KEEPING ACTIVE – DAVE BERNARD– Are you ready to retire? Have you planned and prepared for the day when you will leave the working world behind and venture off to live the life you have always wanted to, where you can do what you were really meant to be doing? Do you have enough hobbies and interests and passions to pursue to keep you engaged in living for the next 20 or more years?

With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day for the next 19 years, many who have been laser-focused on raising a family and paying day-to-day bills will need to start transitioning their thinking. Life as they know it will change dramatically when 40 or more hours a week suddenly become available to do with as you may. If the retirement nest has not been sufficiently feathered, savings will have to be cranked up as the clock is ticking. The time to plan and prepare is now, while you still have the runway available to make necessary adjustments.

When is the right time for you to consider retirement?

You have sufficient savings

There are numerous formulas and guidelines for what you should save for retirement. One school of thought recommends you have saved at least 80 percent of what you currently spend each year. Another targets a sufficient account so that you can withdraw 4 percent each year to live. What it really comes down to is your own individual situation and the lifestyle you hope to live as a retiree. What will be your expenses? Don’t sell yourself short here when it comes to funding those activities you most want to pursue. If travel is your baby, be sure to include a reasonable amount to subsidize your dreams. Some expenses will decrease (kids are done with college, house is paid off, cars are paid off) while others will increase like healthcare and insurance. Now compare to what will be your income from all areas. If you have enough, congratulations! If you do not, calculate what you need to do to get where you want to be. You may need to extend your career to fund your future or make other adjustments. That is why planning ahead is so important enabling you to identify shortfalls at a time when you can still do something to fix them.

Your job is sucking the life out of you

Most approaching retirement age have been in a career that spans close to 30 years or more. That is a long time to be doing something you really love let alone finding yourself forced to endure a difficult situation because you need to pay the bills. A burdensome job can be not only stressful but downright unhealthy. Hating from the moment you get up what is in store for the next 8-10-12 hours is bad for your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, if you are unable to check off the sufficient savings box, you may not have a choice.

Your second act is calling

Even if you have been a success in your career, even if you are the best at what you do, you may feel the call to do something new. There are so many different paths to take with so many passions to pursue that go beyond what your job is typically able to provide. Do your days taking piano lessons beckon to you with the promise of making beautiful music? Is volunteering in your blood as you see a world with so many in need of a helping hand? Would you like to add to your resume “author” of that great novel you know you have inside just waiting to be told? There is so much beyond the 9-to-5 working world we live just waiting to be explored. But while working, the time available to pursue your passions is dramatically impaired. Retirement can be your chance to explore your second act with an undivided attention.

Your partner is ready

Does your spouse head off to work each day behind lackluster glazed eyes with the slouched shoulders reminiscent of a beaten down victim? Does she drag herself in the door at night with little to say and fewer smiles as time goes on? Face it, as we get older, some things we used to take for granted become more challenging. We are just not quite as sharp as we once were when it comes to hearing, vision, or attention to detail. For some, retirement can be a lifesaver (figuratively and literally). With the freedom to explore what excites you, a new life can be breathed into that boring stressful life you have come to accept as normal. How much better to wake up with an urge to jump out of bed to get doing what you love to do? And it can be amazing how a relationship can be re-energized when those involved are happy about what the day has in store.

When you decide to retire is a very personal decision with numerous variables coming into play. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. But sometimes you do!

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