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For many people, the transition into retirement can be planned over 3-5 years, with reduced working during that time making the transition easier to handle.  But age, health, and workplace conditions have pushed many senior workers to put their well-being ahead of other considerations and retire early in response to the impact of the pandemic, which has added to the normal stress that comes with leaving the workforce. Social distancing and other public health recommendations are making it harder for retirees to stay active and create new schedules that will make retirement fulfilling.

Here are three ways you can navigate the retirement transition safely during Covid-19 while still connecting with people, enriching yourself, and having fun.

  1. Be together separately.

Although we’re still learning new things about Covid-19 every day, some consensus has emerged on how to interact safely with people you’re not living with: stay outside; main a minimum six-foot distance; wear a face mask; wash your hands thoroughly and often.

So, while meeting other couples at restaurants probably isn’t a great idea right now, it’s possible to have garden get togethers. For an extra layer of safety, have everyone bring their own food, drinks, and chairs.

Outdoor sports are another option, especially activities like bike rides and walking or hiking where everyone keeps moving and can maintain their distance. And though most public health experts advise against sports that require sharing equipment, games like golf and tennis can be played safely if everyone brings their own gear.

The pandemic is affecting communities across the country in very different ways. But wherever you live, exposure to Covid-19 is a high risk for older members of the community, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Please review guidelines from your local health officials and talk to your doctor if you’re considering activities with people outside your household.

  1. Make new online connections.

The new tech skills you learned while coping with lockdown open a world of virtual options in retirement.

By now you’ve probably mastered video chat, but many of the same apps you’ve been using also allow you to watch movies and play games with friends and family.

If you picked up a new interest from all the free quarantine classes on social media, you could pursue that subject with more formal online learning. Dedicated online education platforms are plentiful; your local university or community college might have new online programs as well. Plus, colleges and universities often offer discounted enrollment to seniors.

The pandemic forced organizations of all shapes and sizes to restructure and move at least some of their operations online. You might actually have more part-time job or volunteer opportunities available to you right now. And as more people do more business online, you might spot an ideal niche to plant your own flag and start your own dream company, all from the comfort of home.

  1. Review your retirement plan.

The plan you’ve worked on should built so that you can make adjustments as your needs and goals evolve. Early retirement is a significant change. You’ll need to review your retirement budget and projected annual withdrawal rate. You’ll need to discuss if early retirement is going to change your living arrangements. You should review your will and estate planning documents and go over any potential changes with your attorneys and tax professionals.

In short, you need to talk to a professional. The work you’ve put into following your plan and growing your nest egg should mean that you have options. We’re here to help you chart the best path forward and start the next chapter of your life.

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