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Retirement isn’t what it used to be

As more and more baby boomers approach retirement, many don't want to live their golden years in a rocking chair or playing checkers.  But what are the alternatives? The authors of "Don't Retire, Rewire"  offer five tips to get you thinking differently about how to create a fulfilling future for yourself.
/ Source: TODAY

As more and more baby boomers approach retirement, many don't want to live their golden years in a rocking chair or playing checkers. But many retirees aren't exactly sure what to do with their newfound free time. The authors of "Don't Retire, Rewire," husband-and-wife team Rick Miners and Jeri Sedlar, travel across the country helping individuals find fulfillment during retirement. Here are their tips to get you thinking differently about how to create a fulfilling future for yourself.

Planning for the future is a whole lot different today than it was 10 years ago. Retirement used to mean kicking back and living a life of leisure. Some people still want that, but others are seeking a more diversified life that includes work and play plus other activities.

Since we’re living longer and healthier lives (an additional 20 to 25 years after the age of 65), we have a gift of time that means we can explore opportunities and imagine new possibilities.

Stories abound of individuals in their 50s, 60s and 70s who have “rewired” by going back to school, starting a business or a new career or even entering the Peace Corps.

Regardless of your age or stage of life, you need to start thinking about “rewiring” instead of retiring. 

Know why you want to retire
Are you being pushed or pulled into retirement? Some people leave a career or profession to pursue a dream or passion, while others are influenced by the retirement of their spouse or friends. It’s important for you to determine if you are retiring on your own schedule or someone else’s. Some retirees admit they retired because they hit their financial goal. Regardless of your reason, being clear in your own head about why you’re leaving affects how well you transition into your next act.

Identify what rewards beyond money your work gives you
When you leave work behind, you also give up the emotional fulfillment that work provides. Many people complain about their job. They say that they can’t wait to stop putting up with demanding clients, long commutes, stress, deadlines and office politics. What they often fail to consider are the positive benefits that work provides. Retiring can mean leaving behind friends and community that give one a sense of belonging. Others might miss the problem-solving they did at work or their chance to make a difference. Still others will miss the identity and power that work gave them. Understanding your drivers, or the emotional rewards associated with work beyond the money, will make you  aware of what you will be leaving behind when you leave the job.

Talk with your family about the future
Share your thinking about retirement with those close to you. Don’t risk having your spouse or significant other feel left out or being the last to know. You don’t rewire in a vacuum, so your retirement will have an impact on them. Think about the future as: his/her/and our retirement Starting the dialogue sooner rather than later will give you the chance to deal with possible issues or challenges. Partners need to get on the same page about the future. There may be financial considerations to discuss as well as personal ones. 

Analyze your calendar
Know where you are currently spending your time. Look at your calendar and eliminate all the work-related activities you have written down. The goal is to see how much time is spent at work or work-associated events versus on your personal interests. Arrange your activities into categories such as family, community, sports and social events. Having a clear picture of how much free time you will have can start you thinking about what you would like the calendar to look like in the future and what activities you want to pursue. 

Determine if you want to work in retirement
“Working in retirement” is the new trend in America. More and more people are leaving one job or career and starting a new one. Whether you want to work or need to work, the joy is to find work you like. If you have enjoyed working at something, the goal may be to continue doing it, but on your schedule, on your terms. Corporations are beginning to offer phased and flexible situations to keep valued workers. Some people want to start their own business or pursue a new career that can benefit society, like teaching or nursing. Put together a list of your skills, talents and abilities, along with your interests. Once you identify what it is you would like to do, you can start putting together a plan that will help you realize your dream.

More from the authors at their Web site: