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5 retirement lessons from Tina Turner


Tina Turner was a rock star — even in retirement. The music legend died this week at her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland, at age 83.

Read: Tina Turner, unstoppable superstar whose hits included ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It,’ dead at 83

The former performer retired in 2009 and seemed to love life in retirement, living in a château off of Lake Zurich in Switzerland with her husband of more than 30 years. While actresses relived her story on theater stages — including on Broadway — she enjoyed lounging on a couch fit for a queen, wearing her red-bottom flats and singing and dancing in the seat next to her husband.

Turner spoke with the New York Times in 2019 about her life in retirement, and the career that made her who she is. Here are a few tips to live out your retirement similar to hers.

See: How to move like Mick Jagger — in retirement

Owning a home isn’t mandatory in retirement

Tina Turner rented her mansion, which she called the “Chateau Algonquin.” Her landlord lived in the attic and controls the boathouse, where she does not have access.

Homeownership can be a controversial topic in retirement. Some argue homeownership is a must, that it is equity retirees can tap in to in the event of an emergency (either by a home equity line of credit, reverse mortgage or selling the home). But others say owning and maintaining a home can be expensive, especially for someone on a fixed income. Retirees may also find the home buying process in retirement to be stressful.

But you should appreciate your possessions

Turner didn’t keep any of her possessions in storage. She kept a set of castle keys, pictures and paintings and knickknacks from her travels all on display. “I want to see it” she said.

As people age, their collections of their belongings typically grow as well. This can be problematic, especially when downsizing homes or trying to sift through items to avoid children having to do it after death. There are companies that even focus on decluttering, specifically for retirees.

You’ll know when it’s time to quit

By the end of her 50th anniversary tour in 2009, Turner said she was more interested in home decorating than performing on stage. “I was just tired of singing and making everybody happy,” she told the New York Times. “That’s all I’d ever done in my life.”

Let go of expectations

When she was still in the spotlight, many people — including friends like Oprah — expected her to talk about her abusive relationship with former husband Ike Turner, a musician she shared the stage with in the ‘60s and ‘70s. But in retirement, she didn’t talk about him if she didn’t want to, she said. She didn’t watch the Disney
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1993 biopic “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” which was based on her life. And she didn’t share all of the details of the physical and emotional abuse she received. “I feel I told enough,” she told the Times.

People also expected that she would say she had forgiven Ike, who died in 2007 from a drug overdose, for everything that happened between them. “Ike’s dead,” she said. “So we don’t have to worry about him.”

Also see: How to live out your childhood dreams during retirement

Do what you want

There is a plaque in front of Turner’s home that said not to disturb her before noon. She had a framed painting of herself as an Egyptian queen hanging in her home, and didn’t speak German even though she lived in Switzerland, where it is one of the four main languages they speak (along with Italian, French and Romansh). But most of all, Turner only played the role of “Tina Turner” when she wanted to. “I don’t sing, I don’t dance, I don’t dress up,” she told the reporter. But the next day, she was in her wig and makeup, posing for the camera.

(Additional reporting by Angela Moore.)



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