How to Bucket List – Yeah, Really


This post is sponsored by the Alliance for Lifetime Income.

by Zippy Sandler, Founder of Champagne Living 

I am retired 

I actually retired when I was in my 50s. It wasn’t in my plan to retire so early, but I had an accident and could no longer do my job. I had to have multiple surgeries and physical therapy, and I was so close to retirement age that finding an entirely new career wasn’t going to be easy. So, I stopped work when my husband retired, and we moved from Rhode Island to Florida –where retiring is an art form. 

While I loved being able to explore my new state and my shiny new home, I found myself staying home and cleaning. Which was, frankly, not how I wanted my retirement to look. I had a bucket list that I had put together for years. There were so many dreams on it that I stopped counting after the first three journals were filled with ideas of what I would do. It turned out that for me, retirement meant that I would do the things that I loved, and working was actually one of them. Inspired, I decided to start a blog, Champagne Living.  

I still had that bucket list though 

While I’ve loved writing, I wasn’t making any progress on my bucket list. So, my bestie Rachel and I began to travel together and talk about our adventures on our blogs and social media and on our web show. But the thing about bucket lists is that they continue to grow and change, and I realized that not only do I want to take a gondola through Venice and to bicycle along the canals in Amsterdam or through the Napa Valley, but I wanted to learn to cook. I also wanted to learn to ride that bike again after 40 years so I could bicycle through Copenhagen or along my own town’s beach. And there is so much more!  

The dreams are there, but are the funds? 

I retired with a few dollars in my pocket and $953 a month in Social Security checks (plus Medicare). 

Florida is cheaper than New England, but WHO CAN LIVE ON under $1,000 a month AND do everything that they had spent their lives planning to do? 

A little planning goes a long way 

Thankfully, my brother is better with numbers than I am, so he has been my financial guru. He recently set my husband and I up with an annuity that adds income for me every month. With that and my Social Security benefit, I don’t have to worry about things like paying the mortgage and utilities, wondering what that crown is going to cost me when I call the dentist in a panic, or order pasta when I really want a steak. I have a regular income that helps pay for the essentials. And the rest, I can use to live the retirement I want.  

Retirement should be a time to live your best life 

You shouldn’t have to worry that you can’t cover your life essentials while you’re living it. That’s why I decided to protect my income with an annuity. It gives me the freedom to pursue those things that I’ve been wanting to do, knowing that my bills are going to get paid while I’m eating cacio e pepe and listening to the gondoliers sing in the canal below. 

Isn’t it time to do all of those things you’ve always wanted to? 

If you have questions about protecting your income in retirement, the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a non-profit whose mission it is to create awareness and educate Americans about the importance of protected income in retirement, can help.  

Check out for more helpful, free retirement resources and information.

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