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Adventures in Retirement – Plan now for a retirement that includes hobbies and activities

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness, Senior Living

Published on October 02, 2013 with No Comments

In promoting my book on retirement planning, I have given many presentations to groups of people who are old enough to begin retirement planning and groups who are already retired but might need a better retirement plan.  I am not addressing financial planning; I am addressing “life” planning.  That is, what should you do with your retirement time to assure happiness, healthiness and self-fulfillment? 

My experience has indicated that most people who should be planning their retirement may worry about financial issues, but feel that they needn’t be concerned with life issues.  That is, they are not concerned with the things they will do with their time after they retire. 

Sadly, many people who have retired without a life plan eventually find themselves without activities or interests that make life worth living.  They become inactive, develop unhealthy lifestyles and often become depressed.  When they are warned that their lifestyle is hurting them and told how to improve it, they often refuse to accept that they need help.  It is really tragic when a person refuses to improve his or her life because it would be an admission of failure.

Let’s briefly analyze these attitudes.

Why plan for retirement?

Retirement in some ways is a little like high school graduation.  When we graduate from high school, we usually feel that our whole life of opportunities is ahead of us. We move forward with excitement.  When you retire, you also have a whole new life ahead of you—that is, you have the time to do all the things you ever thought you’d like to do.   This should be an exciting time and you shouldn’t want to waste a minute of it. 

You ought to begin thinking about exciting activities years before you retire.  And to do this may mean some advance preparation.  If it involves moving to a different place, you will want to research locations.  If it involves a greater level of fitness, then you will want to prepare for that.  If it involves knowledge you do not currently have, you may want to learn about it before you jump in. 

In addition, there are many other issues that should be considered and addressed before retirement.  For instance, a married person is going to find that his or her marital relationship will change with retirement.  You may be spending a lot more time together and that can be traumatic in some instances.  Also, when your interests change from work-related to retirement-related, some of your friendships will need to change.  This adjustment will work better with advance planning. These examples are just a few of the things that can create roadblocks to a successful retirement.

Why should a retiree review retirement results?

No one can know for certain how well their planning will affect their future.  If you make an effort to anticipate the problems and issues of retirement and try to make decisions that will help things go smoothly, your chances of happiness, health, mental fitness and emotional stability are good.  However, unexpected events can make you change your game plan.  For instance, the economy can impact your finances and force you to go back to work either full time or as a part-time worker.  If you are open to change, these reverses can provide positive experiences. 

What is important is to review your life plan periodically with an open mind and decide if you need to do a better planning job.  I believe that my book can help with this.  It anticipates many of the issues that retirees and seniors face during life’s journey.   It can help you determine whether a change in your life plan is called for.  It can help you to overcome the attitude that you are somehow at fault for your errors. 

Whatever happens in life can be a “downer” or an opportunity.  Having a positive attitude and an open mind will allow you to go forward with confidence.  You can be a strong person and decide that you can deal with the unexpected.   It’s up to you. 

“Sadly, many people who have retired without a life plan eventually find themselves without activities or interests that make life worth living.” 

–Bill Leavitt

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About Bill Leavitt

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit RetirementLifesGreatestAdventure.com for more information.

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