Retirement Options Shares Tips for Retiring Happy Regardless of Income

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Many people plan extensively for finances in retirement, but make few plans for how they want to live, which is the most important factor for a satisfying and happy retirement. Some essential planning helps people plan for the positives and be ahead of the curve on typical challenges.

"Today retirement is likely to last 20 to 30 years, so you don't want to miss the opportunity to create the lifestyle you want. Life planning is just as important as financial planning."

While most of retirement is about living, most retirement planning tilts instead toward finances.

Retirement Options, which has trained more than 800 coaches in 14 countries, recommends eight top tips for successful retirement living:

  •     Plan with a spouse, partner, and anyone else who's part of daily life. Many people overlook this, assuming their plans will sync, or dismiss differences for unspecified later resolution. It's easier to resolve differences if conversations start well before retirement.
  •     Be flexible and open to changes that arise when people spend many more hours at home.
  •     Talk to children. Everything from where parents plan to live to grandparenting plans may be on their minds.
  •     Retire to new plans, rather than just from a job. The happiest retirees seek out new passions, or purposes. They may be recreations, hobbies and interests, family activities, community involvement, part-time work or a new career, and may change over time, but it's important to do things that one enjoys and which provide a sense of accomplishment.
  •     Expect some loss and grief when leaving a job. Jobs are often a major part of how people identify themselves and their purpose, and co-workers like a second family.
  •     Build health and fitness into retirement plans. For those who haven't exercised regularly before retirement, it's important to build it into their schedule before fitness falls by the wayside again. There are many good choices. Those who find activities they enjoy are more likely to stick with their plan.
  •     Stay mentally active. Organizations like AARP have given this increased attention in recent years. Mind exercise includes reading, games, puzzles, classes and activities. Fitness and socializing are good for brain health, too.
  •     Stay socially active. Social circles may change by virtue of retirement and as people change activities. Online networks can be a helpful connecting point for new interests and to a new community for anyone considering a move.

These tips are come from coaches' experience and research on successful retirement, said Corine T. Norgaard, Ph.D. and president of Retirement Options. More than 30,000 people have taken its Retirement Success or Life Options profiles.

Ideally, life planning should begin at least two to five years before retirement, and include both members of couples, say Norgaard and training director Joanne Waldman, M.Ed., also an active coach.

"Today retirement is likely to last 20 to 30 years, so you don't want to miss the opportunity to create the lifestyle you want," Waldman stated. She said some clients further interests they already enjoy, others take up dreams they've never pursued and some discover entirely new passions.

Retirement Options (http://www.retirementoptions.com/)] has provided retirement coaching since 1989. Services include profiles that provide information about attitudes toward and expectations for retirement, and how well current activities and life choices match retirement goals. Coaches help each client identify strengths and weaknesses in retirement preparation and develop a unique personal retirement plan. Coaching may be provided individually or in groups, and by phone or in person. Information for those wishing to find a coach or learn about becoming a coach is available from Retirement Options.

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Corine Norgaard
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