Most older working Americans face serious retirement planning challenges: To generate enough money to afford retirement, they’ll either need to work beyond age 65, reduce their standard of living, or do some combination of the two. These are tough challenges, and most people will need help. And that’s where Rover comes in!
Here are five retirement planning tips that your dog can help you out with:
Tip # 1: Do a phased transition from working.
Dogs have important responsibilities—guarding the house, playing with the children or grandchildren, providing emotional comfort to the family, and so on. But they don’t work full time at these responsibilities and then stop altogether when they reach an arbitrary age.
Instead, as their energy and mobility decreases, they gradually reduce their activities and gladly continue as long as their aging bodies allow. If dogs were human, we’d call this “phased retirement” or “downshifting.” It’s a more natural life transition that can improve our retirement finances, health, and longevity.
Tip #2: Spend less in retirement.
Dogs are happy as long as their basic needs are met—they aren’t depressed if they don’t have as much stuff as they used to have.
Dogs are masters at balancing the “magic formula for retirement security”:
Income > Expenses
You’ll need to decide how you can make this magic formula—having income be greater than expenses—work for you, so you can meet your basic living expenses and be satisfied with your life.
Since human’s largest retirement expense is typically housing, that’s where humans can start to reduce their living expenses in retirement. Humans can take inspiration from their dogs, who wouldn’t complain if they had to move into a smaller doghouse.
Tip #3: Volunteer.
Dogs are always glad to help their humans and dog friends with just about anything they need. Humans would benefit by taking inspiration from this. A recent Sightlines report from the Stanford Center on Longevity shows that volunteering might offer older people significant health benefits, such as:
- a reduced risk of hypertension,
- lower mortality rates,
- delayed physical disability,
- enhanced cognition,
- lower rates of depression,
- higher levels of life satisfaction, and
- decreased physical dependency.
And these days, the world needs plenty of help! Volunteering is a great way for retirees to spend some of their newfound freedom from work and to share their lifelong accumulation of knowledge.
Tip #4: Nurture social relationships.
Dogs are always glad to see their family and dog friends, usually greeting them with a happy expression and plenty of tail-wags. As a result, families typically try very hard to make their dog’s life comfortable and satisfying.
As humans age into their 70s, 80s, and 90s, they’ll become increasingly dependent on others to pitch in and help. It’s a great idea to consciously build your social portfolio now, not only for your enjoyment of life but also when you need help with hands-on, instrumental support in your later years.
Tip #5: Exercise daily.
Research shows that exercise is one of the best ways to maintain your vitality and reduce cognitive decline in your later years. Here’s where dogs and humans can team up: Dogs like to walk every day, which happens to be one of the best exercises for humans. Try taking your dog for a walk for at least 30 to 45 minutes every day.
In addition to these five tips, dogs offer excellent examples of what not to do. For example, dogs usually eat anything that humans put in front of them. Older humans can’t afford to be so carefree about the food they eat. Good nutrition can help improve your health and longevity, and help reduce your medical costs.