Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Are you waiting too long to Retire in Hawaii?

This year we have noticed more retirees remaining on Hawaii Island since the departure of the snowbirds last month. They really stick out with their coiffed hair, tweed caps, black silk shirts, long pants, and patent leather shoes.  We see them struggle to carry their garbage out, argue with the gardeners, and frown at the food displayed in our local grocery store. We never see them at the beach, lying in the sun, or laughing.  These recently arrived 70-something year olds may have waited way too long to retire to Hawaii. 

The transition from “mainland clothes” to sandals, shorts, loose shirts, and wild hair takes a while.  It takes a while for the rejuvenating effects of the sun, warm weather, local food, and laid back lifestyle in Hawaii to increase your energy and health.   It takes a while to realize that nobody cares what a big shot you were on the mainland and that yelling gets (at best) no response in Hawaii.  It takes a while to focus on Hawaii’s beaches, sunshine, and peacefulness and give up on the mainland’s addictive foods, restaurants, and malls.

Recent studies have shown that retiring earlier leads to living longer, in contradiction to older studies that showed working longer correlated to living longer.  Researchers at the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam compared Dutch men who retired early (age 55 instead of in their mid-60’s) and found that early retirement decreased their chance of dying within the next five years by 42.3%. The researchers concluded that lower stress levels contributed to the lower mortality rates.  Stress in the workplace, since the economic downturn, may be partially responsible for the higher death rate of older workers.   However, observing the difficulty new elderly residents are having adjusting to retirement, waiting too long to retire may also be part of the reason. 

The growing fear among Boomers of running out of money before they die is creating another type of stress.  Money stress keeps people in stressful jobs longer and counters any health improvements a Hawaii lifestyle might offer.  Retiring earlier brings you the mental and health benefits of the relaxed, laid back Hawaii lifestyle sooner.

We believe that money is not a good tradeoff for health which led to our move to Hawaii Island   in our 50’s.  Watching the elderly newcomers hobble from their newly purchased Hawaii condos, we wonder when they will switch to clothes more suitable to a tropical island.   We wonder if they will stay long enough to get any of the benefits of living in Hawaii.  

You need a minimal level of health to walk, swim, lie in the sun, and enjoy what Hawaii has to offer.  Waiting too long makes it more difficult to move across the ocean and create a low-maintenance, tropical lifestyle.  So, if you are dreaming about retiring in Hawaii, don’t wait too long.


mv morejon said...

yes, yes, yes! mahalo for your wonderful post on living
in the present and not waiting until everything in seemingly "safe" before taking a risk to life your life to the fullest. we are planning hard to make a move to the Big Island in the next 2 years before i am 60 and our daughter is 10. malama pono and keep up the excellent, inspirational posts!

Russ Heinemann said...

I just found your blog. I am 67, but adopted the shorts, tee shirt and saddles a number of years ago. April-October in Oregon. I find it interesting and informative to read blogs from folks who have moved to Hawaii especially the Big Island.
I doubt we will ever move but we have been expanding our lengths of stay each year and while there I don't want to look as tho I have a sign around my neck saying tourist.
I will keep reading.

Thanks Russ