Wednesday, April 5, 2017


You want to retire?  Can't afford to?

You're not alone.

It's no secret that millions of baby boomers are approaching their retirement years with meager savings and no pension at all.

This means retirement in the traditional sense of "not working" while maintaining your standard of living just isn't a possibility for many baby boomers.

Here are a few ideas that might help....

First, downsize everything.

The most important thing to do is downsize your debt. If you are not part of the millionaire’s club, you will struggle without your career paycheck.  Attack your debt with intensity. Start by paying off your credit cards. Ditch the car payment by driving a beater. You must downsize your debt.

Consider downsizing your home and possessions. Sell your house and use the equity to buy a small place with cash and pay off your debts. Find a way to pay off your mortgage.  Get rid of the clutter with an auction sale and use the proceeds to attack debt. You really don’t need three cars, two boats, a fleet of ATVs, and a time-share-condo. Downsize your home and possessions. 

Downsize your retirement expectations too. Sure, a few people made smart investments and can retire to Tuscany and live in a Villa. But many cannot. If you picture retirement as one big party on the Love Boat you need to downsize your expectations. The post-career years can be some of the best years of your life but you need to be realistic.

Second, explore an encore career.

An encore career is a job which gives you greater personal satisfaction while earning an income. It combines enjoyment with a paycheck.

Before you walk away from your established career ask yourself some of these questions. What would I like to do even if it paid nothing? Which of my hobbies could be turned into a revenue stream? What need exists which could be met by combining my strengths and passions?

Encore careers, depending on individual interests and financial needs, range from starting a travel agency to buying garage sale items and selling them online. Give it some careful thought. Go with your gut. Start exploring these possibilities now while you still the security of a regular paycheck.

Third, get in the best physical shape possible.

Stop smoking.  Eat better.  Exercise.  Get plenty of rest.  Take care of yourself.

Extra weight is a killer. And if it doesn’t kill you it will cost you. Those added pounds cause diabetes, heart disease, and other health related concerns. If you face retirement age with little cash reserves you cannot roll the dice on your health. You must do everything possible to lose weight.

If you are overweight and have failed to lose the pounds in previous attempts remind yourself now is the time to get serious. You may not have another chance to attack the weight. It is now or never.

Even if weight is not issue start a walking program. If you can only walk one lap through the local mall start doing it. Progress until you are walking at least two miles a day six days a week. You will be surprised how walking helps you physically and makes you feel sharper mentally.

Before you leave your career make an appointment with your doctor and get a complete physical. Now is the time to address any health issues. If you wait to check on your health you might discover a need after your income drops and your insurance isn’t as good. Take the time now to deal with any health issues.

Fourth, get on your knees and thank God that you will continue working in your retirement years.

When your friends talk about 401ks, IRAs, pension plans, and a couple million in the bank, you feel the need to fight back tears.  Right?

You didn’t intended to end up this way, but things just didn’t work out… for whatever reason.

Get over the tears… get on your knees and thank God that you will (might) have to continue working in your senior years.  Here’s why:

(1)  When you keep working instead of taking conventional retirement, you stay more connected instead of less connected.

Many people who retire tend to unplug from the world. Their world grows smaller. The circle of work friends disappears. Any social engagement from the job is gone. Golf courses of America are full of lonely retirees fantasizing about the good old days when they were involved in something meaningful. But if you continue to work you maintain friendships. You meet new people. You stay connected.

(2) When you keep working instead of taking conventional retirement, you remain active and healthy instead of becoming lazy and unhealthy.

How many people have you known who retired and “enjoyed” a life of watching old TV shows while they got bigger and lazier? It’s easy to do.  But if you keep on working you stay active and keep the extra pounds off.

Finally, The traditional understanding of retirement is no longer relevant to a growing number of men and women today.  They continue working for the purpose of fulfillment, often choose second or third careers, or find non-profit organizations or religious causes to dedicate themselves to, and stay fully engaged in the process of living an active, productive life.

Myself, I am unwilling to winter with the old folks in South Florida.  Playing another round of shuffle board is not my thing.  Neither do I want to live at the same maddening pace of my first half.  Knowing that I have another twenty years or so to live (God willing) I want to live them as productively as possible, vigorously pursuing the things that mean the most to me.  I want to run my race well and cross the finish line strongly.

I think that's what you're supposed to do in the 2nd half.

If you start doing these things ( and many others like them) you will not enter into panic mode when retirement comes knocking on your door. Begin now.  You will be glad you did.

1 comment:

orphanlady said...

Just wanted you to know I miss your writings. Hope everything is alright with you & Renae & everything else in life... and that it's just you're too busy.