Preparing for Retirement
Experts give advice on preparing financially and emotionally for the retirement years.
Setting Up a Retirement Plan
To set up a successful retirement plan, the experts recommend the
- Do the research. Find out what kind of plan your employer
offers. If you are self-employed or if your employer does not offer a
satisfactory retirement plan, check out options at the bank, or visit with a
financial planner. Be sure to ask about fees that may be involved with setting
up new retirement plans.
- Join an investment club. In addition to educating yourself
with retirement seminars and calculators and staying abreast of current events,
it may help to make investing a community affair. "A lot of people don't get
really serious about [retirement plans] unless they make it social and fun."
says Hushbeck. "Get together once a month, or once every three months to share
- Trust your instincts. You have the right as a mature
person to make your own decisions and judgments, says Hotes, urging people to
avoid thinking of themselves as powerless. Think of your options, and if it
helps, turn to a trusted friend or financial advisor for support. Also use
vigilance in trusting people with your financial and investment portfolio in
much the same way you teach kids to be wary of predators on the street.
- Manage your resources wisely. As with the old saying,
"Don't put your eggs in one basket," Robert Willis, PhD, professor of economics
at the University of Michigan advises against putting all of your wealth in one
company's stock. At the same time, he doesn't recommend hiding your money in a
mattress, as the funds will not have a chance to grow.
Manage Your Emotions
In planning for retirement, assessing your psychological portfolio is just
as important as examining your financial one, says Nancy K. Schlossberg, EdD,
author of Retire Smart, Retire Happy: Finding Your True Path in Life,
published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Schlossberg says there are three basic areas of change at retirement:
- Change in identity. When people retire, they may have to
alter how they define or view themselves. For example, instead of saying I work
at the World Bank," a person will need to come up with something else. Some
people have a hard time filling in the blank. People in positions of power and
authority or those who are used to traveling a lot for work may have this
- Change in relationships. Your
interactions with people at work, the community, and at home will likely shift.
Some workers who may have enjoyed talking at the water cooler will lose that
same social outlet upon retirement. At the same time, home life may change with
spouses or other family members having to adjust to the extra time together.
Turf issues may surface. If both husband and wife retire at the same time, for
example, issues may arise over who gets to use the telephone, computer, or TV.
Or retirees and their adult children may have different expectations regarding
family time or baby-sitting of grandchildren.
- Change in purpose. A person's mission in life alters at
retirement. He is likely no longer expected to go to the office, construction
site, or field on the same schedule.