Critter Corner: Wise Tips for Retirement from a 98-Year-Old

Dear Angel,

I am thinking about retirement. I would love tips from someone who has “been there” for a while. Do you have any wisdom you can share from the people that you meet? I’d also like some practical tips when it comes to planning.

Thanks so much!
Ben Theere

Dear Ben,

I meet lots of people every day who are planning for retirement and others who are already retired. There are also lots of great accounts online from people who have “been there.” One that stood out to me was from Babette Hughes, a 98-year-old writer who is very active and optimistic, and who is enjoying life to the fullest!

Babette was born in 1922. She lived through The Great Depression, a world war, and the loss of her husband and two sons. According to Babette, her late 80s and 90s have been by far her most productive and satisfying time of her life.

Here are some of Babette’s tips for a satisfying retirement:

She urges seniors to change the way they see aging and retirement and warns that they shouldn’t believe the myths about getting older. She believes that getting older is actually a great thing in many ways. For instance:
o You have more time;
o You don’t feel like you have anything to prove like you did when you were younger;
o You are smarter than you have ever been.
o You have the wisdom that years bring;
o You have more options. Choose among them and ask for help to accomplish them.  
Continue dreaming. Babette always dreamed about writing and being published. When she reached a certain point in her life where she had time and energy and ideas, she got started and chased her long-held dream, and has been successful.
Re-connect to your childhood or your young adult self for a little while. Try to remember what it was like to think anything is possible.
Find helpers and encouragers. Find others who do what you want to do and connect with them. “If writing is your thing, go out and find a writer’s group in your town. Meet with other authors. Hear their writing stories. If you want to paint, go take a painting class. Set up a room in your house where it’s easy to paint and hard to ignore it,” she said.
Believe you can. Babette believes that there are a lot of people out there like her these days. “Surround yourself with young and old friends who tell you that you can. Avoid the naysayers who think you are too old because they are wrong.”
Start having success in whatever you decide to do. “Success is the jet fuel to keep going.”

Here are some other things that I would add when it comes to planning for retirement:

Save money and plan ahead! Retirement is expensive. Experts estimate that you will need 70% to 90% of your preretirement income to maintain your standard of living when you stop working. Take charge of your financial future. Be sure to save and plan ahead so you have the means to do what you want to do.
Find out about your Social Security benefits: Social Security retirement benefits replace about 40% of a median wage earner’s income after retiring. To see how much you can expect to receive, you can use the retirement estimator on the Social Security Administration’s Website or log into your “my Social Security” account at or call 1-800-772-1213.

Ask Questions: While these tips are meant to point you in the right direction, you’ll need lots more information. Contact Evan Farr for more information. Besides being a Certified Elder Law Attorney, he is also an experienced retirement planning advisor and long-term care financial advisor. Make an appointment today.

Babette Hughes is the author of the Kate Brady series, as well as several other books. She is living her best life at 98 and has a great attitude. Hopefully, she is inspirational for those who are retiring or already retired and hopefully, planning ahead will also be helpful for you!

All my best,


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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