That’s what u/bobbfrommn asked people who were subscribed to the Retirement sub on Reddit, and he got some thoughtful answers in response. Some suggestions, such as nurturing relationships and taking care of your body, were repeatedly endorsed, and understandably so — it’s very good advice. Robust physical health and supportive social bonds reliably increase your well-being and add years to your life. Giving your mindful attention to both becomes even more important when you don’t have a regular schedule to get you moving every morning or the camaraderie of work colleagues to fall back on.
Beyond that rather universal truth, there was more divergence of opinions about what makes up a comfortable and enjoyable retirement. Many respondents focused on money, a topic that assumes considerable importance once those regular paychecks stop rolling in.
Should you pay off debt before retiring?
Several readers touted the benefits of eliminating debt. Paying off her car and credit cards had a “huge impact” on u/maorine’s ability to retire, and u/Consistent_Jacket892 was unequivocal with the advice that retirees should “…not under any circumstances carry a mortgage, it’s a drain on everything you want to do.”
But we don’t all feel that way. u/local_equivalent countered that paying off a house was “… bad advice when your mortgage interest rate is lower than the rate of return on investments.” And if you’ve read about my own unconventional retirement plan, you might have guessed that I’ve got three mortgages, one of which was taken out after I retired. I don’t worry about this or feel that it impacts my peace of mind in any way. To me, the house payments are just obligations that must be met every month, like the water or electric bill. They’re not a burden that weighs me down or knocks the shine off my golden years because the houses that secure my debt are small and inexpensive, purchased, in a stroke of luck, before “starter homes” became so highly prized and scarce.