This retiree shares his tips for a healthy and happy post-work life
Now more than two years into his retirement, Naushad Ali is reaping the benefits of having planned for health and wealth to live his dream. Ali, 69, retired from ERS after 23 years in customer benefits management, and also from 21 years in the Navy. No surprise then that his favorite ERS benefits are his annuity and his health insurance. “Retirement has been fantastic,” he says.
He had a few tips to share with fellow retirees to make the most of it.
Plan, plan, plan
Ali diligently planned for a financially stable retirement, making the effort to pay off his debt, downsize where possible and build an emergency fund. He knows planning is still important in retirement and recommends all retirees keep their estate plan (will, powers of attorney, advance directive) and other important personal documents up to date and shared with beneficiaries.
Health is wealth
Ali started a habit of exercise before retirement and encourages others to walk, stretch, do yoga, or whatever else it is that you enjoy and can do several times per week. “That can be one of the first things someone might give up,” Ali said. “You think, ‘I’m retired, let me rest,’” but it should stay a priority.
He works out in the gym at his apartment complex, eats healthy meals (with the occasional splurge, of course), stays current on vaccines and always gets his annual physical. So far, with his HealthSelectSM Medicare Advantage plan and HealthSelectSM Medicare RX prescription drug plan he has paid very little out-of-pocket expenses, for which he is grateful.
With work in his rearview mirror, all the activities he used to put on the back burner can now be enjoyed. He fills free time with concerts, rodeos and state fairs, and he is planning a cruise. “Go to your place of worship-if that’s your cup of tea; be involved with your faith group.” Ali stays active and tends to his spiritual life through volunteer work. He helps out regularly at the nearest church to do whatever is needed, such as making sandwiches for the soup kitchen.
All the planning can only go so far, so “people should never lose sight of how life can take unexpected turns,” he says. One thing he didn’t plan for was a divorce and a move from Pflugerville to Houston. It’s smart to stay on good terms with your family and friends in retirement, he says. “You’re going to need them.” With his ERS benefits helping him stay healthy, he can enjoy this new time with his children and four grandchildren.
Retiring is a big life change that can be stressful, but having a plan and the help of professionals can smooth the way. “At ERS, everyone genuinely wants to help and that comes from the leadership down,” Ali says. “The staff are well versed and so organized.”