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Defining Your Own End Game

I love life. Those of you whom I have had the pleasure of meeting knows that although I take my work very seriously, I am far from a serious guy. I appreciate every day, everybody and everything around me.

It doesn't take much to put me in a good mood: hearing the spring birds tweeting, a blue sky, good news from a friend or client- I'm not hard to please.

Although I am grateful for that which life has given me, I am acutely aware that nothing is forever- sooner or later, it will come to a (hopefully natural and a long time from now) end. I love the game of life.

An Inquiry into the Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives many definitions of the word game. Of the multiple definitions, two stand out to me: "an activity engaged in for diversion or amusement" and "a procedure or strategy for gaining an end."

These two definitions sum it all up for me-, and support my reason for almost thirty years of doing financial and estate planning for folks- sooner or later, it's time to say "Ta-Ta." Life is one big game up to that point- and then the game ends. Forever? Not necessarily- it all depends on how you define your end game, and the steps you take to get there.

Let's call the end game... retirement. Ah yes, a time we all think about from the day we start working. My definition of retirement is the ability to do what you want, when you want, where you want. Want to be a couch potato? Knock yourself out. Want to travel and see the world? Bon voyage! You have the power to shape and define your own end game, in any way, shape or form.

The key is to see it in your mind, and devise a plan to work towards it. Wishing and hoping (and waiting to win the lottery) is not a plan: and the reality of not being ready at the time you choose is a road map to a voyage of working until the time you say "ta-ta-" not palatable to most.

It's all about planning and visioning your end game many years in advance. How many years? As many as it takes to get you to the proverbial gold watch.

The economic turmoil in the past year has left most folks less than confident in the world markets, let alone investing in them. With the black cloud of 2008 still an open sore, investing has become a scary action that has set many back years in their retirement plans.

Some have chosen to stop investing, some have stopped contributing to their retirement plan altogether. Excitement has been replaced by fear, trepidation and anxiety. If this sounds familiar, I have great news for you- it's not going to last forever. Sooner or later, (sorry- my crystal ball doesn't seem to be working lately) all will become right with the world and the markets will continue in their upward direction- just how they are supposed to.

Think of your last trip to the mall- did you notice the sales signs everywhere you went? Well, the market is on sale. While I can't tell you what to buy, I can tell you that most investing for retirement is a long term plan- don't be swayed by short term blips.

Now is the time to consult with your trusted advisor and review your plan, and your end game. In addition to your advisor, the retirement game is a family plan. The new paradigm before you is full of excitement and opportunities: not to mention fun! The kids will be out of the house and (hopefully) self supporting.

Where do you want to live? What would you like to do with all the time you have to yourself? Now may be the time to start woodworking, learn to play golf, or wherever your interests, new or old, take you.

But back to our title, "Defining Your Own End Game-" It's all up to you, and you have the power and pleasure to plan for it and make it happen- as long as you set your goal and work towards it.

Planning without and end game is like setting out on a trip without a destination: your intentions may be good, but where are you going?

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