You have spent all your working years thinking about that glorious time called retirement. It’s just around the corner or maybe it’s already here. And now it’s time to step up to the plate and play the retirement game. Unfortunately, the game has changed many times over the last few decades. Pensions were once a staple part of the retirement game. Today they are almost non existent. Legend has it that the retirement age of 65 came from a business owner that figured 65 was the age that most of his employees would have passed on to other pastures. Tax laws and Social Security change every couple of years. Inflation, lifestyle and medical expenses are things that retirees once worried little about. Today they are huge issues facing anyone retiring. The retirement game has become very complicated. But don’t worry there are things that you can do to win at the retirement game.
As you approach the retirement game there are some things that you must do. First, define the game you are playing. You make your own rules. What things must you do? What things can you not do? You need real clarity here. That doesn’t mean the game can’t change or morph over time, it just means you have to know what game you are playing now. Everyone’s game is slightly different. It will depend on your resources, temperament, objectives, goals and aspirations. Taking all these into account you have to turn your situation into a winnable game. Make sure you have an extremely clear definition of what Winning means to you.
The next thing you must do is develop and practice your skills and strategies for winning. How are you going to go about winning? Are you going to work part time or not? Are you going to travel or not? Are you going to change your lifestyle drastically or not? These are all about the strategy of winning your game. If you don’t have a clear definition of winning, it is close to impossible to win.
The next phase in winning the retirement game is winning the inner game. Just like any athlete that is competing needs to win his inner game before he can win his outer game, in the retirement game you must win your inner game first. This is all about your thinking and belief system and what it tells you about your world. You must master this part of the game if you want to win the retirement game.
Next you need to find ways to perfect areas of your environment to make sure that they support you at winning your game. These include the environment of ideas, physical, relationship, spiritual, etc. Ideally you want more environments supporting, inspiring and prodding you to win the goal than not. IF the environments are right winning is a lot easier.
Finally, keep score. Hew well are you doing at your game? Which areas need work? How can you get better? What can you do to make sure that you really will win the retirement game?
If you feel that you need help, that is what financial advisors are for. Find one that specializes in your game. Preparing for your retirement and managing retirement are two very different fields. If you feel you want an advisor make sure he knows your game and your objective and understands it clearly so that he too can help you win.
When you approach your retirement from the prospective of a game, and the objective of winning the game, you will be amazed at how much fun it becomes. You get invigorated and can look at your situation better and in a more playful way. But maybe most important you can create a winnable game for your retirement that will truly put you in the winners box.
About the author
Steve Lover is president of Senior Strategies a firm that helps seniors make better decision with their money. Visit their website www.seniorstrategies.org