This 11 part series of estate planning articles will help readers prepare for retirement, understand basic estate planning techniques, and compile their personal "Survivor's Guide" binder. These articles are excerpted from the weekly articles I published on this site after retiring and they are a part of my retirement journal. They are designed to help you think about the entire picture and not just your annuity and when you can leave. There is considerably more to retirement than meets the eye and this guide will help you focus on the critical issues that we all must address at this time in our lives.
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If you are an emotional wreck before retirement there is a distinct possibility that you will remain that way after you leave if you don’t make changes NOW! You are who you are....... RIGHT? Maybe to a degree this is correct, we are the by-product of our gene pool and the environment we live in. However, the good news is that we have the ability to make significant changes in how we deal with life in general and there is hope even for a workaholic like me - it’s Sunday morning and I’m writing this column and working on deadline for a new book. The key to being emotionally prepared is to plan for your departure well in advance of leaving. You can’t, or I should say it isn’t wise to leave what you will do in retirement to chance. Some do, and it works out fine, and others are left adrift without oars in a sea of adversity. Leaving a stressful job doesn’t mean that you will leave that stress behind. It tends to ride right with you wherever you go unless you learn how to let it go and get on with your life.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that retirement in and of itself will not solve your perceived problems unless you take action to relieve the stress, whatever it is. By the way, I’m not a philosopher either, just a fellow retiree who has experienced this first hand and now feels fairly comfortable with his new life style. All change is stressful and when you retire the stress - change - is there and you have to deal with it and make some serious decisions. I suggest making a short list to address these basic questions long before you leave:
The last question will be formulated after you address the first 8. If you decide that you want to start a small business now is the time to explore that option part time while you are working full time for Uncle Sam. No matter what you aspire to do; work, pursue hobbies, golf, travel more, volunteer at your local church, NOW is the time to put those plans into action so when you leave it isn’t all left to chance. If you take action now and start the process you won’t be stressed about it when you leave and will at least know what direction you are heading when you walk out the door.
I know this is a simple concept however many don’t take it far enough. So..... in closing, if you are preparing to retire ask yourself these questions, put pencil to paper, make a plan, have meaningful discussions with your loved ones and make it happen.
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