ASK THE RETIREMENT CONCIERGE: TO TEST DRIVE YOUR RETIREMENT

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Dear SharonAnn,

Our planned retirement and move in 12 months is heading toward us like a bullet train and such big changes in our lives are really scary. What if we cannot make new friends? What if we would have been better off to delay it for five years? What if we run out of money? What if we get bored not working? What if we detest our new community? Signed Nervous about Change

August 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Dear Nervous: There is no doubt that life changes are nerve wracking. In fact for most of us any change pushes us into fight or flight impulses, even those changes we initiate ourselves. There is no substitute for doing your own investigation. Having Plan A and Plan B is also a smart strategy when thinking about your retirement or any move.  Our best remembered baby boomer good-bye is remembered in the words of Spock, “Live long and prosper.” We all want that!

One of the best ways to evaluate your retirement plan is to ‘test drive’ it. Initially when you set up your retirement goals you must have created a budget for your income and expenses. So pretend your retirement is now. [I try to treat each evening and weekend as little slices of retirement because no one is guaranteed a lengthy one at the end of their career. ~Mike Hammar] Pull out your retirement spending plan [budget] and live on it for the next three months. You have decided to move to a different community. Could you spend your vacation there instead of elsewhere? Attend all the social functions you can and be open to conversations with others. Extend your current hobbies throughout your vacation by reaching out to existing groups. For example ladies league golfing or adult softball leagues will welcome you even for a short time. Get the local newspapers and find out about the events and the community leaders. Often you can connect with an informal leader who will introduce you to many friends. Is there a cause you espouse? Volunteering is a good way to dial in to a new community.

There are few major changes that are a hundred percent positive. A key to making yours successful is setting your mind ahead of time to make your move a good one. Calling it rightsizing is a good step in that direction because it underlines the fact that you are choosing to change. You are moving thoughtfully after evaluating many options and this seems to be the best one for you right now.  If you give your new community a fair trial and you do not feel incorporated, then shifting to Plan B is an option.

Plan B? Yes, we must have one. It is all part of the quality of resilience that you need in order to cope with change. Let’s admit that as time goes on we will have to face change. Our relatives age, we do too! Friends come and go from our lives. Investments flourish or fizzle. Our children have it all together or flub up. Plan B involves re-evaluting one’s resources, exploring alternatives and making another choice.

Living their dream Judy and Rick retired four years ago, rented their large house out and hit the road in their RV. They drove all over the country, seeking out the sunny areas whenever possible. Two years later their budget was torpedoed when the truck engine failed and they had to buy a new one, they had a few medical problems that needed treatments and their tenant stopped paying rent. They took a deep breath and a serious look at their assets, decided to sell the house and now are able to continue to travel until they find a new homeplace. They are open to living anywhere in the US but would love to live near the water.  They navigated from Plan A to Plan B. Yes, there was disappointment but they coped and ultimately decided to be happy no matter what. THIS illustrates resilience.

We paralyze ourselves with a thousand fears by playing ‘what if’ games. A way to manage such fear is to take each question and research the answer until you are comfortable with your options. You can find advisors to help answer your questions. If you maintain a clear focus on your goal of retirement answers to your questions will naturally evolve. The big money question of ‘how can I be sure my money will last as long as I do’ really needs professional perspectives even if you have significant financial overflow from your spending plan.

We sometimes think like the Spanish proverb: “How beautiful to do nothing and then rest afterward.” There are however many who don’t even believe in retirement. They continuously repurpose their lives using what they are able to contribute until the day they die.  It is really all about choice and planning and resilience and mindset. All are actions within our abilities. Sometimes we might need a little help. We can turn to a retirement coach, a friend who has experience, a pastor or do our own investigation using resources in books and, of course, the internet.

In your journey to fulfillment of your own retirement plan, take time to laugh along the way. Problems take on their proper perspective when viewed with a happy heart. “People who laugh actually live longer than those who don’t laugh. Few persons realize that health actually varies according to the amount of laughter".

James J. Walsh. We could shift Spock’s words to “Live long, laugh and prosper”!

The Retirement Concierge offers Estate Settlement Coordination assistance as a team member of attorneys, trustees, and fiduciaries. We do not offer legal, financial or tax advice. We also wrote A 10-Step Action plan for Defining Your Mission helping Boomers on the verge of retirement to plan, make and manage life transitions by guiding them through a systematic process of discovery and re-creation where they write their own rules, make their own plans and reinvent their own lives. www.TheRetirementConcierge.com (619-818-8575).