Tips for making the most of your retirement


(StatePoint) The conceptions and realities of retirement have changed a great deal over the past several decades, giving many seniors misgivings about the future. But you can still be happy, healthy and productive, say experts.

“For many individuals, confusion, fear and an overwhelming sense of powerlessness accompany the prospect of growing old in America. The good news is that we have power to address these concerns,” says Scott Page, author of the new book “It’s Never Too Late: Getting Older, Wiser, and Worry-Free in our Golden Years.”

Are you retired or approaching the end of your working life? Are you concerned about an older parent or loved one? Here, Page offers expert tips on living better:

Living Ideas
Reducing housing expenses can have an extra upside. For example, downsizing your empty nest offers you the benefit of less house to maintain. Moving to a region of the country cheaper than your current area may take you somewhere sunnier, warmer and better suited for aging.

Another popular way to live more frugally is to consider taking on a roommate. “Co-living arrangements like the ‘The Golden Girls’ are becoming more popular with single or widowed seniors. It helps save money and can be beneficial for socialization and support,” says Page.

Make Money
You can rake in extra income that doesn’t feel like work. Review your talents and hobbies. Are you an excellent baker, a talented woodworker or musician?

“Seniors often have a lot of time on their hands, and they may be able to transform hobbies or interests into a way to make a little money,” says Page, who points out that such activities can also be an excellent way to stay engaged and active, keeping minds and bodies vibrant.

Saving Tips
Don’t be shy about using the age card. After all, you have worked hard for it. Senior discounts are available at restaurants, stores, on travel, adult education classes and gym memberships, and sites like Restaurant.com or Groupon have special bargain days for seniors.

You can also save by eliminating unnecessary expenses. For example -- do you still need that landline telephone? Can you bundle certain services to help reduce costs?

Do an inventory of your possessions to determine which objects to keep and which to discard or sell.

Connect with Friends
Consider planning meals with a support network.

“Maybe Sally takes Monday nights, Judy takes Wednesday nights and Sarah takes Friday nights,” says Page. “Cooking for more than one person encourages community, and can be cost-effective if everyone is sharing in the responsibility.”

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