You probably wouldn’t immediately link dogs with retirement – unless leaving your job finally gave you the time to consider adopting a four-legged family member.
But it turns out that our canine friends can help us with several aspects of retirement. They have more skills than we give them credit for!
If you’re currently planning for retirement, these tips for dog owners (or soon-to-be dog owners) will prove incredibly helpful:
Tip 1: Socialize
Dogs know a thing or two about socialization. Yes, some dogs can be wary of others, but most will pelt up to anyone and anything with a big grin and a desire to make instant friends.
It’s best to find a balance between the two when you retire – being wary of getting too trusty of new people, but opening up your social circle for two reasons: the enjoyment that comes from having friends, and the stability of having people you can rely on in your later years.
Tip 2: Phase Into Retirement
You might not want to quit your job cold-turkey, and if that’s the case, you’ll benefit much more from phasing into retirement.
Dogs, like humans, have a lot of responsibilities in their younger years: they guard the house, keep the kids entertained, and so on. But as they get into their later stages of life, they phase out these responsibilities, eventually giving them up entirely. This phased retirement can help you to maintain financial stability and keep your mind at ease, as you’re not dealing with a huge life change all at once.
Tip 3: Cut Down On Your Spending
Here’s where a dog’s philosophy of being happy with pretty much anything comes into play. Have you ever seen a dog spend hours contentedly licking a rock or playing with a stick? They know how to appreciate the small things, and you need to get really good at that by the time you retire.
It’s important to calculate your income (i.e. your monthly pension payments) and make sure your expenses never exceed that income. That may mean ditching the uber-expensive material goods and being happy with what you have, taking inspiration from your dog.
Tip 4: Consider Volunteering
Just because you’ve quit work, it doesn’t mean you have to stop doing. Dogs are a great example of how openly you can help a fellow friend when you don’t discriminate, and volunteering has a few personal benefits you can enjoy, too.
For instance, Volunteer Now found that volunteering supports the health and wellbeing of over-50s, providing an opportunity to stay socially connected, boosting confidence, improving physical fitness, and so on.
Tip 5: Don’t Give Up Exercise
Dogs take a very simple approach to exercise: if you can still do it, do it. If a dog is still up for running, he’ll run. If he can use his four legs to walk, he’ll walk. If he can manage a quick session with a tennis ball, he’ll do what he can. Dogs don’t make mental excuses for avoiding the physical, and we should strive to be the same.
Exercise won’t just improve your physical health – it can also prevent cognitive decline. If you have a dog, why not take him out on a walk once a day? It’ll be good for both of you.
So there you have it: the top retirement tips from dogs.
By the way, though, dogs aren’t always shining examples of how we should behave when we’re retired. For instance, if we wolfed down anything that was fed to us, as dogs have a habit of doing, we probably wouldn’t be so healthy in our older years!
If you’re getting close to retirement age, be sure to keep these tips in mind as you plan to quit work and move into this new phase of your life.
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