Wednesday, April 26, 2006


This is such an excellent article that we couldn't wait to share the last three steps from Jan Cullinane in the New Retirement piece. Remember there is more to planning for your retirement than just your financial strategies. We would encourage any of you who read this to add a comment about your suggestion for what is the most important step for planning your retirement. Remember, we can always learn from one another.

Secret 4: Have a willingness to renegotiate roles.
The first two years of retirement are challenging for many, as major changes in roles and togetherness result. If you have a spouse or asignificant other, discussing - in advance - your goals, plans, and dreams in retirement may save some angst down the road.
For example, do you plan to age in place or relocate? Plan to work part-time or start a new career?
If moving, what characteristics are important: climate, proximity tochildren/friends, excellent medical facilities, beach/mountain/lake living, a small town or a large city with lots of amenities, downsizing to make travel possible?
Talking about issues and attempting to resolve or work out differences now may ease the transition. Recognizing that it is good and healthy to have separate as well as shared interests is important as well.
If one member of a couple has been the traditional homemaker, that person may want to retire, too, and share (i.e. get rid of!) some of the routine chores. Research shows that most couples are happy in retirement, but talk, talk, talk to help ensure you fall into this category!

Secret 5: Have a strong financial plan
Yes, you knew money was going to have to enter into the retirement discussion at some point! However, some of the studies about money may surprise you – there is both good and bad news.
Let’s dispense with the bad news first: only about one-third of adults have saved for retirement, and half of retirees rely on Social Security as their primary source of income.
The good news? Research points out that it’s not the total net worth of a person that helps determine financial satisfaction in retirement, but the knowledge that their savings have occurred in a regular, disciplined way over a period of time.
Realize that for most of us there is no retirement number that is ever going to be “enough,” but participating in a forced savings plan during your working years, such as a 401 (k) plan, is a great start toward building that nest egg.
Also, consider consulting a fee-based certified financial planner or a certified public accountant (CPA) to help in your retirement planning.Just like you might hire a personal trainer to make sure you get off on the right foot with your exercise regimen, investing some money to put you on the path to fiscal freedom in retirement is a wise move.

Secret 6: Have a good attitude.
Although there are unpleasant things that happen to us that are beyond our control, we can control the way we respond to them. Practice stopping distorted ways of thinking by replacing negative thoughts with more positive, realistic ones.
A little story illustrates the point: Two shoe salesmen were sent to a faraway island to sell shoes. After the first day, both men sent back telegrams. One read: “This place is a disaster. No one wears shoes.” The other telegram said: “This place is a gold mine. No one wears shoes.”

If you’re looking for a happy, successful retirement, put these six not-so-secret secrets into practice, and you’ll be well on your way!

Jan Cullinane is the co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide tothe Rest of Your Life (Rodale, 2004). She gives seminars on the (primarily)non-financial aspects of retirement through her company, "Retirement Livingfrom A to Z." E-mail

Plan Now-Retire Early

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