What can I do?

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored four published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (www.YourRetirementQuest.com).  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives. 

Alan Spector

A woman approached us after a recent life planning workshop.  It was clear she was distraught.  With a sadness on her face and in her voice, she told us that her husband had retired 10 years earlier, he had spent the decade sitting on the couch watching reruns.  “It has been a lost decade in my life.  What can I do?”

Extreme example?  Perhaps.  But it is not uncommon for those entering or already in retirement to have either done no planning or attended only to their finances.  And while financial planning is certainly important, it is only one part of living the retirement you deserve.

 So, what’s the secret?  Yes, do the financial planning, AND add life planning to the mix.  Here’s why.  First, there’s actually been research to show that on average, those who do life planning have a more successful retirement.  Did you also know that if you write your plan down, you’re five times more likely to actually follow it?

Another reason is what financial advisors tell us—clients who come to them with a life plan end up with a better financial plan.  In reality, isn’t that what a financial plan is for—to support the life you plan to live?

If you’re still working, why don’t you begin “practicing retirement?”  It’s simple.  Invest the time to develop your retirement life plan, and bring the things you want to do then into your life now.  But it all starts with the life plan.  More about practicing retirement in a future post.

There are other reasons to develop your life plan and do so now, but I think you get the drift.  The risk of saying to yourself, “I’ll figure it out later,” is that you never will.  You may not end up on the couch for a lost decade watching reruns, but you may be in jeopardy of not living the full and fulfilling retirement life you deserve.