Learning to successfully navigate the retirement jungle is no easy feat. Since none of us has firsthand experience there is no history to apply, no lessons learned to help steer the way. Rarely will things play out 100 percent as you plan and hope.
And yet the journey typically begins with a feeling of excitement, an optimistic view of what can be. Get ready to leave behind the stress of work, bid a find adieu to the kids as they head off to begin their own life adventures, and prepare to spend more time doing what you really want to do. Who wouldn’t be excited about such a future?
When it comes to retirement there is no one size fits all. Each of us has the freedom as well as the responsibility to figure out the best path to realize our individual happiness. But it can help to have some honest accurate advice to get us started. Perhaps a little heads up to avoid common pitfalls survived by those who have gone before us or are in similar straights.
Over the years I have uncovered a number of useful sources that can help prepare for some of retirement’s unexpected twists and turns. Various books and blogs, studies and reports, webinars and impassioned discussions have combined to help me get started down my retirement journey.
There is a group of favorite retirement bloggers who I have had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. Each offers a unique perspective as they share their individual retirement journeys. Bob Lowry authors A Satisfying Retirement where he describes experiences lived and challenges faced as he enjoys the life of a retiree in sunny Arizona. Sydney Lagier writes Retirement: A Full-Time Job sharing her insightful and always upbeat view of retirement which she began at age 44. Ted Carr takes the unique approach of interviewing various retirement pundits and posting the resulting podcasts on his site Retirement Journeys. There are many more sites but these are three of my favorites.
When it comes to books on retirement planning there are lots to choose from. Some focus on preparing for the financial side of retirement – actually a LOT focus on that area. Others address the reverse side of the retirement coin – the non-financial side of things. What can you do to find meaning and enjoyment in the retirement you live? My favorite is “How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free” by Ernie Zelinski. The cover states “Retirement wisdom that you won’t get from your financial advisor” and he is true to his word. Ernie addresses the topics every retiree will have to face at some point in their journey and he does it in a way that is entertaining as well as informative.
A few months ago I was asked to participate in a virtual seminar called Transitioning into Retirement. The three day event airs February 16-18 bringing together 12 experts who share their insights and advice on how to make retirement exciting, fulfilling and fun for the rest of your life. Note the focus is on the non-financial side of retirement (sound familiar?). I am honored to be among the list of experts which is hosted by Marianne Oehser, Certified Retirement Coach. The event is free of charge so take a listen if you can make time.
Another resource I employ is Google. I have set up a number of simple bots that scour the internet for information pertinent to retirement. A few of my favorites are retirement challenges, retirement planning, and aging. Each day a selection of posts and articles with these key words shows up in my mailbox to review at my leisure.
Talking to friends and family who are retired is yet another source of useful firsthand information on living retirement. Whether listening to stories shared by always busy mom and dad or being enlightened by my favorite Aunt Mary who continues her globetrotting adventures in her seventies or meeting the various neighbors who have retired in our community, it is always informative and generally entertaining to hear their words of wisdom. No one’s journey has been without incident but the overall attitude I find is positive. In the end I think that is what it is all about. Each of us has the freedom and responsibility to make the most of our second act. Advice from others is helpful but it is up to you and me to put it to good use. Here’s to a successful journey for us all.