#100 Retirement Real Talk: Honest Conversations About Life After Work

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Listen to the Full Episode:

Are you ready to retire?

Have you considered the emotional part of this journey? Are you and your spouse on the same page about your golden years and have the same expectations?

Let’s discuss long-term plans, the difficult situations that life can bring, and the importance of ensuring you enjoy your golden years and create memories with your family!

Join hosts Micah Shilanski and Tammy Flanagan as they explore honest conversations about life after work. From financial planning to emotional preparedness, they cover it all, helping you navigate retirement gracefully and practically.

What We Cover:

  • Retirement – the next chapter in your life
  • How can you stay active and engaged after retirement
  • Caregiving responsibilities
  • Long – term care planning and retirement spending
  • What mistakes that retirees make
    • Spend too much
    • Spend too little
    • Not enough hobbies for aging.   
  • How do you create the memories that you want to have?
  • Charitable giving

Action Items:

  1. Create your LTC plan
  2. What does your life after retirement look like
  3. How to plan for memories 

Resources for this Episode:

Ideas Worth Sharing:

There's nothing worse than making decisions in crisis mode. Yeah. And oftentimes, that's what happens. – Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet

Making sure you create plans, because then you're gonna face the higher rates for Medicare. You're gonna have to take more money out when you're facing required distributions. – Tammy Flanagan Click To Tweet

It's part of the challenges that you have in life, right? And good or bad is irrelevant, right? These are the challenges that you have. And so how were you going to take care of them while taking care of yourself. – Micah Shilanski Click To Tweet

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Micah Shilanski  00:46

Welcome to the Plan Your Federal Retirement podcast. I’m your co host Micah Shilanski and with me as usual the amazing Tammy Flanagan. Tammy, how’s it going?

Tammy Flanagan  00:55

It’s great to be here. Micah. I’m happy to join you again on our podcast and talked about some very important information about life after retirement.

Micah Shilanski  01:04

Yes, that is super good. I always love Tammy when you and I can kind of jam on these things and kind of walk through them from many different reasons. Right? But it’s really bringing in a lot of different experience into these situations. And I think Tammy, and I’m guilty of this and probably not you as much but I’m definitely guilty of stepping up and getting so excited about building up to the retirement process, because that’s my job right? That’s really what I’m focused on helping clients with, in sometimes we can lose sight of the bigger picture, which is life after retirement, which is that exciting next chapter and the things that are coming up.

Tammy Flanagan  01:40

That’s right, because we do an awful lot of pre retirement planning and most of our audience probably are in those pre retirement years. So we tend to think about retirement as a financial event, but also maybe an emotional event as well because I usually say in my classes, we have to be not only financially ready, but mentally prepared, because this is a big transition in your life and it’s not just about having enough money because there are people I talked to and I’m sure you do too, every single day who have plenty of money to retire, which is kind of nice, you know, not everybody is so fortunate, but they’re not leaving because they love what they do or they’re afraid of what they’re gonna do or not do once they retire you know. It could be about the friendships, it could be about just the schedule. There are so many things that we must consider as we’re starting to think about what is that life after retirement going to look like? And how do we make it something to look forward to?

Micah Shilanski  02:36

And just because it’s Bob down the street or Sue down the street doing something doesn’t mean your retirement needs to be reflected to that and, and Tammy, on on a personal side to kind of talk about I’ll talk about my dad who’s 73-74 And so in the you know, that retirement age for sure, but we still keep them really active inside of the business in the financial planning of Shilanski and Associates and a couple of things with that – one his friends especially because we have a great family we all get together including us with with their friends, and my parents friends will really get on us be like What are you doing, keeping your dad working so much? He needs to be retired, he needs to be doing these other things, etc. And I think the piece that they’re missing is they’re putting their retirement on him. He likes being active. He helps a lot of people, he has 40 plus years of experience. He has a wealth of knowledge and an asset that we have. Right? And so his retirement focus is different than his friends retirement that want to be fully unplugged. They don’t want anything to do with work, etc. And he’s like, No, I created Shilanski and Associates, my kids are running it, I want to be involved in it. And he gets to come in as the chairman emeritus. He gets to help us with things. And that really helps and we enjoy it because it keeps our family connected. So the example I want to give is retirement can look different. And that’s okay. Right?

Tammy Flanagan  03:54

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head because for some people retirement is to get away from that structure to get away from that you know, routine of everyday getting up at 5am and getting in the traffic and you all of those things that are part of a nine to five job, but I think you and I and your dad as well, you know, we’re fortunate that we’ve kind of been self employed all these years. So we schedule our time we can schedule our time off. So it’s a little different. I think when you have careers such as we’ve had that we’ve been fortunate to have. I do meet a lot of federal employees who feel the same way because they are they’re at the point in their career, where they do have some flexibility they have a ton of needs that are not that anxious to to leave with have nothing on the plate to do right. But then I’ll meet people like someone who might work at Social Security that deals with the public every day, and not such a pleasant exchange like we have. Your client is to come to us and they’re happy and great. Sometimes people come to Social Security that aren’t so happy and you only have so many hours in the day and you’ve got the line out the door, so I’m sure you’re in a job like that you’re probably just anxious to retire because it’s just so stressful. So yeah, it’s different the way you come out of government as far as what that next phase is gonna look like, whether it’s still continuing to keep your foot in the door, or whether it’s going to be let’s do something totally different and just relax. Let’s find a way to really have some fun in this next chapter of our life.

Micah Shilanski  05:26

Yeah Tammy, and I love it. You nailed it, right it’s about water you want to focus on and it’s I think both of us would agree – you need some type of plan. What I don’t want to see is I’m just going to you know sleep in or watch television. Okay, that’s a path to death right? You’re you’re going to… that’s not what we want. We want an active retirement. And that activity can look a little bit different. Now, Tammy,, I know we got some good things we want to talk about on that, but we have a heavy topic we need to talk about we don’t want to end on so maybe we mess up our timeline a little bit. We have a little bit closer to the end of the timeline kind of things. Let’s talk about some caregiving things that come up that we need to have it our plan, is that okay? 

Tammy Flanagan  06:01

Absolutely. Because it is an important topic and we have so many people, you’ve had this in your family, I have it in mind as well. My mother was a caregiver, my brother right now is a caregiver for his wife. And so in many of our lives, you’re not going to be alone if you find yourself in this situation where someone needs your help, someone needs assistance or supervision, then it can be your spouse and that can be a very difficult place to find yourself when you’re, you know, expecting this wonderful time of travel together and doing things together. And then there’s an illness or there’s dementia or other things that can really put a cramp in that lifestyle and you have to really pivot and change gears to figure out what’s this going to look like as a caregiver and how do I get over the guilt of, you know, still enjoying life while my spouse might be suffering?

Micah Shilanski  06:52

I think that’s a great question. And these are things that we need to talk about in advance and we need to kind of come up with a plan for it because caregiver guilt is a very real thing and where we see this is a lot less in the professional sense of professional caregivers, nurses, long term care homes, etc. Right? Because it’s their job and they come in. The caregiver guilt that I see is from a loved one, it is from a spouse, a child or a parent, right? Those are kind of the three categories that I mainly see it and where they’re providing care, and they don’t allow anyone else and “Micah, no one’s going to do as good a job as I’m going to do. No one’s going to care like I care. No one’s going to look for these things like I look for these things”. And you know what…

Tammy Flanagan  07:31

You’re right. Yeah, you are right. And it’s okay. It’s okay. 

Micah Shilanski  07:35

But it’s… Yeah, Tammy. That’s right. It’s It’s okay, right? Sometimes we have to step down for what’s acceptable and not what’s ideal, and that sounds easy when it’s someone else. But that’s really hard when we have to make that decision that affects our family members.

Tammy Flanagan  07:50

That’s right. And you have to have that conversation because you make sure that you’ve told that loved one like if something happens to me, you’re like, Don’t do like my dad did. And he said, Just shoot me. I was like, we’re not going to shoot you. You know, he said, well, the VA will take care of me. Well, the VA didn’t take care of him because he only had four years of active only but he had four years of active duty. They were full, you know, the beds were were taken by disabled vets, by military retirees so there’s an order of precedence and there just wasn’t a bed available. So we had to make other plans and it was difficult for my mom to make that decision. But I have to tell you once it was all said and done within weeks following that, it’s like this big weight was lifted off of her and I don’t think she’d expected to feel relief. I think she expected to feel horrible, and she really didn’t. She got her life back. She was able to visit him every day and spend time with him, but yet have much more of her life to herself. And most importantly, she can sleep all night without worrying about him getting up during, you know, out of the house or whatever else he might have been doing. So yeah, there’s a lot of guilt and there’s a lot of conversation that needs to happen ahead of time. Just to be sure.

Micah Shilanski  09:05

So Tammy, I haven’t felt a magic pill to or even heard about one that’s gonna eradicate that guilt, right, where you don’t have it. But there’s things that you can do in advance to set up for it where you have less of it. And so one of those things is having a really in depth conversation with your spouse, with your loved ones, with your parents, right, about what’s the plan. And you know, when someone makes a joking comment that says, oh, you know, put me on a glacier, right? That’s that’s the Alaska thing. It’s not… should be on an iceberg Micah. It’s like okay, well, you know, that’s illegal. Right? So we’re not definitely not going for that one. But it’s like, okay, that’s kind of a funny joking comment, but that doesn’t solve the problem. And we gotta take some adult thing here and some responsibility and say that you’re not doing your care plan for you. You’re doing it for your loved ones, because that’s the condition you’re going to put them in.

Tammy Flanagan  09:54

Yeah, it can be in order to also be financial. Yeah. So you know, one of the things that we did and I think a lot of people are thinking about this today is to buy that long term care insurance. So it is less of a financial burden. But that doesn’t solve the problem on the emotional side because it’s still something you’re very hesitant to do as a family caregiver.

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Micah Shilanski  11:09

What are my rules Tammy, I know you’re on the same page of this, is everyone needs a long term care plan. That doesn’t mean you have to have long term care insurance, that can be part of a plan, but you gotta have a plan. I was talking to clients with it last week or so. The home that they have has been great for them. It’s been amazing, but it’s a lot of upkeep. And now they’re about mid 70s. And we said okay, guys, we got a couple more years and we got to start making some decisions. they’re active, they’re healthy, they can do all these things. While they’re still in a good state, we need to move to something that’s easier to maintain, or we got to bring somebody in who can maintain this right? Which direction do we want to go? But what I don’t want to see happen is all of a sudden they’re not able to take care of it mentally or physically. And now they’re in what became a very safe home now is a quasi dangerous home for them. I want them to make that trade while they’re healthy, right?

Tammy Flanagan  11:10

There’s nothing worse than making decisions in crisis mode. Yeah. And oftentimes, that’s what happens. Mom fell, dad had a stroke. You know, something serious happened all of a sudden, where you went overnight from being independent to becoming very dependent, and it’s not going to get better. So like you said, like and making some plans ahead of time. talking it over put it in writing I like what you wrote before we started today’s put that down in writing so that I can look at that and see oh, yeah, you did say that’s okay with you. I’m not to feel guilty, even though maybe I do. But um, I think those are all things we can do to help make peace with with the circumstances and try to figure out ways to accept what’s happening and make make the best of it. I hate to say make the best of it. But you have to look on the bright side.

Micah Shilanski  12:45

It’s part of the challenges that you have in life, right? And good or bad is irrelevant, right? These are the challenges that you have. And so how were you going to take care of them while taking care of yourself. That just hits home with Tammy and I for a lot of personal reasons. And we see a lot of clients that run into the same thing. So that’s the reason we’re talking about it today. But Tammy, why don’t we transition to a more happy note about retirement? How about that?

Tammy Flanagan  13:09

What’s what’s next on our list of wonderful life after retirement topics?

Micah Shilanski  13:14

Well, I would say that there’s a couple of mistakes that retirees make, right? Then it could be in two different categories, but one is they spend too much, but the other one is they spend too little. And so this is a hard balance right? You’re really trying to find a Goldilocks that’s right here. But we run into a lot of clients. I want to talk about the spending too little part. We run into a lot of clients that have done a great job saving, they got everything paid off. They don’t require a lot of monthly income so they don’t know what to spend their money on. They lived their entire lives on cutting expenses, living on less etc. they’ve accumulated this massive nest egg for them, and now they don’t know what to do with it. And so that of course can be a little bit of an issue.

Tammy Flanagan  13:56

Making sure you create plans, because then you’re gonna face the higher rates for Medicare. You’re gonna have to take more money out when you’re facing required distributions, assuming a lot of that money is pre tax. So yeah, they’re there requires some really advanced tax planning, and some hard decisions to say, What am I going to live on? And what’s leftover and what do I do with that extra money? How do I manage it? So that’s probably a big challenge for a lot of your clients, I would imagine because I know I get clients who have plenty of money to retire, and probably more than what they really need to live comfortably on. So you have to make some decisions there as well.

Micah Shilanski  14:35

Amen. So one of the things that we talk to clients about especially if they’re not spending enough right now, what do I define as spending enough? They have enough money, they take care of the husband and wife right for the rest of their lives? That’s what we’re solving for. How much cash flow do they need? Are they taking care of right? If the answer is yes, and there’s going to be money left over a couple of things we want to focus on. Number one, creating memories and says, and especially sometimes it’s not for you, but it’s for the grandkids or maybe even your kids. So if my dad’s listening, Dad, it’s for your kids, you’re creating these experiences, right? No, but it’s, you know, for the grandkids and we talk about this a lot because I see it from my parents. They love doing things with the grandkids and they’re like Micah, I remember not being able to do this with my grandparents or doing this with my grandparents. And that’s what I want Gabe and Lana to remember. So how do we create those memories and those experiences with them? They are they are. Tammy, I probably told you this but we have a family wide chat text message thread and we call it the herd. And we jokingly say we’re like a traveling circus. Right? Whenever we’re like traveling together, we have carnival music going on. Because it’s always something that’s taking place that’s not efficient or effective, but it creates so many memories. So that’s what we encourage our clients do. How do you create memories now? Memories can be personal in your family. The other thing is charitable. How do we make this world a better place? And I have a lot of clients that I’m talking to that are doing good things and making memories, there’s still money leftover and we’re talking about great how much can we spend to make the world a better place number one, and then number two, it’s like how do we most effectively do that? There’s some good questions to have.

Tammy Flanagan  15:28

We have to be intentional because I’m right with you, Micah, I have a grandson of my own and I live for these trips we make together with him. And when we have those times together, we plan fun things to do. So it’s really intentional. So like I put on our list of things to say it’s not about this stuff anymore. You know, don’t get me a present, you know, for the holidays. Get me you know, let’s go someplace come with us and let’s go together as a family and do something fun and you know, go someplace we’ve never been before . I’m  really excited to have a wedding coming up for our youngest son and I’m just so strong because this is going to be such a memorable event for everybody involved. You know, not just the bride and groom but our whole family will see people we haven’t seen in years and it’s just so exciting to have these times together that you really seem to treasure more the older you get. So whatever those people used to say when I was younger, they were right there now wereusually good days.  Well, I’m wondering too, just to get on the other side of this where we have people who might spend more than they should. When you’re talking about charities, it makes me think of some people who are almost scammed into donating money to things that are not valid. Yeah, charities I never wanted to was in the sweepstakes thing. She was getting these letters in the mail and she was sending money to who knows who, it was just a big scam. So you have to be on alert. For things like that not to fall for things that sound too good to be true. Or that someone’s asking you for something you don’t even know who it is. It should be your idea, right to make that contribution or to support that charity not not by a solicitation you got in the mail. 

Micah Shilanski  17:48

Yeah, and not to not to sound selfish with this, but this is where a really good financial planner comes in or a CPA, etc. I have a lot of clients that reach out and was like, Hey, we’re thinking about doing a b and c what do you think about this charity? They’re not asking me Michael, what are your personal opinions about this charity in the what they’re doing? What they’re asking is, Is this legit? How do we send them money? Does this make sense inside of what we’re doing? And so we can have a great conversation about that be like Hey, I have a little concerns. They’re not doing these several things which I see a lot of charities do, right? Or hey, it looks like it’s doing these several things. And this is fantastic. And we can also help facilitate some of those donations just to make sure they go a little bit more smoothly for the client. Right? So there’s a lot of things that you can do that don’t rely on you or listener right you can have your financial professional step in here and help with us. 

Tammy Flanagan  18:36

Always good to have a sounding board before you make a decision that you might end up regretting it at some point.

Micah Shilanski  18:43

I love it. Alright, Tammy, Well, that’s kind of the main thing that we wanted to talk about was this positive side about life after retirement right. We do want to make it too much about money because we talked about that all the time and your federal benefits which are fantastic. So we’ll get a neuronal pods about that as well. But this time, let’s be excited about that next chapter. Let’s live that next chapter being really all the things that you want to do. And of course, this podcast is all about action items. So Tammy, what’s an action of our listeners could take this week to kind of think about that.

Tammy Flanagan  19:10

No, maybe just to start giving it some thought. If you’re still working, you’re nearing retirement, maybe write down some ideas of what you think your life after retirement is gonna look like. If you’re married or you have a partner, that’s them to look at that too and make sure you’re on the same page because it’s one thing if you think your life is going to be traveling around the world, we find out that your spouse is much more interested in pursuing the hobby right close to home. So you got to find some compromises there.

Micah Shilanski  19:37

I love it and add two things on there kind of quickly to is one is, you know, what’s your long term care plan? Something really, really important to do and it’s very a selfless act to create this because you’re empowering other people. Then the positive side. How are you going to plan for those memories? Tammy, I love what you said about communicating with your spouse tooth. Are you on the same page or you’re not on the same page? How do we work these things? It’s and kids extended family fit into this picture as well.

Tammy Flanagan  20:06

And if you’re afraid of it, because I know there are some people who are fearful of retiring because you’ve never had a day to yourself you know where every day you wake up and it’s up to you to decide what to do you know face those fears are normal. That’s all part of that transition into a new life a new schedule, the schedule that maybe you can make yourself which could be really rewarding. 

Micah Shilanski  20:28

I love it. Well Tammy as always, it’s a pleasure to jump in here and to do these podcasts with you. I have a lot of fun doing these. So I love this slightly off topic one as well. To our listeners. Our goal is to have another million federal employees and prove their retirement. So vote early. Vote often make sure you’re giving us good star reviews on iTunes send this information out to other federal employees. We really want to get great information out there and until next time, happy planning.

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