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What Is Retirement
Winston Churchill reached the age of 65 with no significant achievements. He received recognition after he became a prime minister and made his famous speeches. 

Gioachino Rossini, on the other hand, wrote his 39th and final opera, "Guillaume Tell," and ... retired. Rossini was clear about his intention to retire years earlier - Stendhal wrote in a letter to a friend in 1819 that Rossini was eager to stop working at 30. Between these extremes is the ever more popular semi-retirement. It is clear that, as a society, we are moving towards more flexibility. And we want our preferences and our choices to be respected.  

People reaching retirement age now are healthier and more educated than ever before, and, depending on the poll, between 66% and 75% of them intend to work because they need money or want to contribute. Only 25% actually do work past the standard retirement age of 65; polls show they expect to never retire at all. 

Looming Retirement, Enormous Anxiety

80% of Americans worry about retirement, shows a University of Nevada study. 44% of Americans have little or no confidence they will be able to retire in comfort, according to the survey. The poll showed that just 11% are strongly convinced they'll be well off when they retire. Nearly 6 in 10 said their nest eggs shrank during the recession, and 42% of those said they'd have to put off retirement because of it. About a quarter of baby boomers say they have no retirement savings, with the exception of their homes. Median savings are down to $40,000, and almost two-thirds expect to rely on Social Security for most of their retirement income. We are in need of creative, smart solutions to this problem. 

Retirement Planning and Worrying

Eighty percent of retirement planning consists of worrying. In particular, worrying about money. When almost everyone is currently experiencing losses which negatively effect their retirement savings, it is hardly surprising. more ...

How to Find Motivation for Retirement Planning

The majority of Americans do not plan for retirement, even though it is an essential part of their financial security. Here are a few suggestions for finding the motivation, or the energy, to start on your path to prosperity. 

What’s at Stake

If you do not want to be among 80% of Americans who worry about income in retirement, and if you would like to create the wealth necessary for the peace of mind and the realization of dreams that you have for the second half of your life, you need to find the motivation to think ahead and take the right action now. 

Why planning is important Research studies prove that planning is a very strong predictor of wealth. Annamaria Lusardi, a professor at Dartmouth College, came up with a few studies revealing that those who do not plan get close to retirement with half the amount of wealth than those who have done some planning – HALF! (Annamaria Lusardi, 1999, 2009; Lusardi and Beeler 2007, Lusardi and Mitchell, 2007, 2009; Ameriks, Caplin, and Leahy, 2003). Planners are more likely to experience a satisfying retirement because they have higher financial resources to rely on. Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow put safety and security at the foundation of the Pyramid of Needs. This is just common sense. Spending every day of your life in retirement worrying about money is not going to be a satisfying experience. more ...

Will your pension be enough to live comfortably?

Have you given any thought to how comfortable your retirement is going to be? The technical term describing your level of comfort is the replacement ratio. It describes the proportion of your average lifetime earnings that your pension will pay out. For example, if your average salary was $100,000 a year and your pension is $60,000 a year, the replacement ratio is 60%. more ...

Retirement age

Every time someone brings up the minimum retirement age, I feel apprehensive. What scares me about retirement age is that while 75% of Americans say that they want to work in retirement, only 25% actually do. So, while we are going to hear more and more about raising the minimum retirement age, the fundamental question is, why aren’t people who say they want to work actually working? more ...

Retirement Planning and Financial Scams, or How to Be Your Own Sherlock Holmes

Do you recall how famously focused the great detective Sherlock Holmes was on his profession and how indifferent to other basic facts about the world?  The man who could identify an obscure species of jellyfish actually boasted about his ignorance of the solar system.

I wonder how Holmes drew the line between useless and practical information. In the world of retirement planning, you of course need to know the practical, particularly how to prevent being scammed by unscrupulous people. It is critical that you become your own super-focused and brilliantly educated sleuthmore ...

Retirement planning and Archimedes

Remember the legend of the naked man jumping out of his bath and running out into the street shouting "Eureka! Eureka" ("I've found it! I've found it!")? The famous Archimedes principle, formed in the overflowed bathtub, states that the loss in weight of the immersed body is equal to the weight of the liquid displaced.

I often think about Archimedes when I talk to people in retirement. I noticed long ago that people talk – for the most part – either about their problems, or their passions. If someone has no passions, she or he will bring up their problems. Passions displace problems – although I haven’t quantified the formula the way Archimedes did (but I do take a lot of baths and continue thinking about it). more ...

Retirement Truths

Aging is a fact, but how you experience it is your choice.  Many research studies show that life after 50 can be the most treasured time of your life. This happens because life perceptions are more positive and feelings of worry or stress decline.  Research also shows that a fulfilling retirement is impossible without concerted planning, which should extend beyond the requisite financial plan to also encompass your emotional wants, needs and desires based on thoughtful and practical self-reflection.

Retire­ment is the time when you have already fulfilled your obligations to others in life and are now free to make some new choices with yourself as the priority. Indeed, with proper preparation and forethought, you can realize your full potential and enjoy an astonishing quality of life in retirement. This may include working, mentoring, volunteering, traveling, learning and anything else that helps you feel secure, joyful, independent, valuable and carefree. more ...

Searching for a Retirement Paradise: Seven Attitudes of a Person Finding their Perfect Lifestyle

Ernst & Young reported in July 2008 that three out of five (60%) middle class retirees would outlive their financial assets if they didn’t cut back on spending significantly.  As more and more people consider this reality, they begin to search for options that guarantee a peace of mind that comes from knowing that they are not going to run out of resources. 

While some people take the attitude that cutting back on spending in retirement is a negative thing, I dedicate this article to the brave souls who welcome the challenge and venture out to explore the world no matter the budget. Do you think it might be you? You will find out soon enough by trying on these seven qualities of a person who would be happy picking up and landing somewhere in a tropical paradise with cheap food and housing (and believe me, there’s a bunch of people already sitting there).more ...

Three Steps Towards Retiring in Costa Rica

"One of the biggest mistakes people make in retiring offshore is equating affordability with quality of life," says best-selling author on retiring in Costa Rica Christopher Howard. His view on the attraction of retiring in Central America?  "You grow up, go to college, choose your career, get married, your kids grow up and BOOM – what do you do? Come to a place like this! It offers a whole new exciting stage of life, a whole new adventure!" more ...

Retirement in Costa Rica Is About Your Lifestyle, Money is a Perk!

More and more people are looking offshore. Costa Rica is one of the best choices for all the amenities it has to offer. It’s “user-friendly” to Americans: has a dish network, shopping malls, movies in English. more...

Is Medical Tourism a Viable Option in Retirement?

Money is tight, and people are looking for options to save on medical costs, especially in retirement. I spent the beginning of this year in Costa Rica, investigating the practical solutions to both medical and cost-of-living concerns of many Americans who approach their retirement with dread, rather than eager anticipation. more ...

Retiring Well: How to Manage a Change in Lifestyle

Most people look forward to the freedom of retiring from full-time work, but do not know how to handle a change in lifestyle that it brings about. I have often wondered why people are so resistant to change, even when it is positive. Since more brain research is now available on the subject, here is your guide to successfully navigating change, and retiring to a great lifestyle. more ...

Retiring Well: Five Insights into Changing Your Lifestyle

Why is change so difficult? Why would only one in nine people change their lifestyle habits when their health, or even their life depended on it?

Our success depends on our ability to change our behavior. Here is one practical suggestion that comes out of neuroscience. Since we fall into routine so easily, if you feel stuck, remember that insights come in new environments. If you feel stuck in your creative work, for example writing, take a few hours and visit a museum – any museum! Your ideas will start flowing. The reason people go to retreats is that it is easier to get going with good habits when you are away from home. The reason "Eat, Pray, Love" was so successful is that it struck that nerve - yes, you can have an incredible transformation right at home, but it is so much easier to do when you're on the road! more ...

Retiring Well: Overcome the Force of Habit that Locks You into Routine

In my previous article on retiring well, I discussed a few key insights into creating a great lifestyle. Having a splendid vision for your life is a step in the right direction. How do you make sure that you can actually follow through with it?

I believe it is essential to understand the fundamental reason underlying our ability (or rather lack thereof) to handle change: our brain is built in such a way that strongly predisposes us to favor routine. We are the proverbial creatures of habit. Let me provide some basic facts from brain research. more ...

Retiring Well and What You Need to Know about Quantum Physics

In my previous article on retiring well, I discussed how the brain is designed in a way that predisposes us to resist change and favor routine. In this issue, I will examine another mechanism of which you need to be aware: the observer effect of quantum physics. And I will certainly explain how it relates to retiring well!

Most people have heard of the astonishing properties of quantum mechanics. The observer effect, which has been experimentally verified, says that the behavior and position of any atom-sized entity (the really tiny atoms, electrons, or ions) change when the entity is observed. In one of the experiments, beryllium atoms that were watched and measured by scientists, decayed slower when the scientists took more measurement samples – the theory is that the additional attention paid by the scientists caused the atoms to have an extended lifespan. more ...

Retiring Well: Why People Fail to Improve their Lifestyle

How do we normally go about changing behavior? If you think back to your school years, the system that was used was based on rewards and punishments. The same goes for most work environments. It’s no wonder that we apply the same to ourselves when we want to change our diet or anything else. This system is entrenched because when it does not work, it’s so easy to say that either the rewards were not chosen correctly, or that the magnitude of the rewards and punishments was not sufficient. It is the ultimate trap – the flaw is in the system, but it is easy to place the blame on the incompetence of the person administering it. more ...
The Art of Renewal: Creating Quality of Life in Retirement

This is excerpt from Joy Compass: How to Make Your Retirement the Treasure of Your Life. 

Renaissance means a renewal of life, vigor and interest. It is the rebirth and revival that you can experience at any moment in our lives. Psychological age is flexible because it is personal and subjective. How old you feel can change in a split second. more ...

Better Aging Experience in Store for Us

Walking around the exhibit floor at the AARP 50+ Expo in Orlando at the beginning of October 2010, I was amazed at the amount of innovative thinking that has gone into making aging more comfortable. The organizers have done a spectacular job informing the Expo’s attendees of various ways to enhance their quality of life. “We are constantly on the lookout for new technology and ideas that help people live their best life at 50-plus,” emphasized CB Wismar, Vice President of AARP Events and the marketing wizard in charge of managing the entire Expo.

We have new tools to help us stay fit, both physically and mentally, well into our old age — read on!

Quality of life in later years = comfort and independence in our own home

One of the major issues we face in later life is remaining comfortable and independent in our own home. I recently spoke about home care with Anthony McCabe, President of Genesis Creations Contracting in New York. His company is an environmental modification provider. Remember this term! I am sure we will encounter it more and more often, as clients or as caregivers. “Quite often the person in need is mistaken for the patient,” says Anthony McCabe. “For instance, in the matter of grab bars in the shower area, it could be more important to install grab bars for the care giver for stability. We must always think of the needs of all parties involved. New technology service offers to ease the burdens of the caregiver as well.” 

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