater
- Attend a full-capacity worship service
- Sing in an indoor chorus
- Participate in an indoor, high intensity exercise class
Unvaccinated people attending these events will be expected to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.
- Check on your retirement funds
According to information published by Generations: American Society on Aging, a January 2021 poll found that as of last November, nearly 60 percent of Americans withdrew or borrowed money from an IRA or 401(k) during the pandemic, and 63 percent used those retirement savings to cover basic living expenses. If this includes you, now is the time to review your retirement financial plans.
While it might be tempting to start collecting on Social Security now, benefits can be reduced by as much as 30 percent when collecting even five years earlier than planned. Calling the local office of Social Security is your best move to get the information you need when considering this option. Just make sure you’re prepared to wait on hold for a while. There are many others who are exploring their options. But be patient, it is worth the wait to get assistance from an expert.
And if waiting another year or two is the best option, then consider a part-time or seasonal job. Returning to the workforce might not have been in your plan, but there are some exciting options to consider.
- Starting a new business
According to AARP, success at starting a new business increases with age, even into one’s 60s and 70s. Your experience and skills can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. After all, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals at the age of 76.
Considering that the Boomer generation now includes about 73 million people in the US, there’s a very large audience for products that help them (you) improve their everyday lives.
Starting a business, or introducing a new product to this demographic takes fortitude but the rewards are well worth it.
An article in Inventor’s Digest from 2018 states that Charles Greeley Abbot became secretary of the Smithsonian Institution at age 56. At 99, he invented a solar cooker that used the energy of direct sunlight to cook food and heat beverages. At that time, he became the oldest person to receive a patent and may still hold the record as the oldest inventor.
- Invest in improving your digital skills
Many older adults have increased comfort with and willingness to use new technology to survive in an increasingly digital world. Whether working from home, staying in touch with family and friends, ordering groceries, conducting telemedicine visits or attending church services virtually, many older adults had no choice but to master new skills. Even volunteering during the pandemic required mastering new digital skills.
Use those new skills to secure a job working from home. From bookkeeping to consulting, editing online or teaching English, this article offers many ideas for you to make use of those skills and experience.
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If you feel like you need to brush up or expand your digital skills, check out local classes and workshops or access the free resources and workshops available at www.fintech.aarpfoundation.org.
And, if you want proof that starting your own business, becoming an entrepreneur, and totally changing your direction as a senior works… Golden Bridges’ owners were all over 50 when we found senior move management. Combining our collective experience in healthcare management, insurance and retail operations we have now provided services to more than one hundred clients. Whether moving, downsizing, organizing, and resettling seniors – or staging homes for sale or as a bed and breakfast – we have used those skills to help people live life better.
Susan Scholz, Partner
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