Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Do millions of us need to re-think and re-shape our retirement plans?
I’m reminded our nation’s constitution is a living document as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Do I really need to reshape my retirement plan? A large red ant with a green leaf on its back works its way back up the rope to the tree. Birds chirping everywhere present an awesome mountain soundtrack. Many would argue it is not really necessary; the economy will come back and everything will be cool just like before. I disagree; recent economic events have produced an ongoing economic uncertainty. This has increased awareness of the importance of a comprehensive, balanced approach to retirement planning for millions of hard-working Americans.
A Change in Mind-set
Retirees planning how they will live in older age are confronted with economic challenges on multiple fronts. Rapidly changing economic paradigms have resulted in continued economic uncertainty now and in the foreseeable future. Emotional fronts facing future and current retirees in retirement can also appear bewildering.
With the number of retirees soaring it is no wonder future and current retirees have difficulty imagining what it will look like when seniors try to collect on those spending promises made to them.
As the unwinding of the American experience continues retirees will face financial challenges the likes of which never seen previously. Retirees would do well to support national, state, and local efforts to galvanize a common competitive economic vision, a unified economic solution that deals responsibly with our countries debt while keeping its promises to its senior population.
The financial and emotional challenges facing retirees can be managed. It really does come down to how we choose to respond to becoming older. While living in older age it matters less what happens to us and more how we respond to our circumstances. Having created plans with creative options for ourselves down the road is key. We really can create the life we want for ourselves in older age. All that is required is focus and planning.
You know what sucks about getting older? Answer: Getting older. I’m not sugar-coating the fact of getting older. Sure I now recognize that when the gal at the store says “Sir” she’s talking to me. Yes, the backs of my hands look like my fathers. I buy dime store glasses to read. I put orthotics in my shoes; intentionally miscalibrate the settings on my digital scale. I survived cancer and divorce. More Absent –minded, forgetful, not that I can recall. Disciplined in my respect for the power of the nap, you betch ya. And I finally understand what former president Bill Clinton meant when he stated that the close proximity of the Presidential bathroom to his office was key to his affair with Monica Lewinsky. BOO HOOO, SO WHAT NOW WHAT?
Becoming the best writer/speaker, photographer and basketball official/coach I can be. Fully developing myself and integrating my life that’s what. I get to!
This new phase of your life is no different from previous phases of your life. You bring to the table strengths and weaknesses; you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you to be forward thinking and realistic about what retirement means for you. For millions of us the new retirement means re-thinking and re-shaping our retirement plans. For others it means taking retirement planning more seriously and developing a comprehensive, balanced, written plan.
Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages. I understand its human nature to ignore retirement plan development in favor of something more immediately gratifying. Alas “Creative Retirement Planning” is a lifelong adventure. There is real power in planning (the unconscious minds’ magic) sooner rather than later. Today I encourage you to ask yourself what are you really planning to do with your 6,000 blank pages?