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“Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, and the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself.“
– Hartman Jule
There are many millions of retirees who have experienced the joys and frustrations of retirement. In writing the book, the author talked to many hundreds of retirees and asked them for their advice and counsel about what a new retiree needs to do, or not do, to enjoy their retirement to the fullest.
Below is a summary of their insights and observations.
- Retirement Perspective—you need to establish the proper perspective about retirement because it is important that you understand what you are getting into. Perhaps the most important perspective is that you are in charge of your retirement planning. You literally control when you retire, where you retire, what you do with your time, or whether or not you actually retire.
- Commitment to Plan—as the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” You must make a commitment to prepare a Personalized Retirement Plan. The problem with working without a PRP is that time is not on your side. If you still have lots of things you want to do, and that describes most potential retirees, you don’t have an infinite amount of time to waste.
- Mutual Planning Approach—if you are married, or have a significant other, you must, I repeat, you must develop a mutual approach to retirement planning. If you were the primary breadwinner in your home, you might tend to think that retirement is only about you. Wrong. Your spouse or significant other must be a part of the process or you are likely to run aground when you begin to do your thing and your partner has other ideas about what he/she wants to do.
- Focus on Happiness—retirement should be a time of great happiness and fun. You worked very hard during your career to position yourself for retirement, so make sure you really enjoy the opportunity. Go for it with gusto and a giant smile. Pat yourself on the back, you made it!
- Resolve Past Conflicts—everyone has done something in their life that may have directly or inadvertently harmed another person or group. It is also true that many people carry these feelings and grudges to their grave. When you consider that you are entering the last quarter of your life, it is time to wipe your slate clean.
- Capitalize on your experience and wisdom—an old German proverb says, “We get too soon old and too late smart.” The fact is that some people simply get old and never learn from their experiences. Fortunately most of the people I’ve met over age 60 have developed an innate understanding of human nature because they have learned from their life experiences and have arrived at a condition we call wisdom. The challenge is to find a way to use your personal storehouse of wisdom and experience to enrich the rest of your life while simultaneously benefiting your family, church, community and mankind.
- Utilize your Strengths—one of the chapters in the PRP deals with conducting a SWOT analysis. In the corporate world, the acronym “SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a tool used by organizations to plan more effectively by analyzing each of the components of their performance. The intent of creating a SWOT analysis as a part of your PRP is to ensure that you align your existing strengths and capabilities with the opportunities you want to pursue in retirement. In short, find ways to capitalize on your strengths.
- Follow Your Dream—this insight deals with discovering your hidden desires or following your dream. The difference between the truly happy retirees and those who die with unfulfilled dreams is that the happy people stop talking about it and start doing things that make them happy and fulfilled. It’s that simple. You need to make a list of all those things that you really, really want to do while you still can. You, and only you, can do it. The important thing is to start.
- Pass Along Your Lore, Legend and Legacy—one of the great losses of advancing technology has been the gradual erosion of storytelling in our families. Television has overtaken family conversation. As a result we are in grave danger, as a society, of failing to pass along the lore and legend of our present generation and prior generations that we hold in the recesses of our collective memories.
The fact is that the senior generation has experienced things that our grandchildren don’t even comprehend. It is our job to pass along our lore and legend so that they will be able to tell their children and grandchildren what their grandparents told them. It’s the Roots thing up close and personal.
- Remember Your Purpose—regardless of your religious preference, even if you profess to no particular religious beliefs, retirement provides you with the opportunity to reflect on the true purpose of life and how you feel about your overall accomplishments. If you are satisfied with what you have done, simply continue on your path. If you feel you need to do more to achieve a better sense of purpose, then you need to make a commitment to identify the things you would still like to do and include them in your PRP.
The purpose of these insights is to help you create the appropriate attitude about retirement planning. The actual PRP process will walk you through the ten steps that are the components of the plan itself. If you understand the ten principles above, you will be more readily able to start your actual PRP.
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