21 June 2016

How to feel like a millionaire in retirement, no matter your income

One of the biggest transitions to life after 60 is learning to accept the fact that, for most of us, we are now spending down.

Whether we retire or continue working part-time, in our 60s, we become conscious of money in an entirely new way. For much of our lives, we were earning money and saving it. If we were smart about how we invested, spent and saved our money, our net worth was always going up.

One of the biggest transitions to life after 60 is learning to accept the fact that, for most of us, we are now spending down.

It’s scary at first to watch our savings diminish instead of grow. It requires that we forge a new relationship with our money. I was determined that I wouldn’t let this reality make my life miserly or penny pinching. After all, I’ve saved my whole life for this!

Luxury is a state of mind

I was not going to adopt a poverty mentality. I didn’t want to feel “less than” before. I didn’t want to fall into the cliché of the penny pinching retiree who was looking for early bird specials.

I discovered, during the course of my life in the tropics, things that make me feel like a millionaire that don’t cost a thing. For example, I love watching a palm tree sway in the breeze, letting the rustling sound flow over my body, it’s a giddy, extravagant experience that’s absolutely free. It makes me feel absolutely rich because it’s priceless.

Before I continue, I want to share with you that, when I turned 60, I vowed not to give other people advice. So, what I’m going to do is share with you what I do that makes me feel luxurious, pampered, and cared for. The same may or may not apply for you.

I shop like a French woman

I’ve always been impressed watching Europeans shop. Because many Europeans use public transportation, they don’t have cars to load up in a parking lot. Rather, they stop in the super and pick up what they’re going to cook for dinner and carry it home on the tram, train, subway or bus.

Another reason Europeans shop like this is many live in small flats. They have no room for lots of stuff.

So, now I take my shopping bag and buy for one meal. How does this make me feel like a millionaire?

Looking at what looks divine at the super and planning a luxurious, sexy dinner makes me very happy. I spy the perfect thick pork chop, a luscious ripe tomato, a bunch of arugula, a hunk of cheese and some bread. I enjoy the freshest, gourmet dinner and there’s no waste!

I’m not spending money on items that might spoil or I might lose interest in. Not wasting makes me feel smart, lucky and rich.

I eat outside

You’ve often heard it said that for some reason food tastes better when it’s eaten outside. And I think it’s true. Instead of sitting at the dining table for breakfast, it feels totally decadent and luxurious to take my piping hot cup of milky morning tea and a slice of my home made bread out to the terrace. The cool morning breeze – or the frosty morning breeze – is sensual and exciting!

If I’m up early, I enjoy a beautiful sunrise, which is pure extravagance and… free. Or sometimes I’ll make a picnic lunch and meet a friend for an alfresco lunch. A picnic turns lunch or dinner into a free vacation

I light candles

What is it about candlelight that makes me feel positively fabulous in every way I can think of? Candle light soothes, softens and makes my life dreamy. I feel extravagant when I’m chatting with a friend, or enjoying a glass of wine by myself by candlelight. Suddenly the evening seems scintillating and special.

I have some large crystal hurricane lamps and a selection of small flickering votives. In candlelight, I feel like the luckiest, most beautiful woman. This is another feeling that money can’t buy.

I go for a walk

Going for a walk is the simplest, most luxurious pleasure you can imagine. If I’m feeling a bit “fuzzy” – perhaps sad, confused or perplexed about something – I say, “time for a walk.” It’s excellent exercise and it makes me feel free and possible.

The feeling that this gives me is priceless. It puts me in touch with nature. I see other people and am touched by humanity. It makes me breathe deep and exhilarates me. It sharpens my appetite. It makes me feel grateful for my body. I return home refreshed. I don’t need expensive gym clothes or a membership. I can go for five minutes, fifteen, or an hour. It’s all good.

I make time for tea time

Now that I’m no longer working in a traditional job, I enjoy the famous British ritual of tea time around four o’clock every afternoon. Remember Downton Abbey?

A cup of tea seems to solve everything. And, when I brew a cup of tea in the afternoon I feel as rich as the Queen.

Teatime is the marvelous refresher of the titled nobles of the past who didn’t have to work. It’s a reward to an afternoon drawing to a close. It’s a lovely pause to the prelude of cocktails and dinner. Tea time is a ritual that comforts and stretches out the day.

A cup of tea and a biscuit, or a clipping of grapes or a sliced apple. A sacred space for conversation or contemplation. Tea time is also an inexpensive way to entertain a friend. No big expense, but all the glamour.

So yes, these are “little” things – but they create tremendous luxury in my life. I have more life hacks that I’d like to share with you in the future. But for now, I’d love to hear from you.

This is an excerpt of an article written by Elizabeth Dunkel. You can read the full article here.