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Life After Work

I recently took a week to spend in Tennessee at my home there: it's about the only place I find that I can really get my brain to slow down. As I talked about last month, we lost a dear friend recently so it was a time of reflection and remembering. While sitting on my back porch, I suddenly realized I was not alone: I was joined by a gentlemen who didn't look familiar to me. Now, in Tennessee, things are much different than here in NY- friends come to visit without calling or "making an appointment"- it's an open door policy. The gentlemen introduced himself- Norman- who had bought the house two houses up and had seen me outside, and came over to introduce himself. Norman was as pleasant a gentlemen as could be, retired for some time, and we got into a wonderful discussion about retirement and his views on the subject. Never shying away from a good discussion on retirement, it was a pleasure getting to know my new neighbor, and to hear a new point of view of the subject.

He referred to it as "life after work" and couldn't be happier. He embraced his freedom, having given his time in decades to others. Family and religion was on the top of his list, closely followed by having the time to do what he wanted on his clock, instead of a time clock. While I've had this discussion with folks dozens if not a hundred times before, each time is different as each person is different. So, I ask you- have you SERIOUSLY thought about what life would look like in retirement- the yin and the yangs, the positives and negatives, the good and the bad? Will it be a bed or roses but filled with thorns? The biggest question I am asked is how to get there and "will I have enough to take the plunge." But even if you are ready, what will it be like, this retirement thing, this "life after work?"

Moving from working to retirement is a whole new paradigm in one's life. Up to this point, we have always lived with structure: getting up to go to school for 20 years or so, and then adhering to a work schedule that usually has little variance. This is the first thing I hear from clients who are recently retired- a 60 year old habit is hard to break. They feel a compulsion to get up at a certain time every day and go through their brain engrained morning routine. I'm told the pendulum swings widely for the first few weeks or months once it's realized that you don’t have to get up at a certain time- or at no time at all. I've also been told once the novelty wears off, it's back to a wake up routine, but this time it’s on your schedule as opposed to someone else's. A new schedule starts to emerge: shopping on Wednesday, laundry on Monday, cut the grass on Tuesday (if you want!) and so on. New chores replace old routines, and things more important- like spending time together and seeing the kids- emerge. There's also time to do new things we didn't need to do before, like keeping a doctor's appointment schedule. Then there's the traveling; going to the places we always wanted, with no pre-approved block of time to do it. You can leave when you want, and return at leisure. Hey... this is starting to look better and better!

It takes preparation- it doesn't happen overnight. This is the reason you've been putting away money into your IRA, Roth, 401(k) or other pension type plan for years and decades. It also takes a change of mindset- now is the time to change your outlook from accumulation to income. Now is the time to revisit your retirement plan with your Certified Financial Planner™ professional to look at your inflows and outflows, and see how they match up- will you be able to pay your bills in retirement, or are there adjustments to be made. Will there be enough income via your investments, Social Security, and any other income streams, or will you be short and need to make standard of living adjustments? This is all a part of retirement planning, which should start as early as 10 years before retirement. If you have not given thought to these questions, or done retirement projections, this is the time- don't wait until it's time to pull the trigger. As with most things, preparation is the key- that's why it's called retirement planning-it's never too early to start!

For more information on Neal's take on Life, Love and Money, just call the office to get his book, "Tales From the Chestnut Tree" at a discounted rate for all our readers. Just call the below number and we’ll hook you up... happy reading!

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