It is never too early to start retirement planning! Millions of baby boomers will fail at retirement. They may wind up as unhappy retirees.Money is only a part of what is needed to be happy in retirement-and certainly not the most important part.
Many will fail at retirement because their plans are not adequate for what is ahead. It should be a most enjoyment part of their life.
Recently a young 61 year-old boomer friend of mine was discussing the possibility of early retirement on his 62nd birthday. He knew that I had "been there-done that."
He told me he will get a pretty good pension and combined with Social Security, he and his wife ought to do O.K. "My kids are on their own, and the mortgage is paid."
"I've been busting my hump for more than 40 years, I'd like to just sit back and enjoy retirement. What do you think Charlie"?
"My friend," I told him,"You will "sit back" as you say, and see what gets collected first, your fat pension, Social Security, or you.
At 84, and as a father of a boomer, I've been asked many times about retirement. This is what I've told others: (I'm so darn smart?) I no longer worry about 'peer pressure.'
All those years in a work-a-day world. The years seemed like a very long time-at the time. But now, looking back it really was a very short time. How about the many years I struggled to make ends meet? Those were the long years.
Life is like that. We work hard, we live hard, and suddenly it's time to let up. Whether it's planned or "the golden hand shake," The pullback comes to most of us.
O.K. So what now? If it is careful planned, we probably knew what we choose to do with our so-called golden years. If on the other hand it was the corporate economy "kiss-off"-a totally unexpected forced retirement, it meant quick decisions were absolutely necessary.
The key to a happy and productive withdrawal can be summed up in three words. "Something to do." A part time job, work at home, hobbies, helping with household chores, learn cyber space, travel, golf-they all can be "something to do."
Your mental perspective is probably the most important concern. Find something to do. Stay active, when boredom sets in, and it inevitably will, it's good to have an activity to drive away the doldrums. Try a week of simulated retirement-just stay home and watch daytime TV (all day?).
One of the great dangers of early retirement is boredom and it's inevitable consequences, depression and heavy-heartedness.
Psychologists will tell you that the sudden letdown of the change from the mundane and material workaday world to idle and empty hours can lead to a debilitating melancholy despondency.
There can be an easy solution for the doldrums and the loss of hope for your future: Find that "something to do." Keep busy!
I'm not suggesting you keep constantly busy; that's not why you retired. But when gloom or boredom sets in, and it inevitably and most certainly will, it's good to have something to fall back on. Something to do! (Been there!)
All those many years of your trade or professional life, you probably had something you wished you had more time to devote to. Hey, now you have the time-do it! You always wanted to learn to play an instrument. Why not do it? (Give your spouse a break-not the drums.)
Join the crowd. Buy a computer. Learn what dot com is all about. Go on-line. Get an e-mail handle.
We all have at least a smattering of latent talent. Now is the time to put yours to work. It's that "something to do."
There are so many ways to volunteer your time. Churches, libraries, civic organizations-all will welcome you, giving you plenty to do.
A late-in-life writing career and many other forms of recreation and diversion has protected me from a tedious and humdrum retirement.
It's been a great pleasure, along with drawing cartoons and my piano. These are my in-house activities. Yard work, travel, and helping my wife of 65 years are a couple other ways I like to think I stay sharp and make the dust fly.
About life in general, I have a favorite phrase I like to use. "It's been fun."
We can keep it that way-with something to do. And good health.
Getting back to my friend: You've come a long way, but you are running out of gas. Don't get like some folks I know and worry that old age will go on too long. Make the most of your "Seasoned Years." Always have that "something to do."
Can you afford to retire? Yes you can. Be aware of inflationary pressure. Inflation means you save for your old age, and go broke in middle age.
Try not to let the gold of the so-called Golden Years become tarnished.
The retirement years could fall upon you like a delayed action bomb. Your wife may find it's twice as much husband and half as much money. Try doing things together, fun and enjoyable things.
Stay energetic, be progressive. I'II say again, "Don't allow the sun to set on your twilight years too soon."
Remain productive and useful. Put on your training wheels and try a combination of retirement and work.
What has been the secret of staying healthy and active for this 84 year old guy? DEEP BREATHING! And I hope to keep it up for many more years, thank you.
A conclusion is a place where you get tired of thinking-or giving advice? I'll finish here. I'm too old to set a bad example.
E-mail Charlie Adams Jr.: LST281@aol.com.