5 Strategies for Dream Retirement

By: Lin Schreiber

Copyright (c) 2007 Lin Schreiber

Most people think that's all retirement is about -- having enough money to sit on the deck, play golf, and visit the grandkids. But that's the old model -- not today's retirement. I believe you can revolutionize your retirement even if you can't count on 80% of your current revenue when you stop working. (That's the secret number according to many retirement experts.)

Someone who turns 65 today can expect to live until age 83, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, even if you stop working at the normal retirement age, you've got nearly two decades to fill with things that really matter to you. And, if you give up traditional employment sooner, you've got even more years to enjoy the "third half" of life. Today the average retirement age is an astonishingly young 57.

I said "enjoy," and I mean it. To do that, you need to put yourself squarely in the driver's seat -- decide when and how you retire and who you will be. Don't let someone else's definition determine your retirement.

So, begin by putting the money issue aside entirely. That's right. Just forget about money and take a good hard look at the life you want to be living. Start journaling, brainstorm with friends and family, and dream a lot. For inspiration, begin to brainstorm ideas and tools needed to help you plan the perfect retirement for YOU.

OK. So money does have something to do with it. Now's the time to figure out exactly how much you have and what you'll need. Maybe you'll discover that you have enough money to do everything you want to do. Congratulations!

But what if you don't? Will you need to work until seven years after you're dead? Or can you still create the retirement of your dreams? Of course you can. Here are some ways to make that happen.

1. First, sharpen your pencil and reconsider how much is enough? Maybe you don't need to stay in the big house and take care of all that stuff. Perhaps you'd love to simplify your life by living out of your RV as you travel the country. What could you downsize or let go of to buy yourself a more carefree existence?

2. Second, consider supplemental income. Wait a minute, didn't I just say you were going to stop working? Well, there's work. And, then there's work.

Larry was an art teacher in an urban high school for his entire career. In retirement, he followed his passion for painting and also volunteered at a national art society near his home. His experience, enthusiasm and organizational skills so impressed the Director that Larry was offered a part-time position as Assistant Director. Although he has less time for his painting, the supplemental income allows him the luxury of another passion -

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