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Retirement: It’s Not What You Think

Retirement is changing, make sure you’re prepared for a different reality.

  • First, do a complete assessment; understand your financial and physical health

  • Think about what you might want to do in retirement: volunteer, spend time with grandchildren, new career, travel

  • Understand if you want to move to a lower cost of living environment to stretch your assets

  • Set retirement goals and align your financial planning

  • Share your own experiences and help others

Maybe we need to look at retirement differently. Clearly, I do. I’ve already retired twice, and now I am back at work.


I announced my first retirement 6 years ago when my eleven-year career at an online trading leader came to an end. Within a week a friend contacted me and asked me to help out her start-up. I became a consultant – and was sure this was the way I would spend what is now called a “pre-tirement.” In fact, I wrote an article about how I would never go back to full-time work.


I did a few things that I wish I had done sooner. I took some time to look at my life. What were my career ambitions? How was my health? What were my wife and my goals for retirement? As a result, I scheduled a physical and sat down with my wife to review our finances.


Together we decided a few things. First, I needed to get healthy… I wasn’t going to have a retirement if I continued on the path I was on. Second, the retirement we imagined -- maintaining our current lifestyle -- would take more money than we anticipated.


We took a clear look at ALL of our savings, expenses and debts. We WROTE down a plan on how to increase savings and decrease expenses and debts. We set a number for our retirement (the amount we believe we’ll need to live on in retirement) and we revisit the plan on a quarterly basis.


With the plan in place, I went back into the workforce as a marketing consultant for almost three years, when another former business associate called me for what turned into a three-year full-time position with a large financial services company.


My second retirement started about three months ago. I talked with my wife to let her know what I was thinking -- that I was committed to not going back to work (she was skeptical but supportive) … but after a month of travel I am back at work.


So you can see retirement isn’t retirement anymore.


We have to learn how to be flexible when you’re both planning for retirement and when you’re moving into it.


What happened? And can it happen to you?


The more I look into it, the clearer it becomes: retirement is not the full stop we saw in previous generations– one day I’m working, the next day I am in Florida playing shuffleboard and waiting for the 5 o’clock special.


People are both not retiring at all or changing careers entirely.


Talk to the Hive:

What do you think you’ll be doing in retirement and what is your plan for getting there?


The Hive is Somewhat Confident about Reaching Retirement Goals. How about You?


Some folks think retirement is a long way off, so they don’t want to think about it now. For others retirement is so close, they feel like they won’t have enough time to reach their financial goals.

What’s your level of confidence?



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