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Part 1 - Retirement Benefits:> Advice on how to prepare for and enjoy your retirement

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Misery and/or happiness most would agree is an attitude, and if you know anything about psychology, depends on whether you’re more prone to viewing the class as half empty or half full. I say your view may depend on how much you’re enjoying what you’re drinking. Experts agree that embracing retirement is also an attitude and how much you’re enjoying or allowing yourself to enjoy your newfound freedom. While nothing is going to be perfect 100 percent of the time, remember, even when given lemons, it’s always wise to have handy the recipe for thirst quenching lemonade or a lemon meringue pie. A few key ingredients for a delicious retirement include:

1. Plan For Happiness: According to experts, there’s a lot of truth to the sentiment that: “if you never slow down, you never get old”. In fact, experts note that people with a strategy that literally calls for action and an active lifestyle tend to be happier than those that retire to their couch and television. If you haven’t yet given your retirement years much thought experts suggest contemplating the following.

· Start Slowly: Don’t alter your routine entirely at once. Start by cutting your workweek down by a few hours each month. If you are passionate about your profession think about free-lancing, working from home, or even maintaining part time status.

· Go Into Voluntary Retirement: Get involved in local charities and organizations that will add structure and purpose to your life and routine.

· Discuss and Negotiate Visitations Rites: Talk to grown children about spending time with them and their family. Arrange a weekly or monthly get together or activity. Arrange to go out with another couple or friend on a weekly basis. Also arrange to pay a visit to “old” friends or family members, including those who’ve moved away and/or out of town.

· Growth and Development: Consider renovation, rejuvenating or updating your home. A restoration project is bound to keep you busy and give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.

· Stay on the move: How about moving to a retirement community and surrounding yourself with others in your age group and in your social situation.

· Give in to whimsy: Think about trying a new activity or hobby. There’s no guarantee that you’ll like it, but you’ll never know until you try.

· Body, Mind and Spirit: It’s easy to neglect yourself when you have to rush off to beat rush hour. Develop a healthy exercise regimen, eating routine, and spiritual discipline. Join a gym, take up a new sport or activity and join a team (or walking club), take some cooking classes, grow your own vegetables and affiliate yourself with a house of worship or fellowship group

· Educate Yourself: Go back to school and explore all those areas of interests and disciplines you never had time for. Catch up on reading (even if only over the Internet) Consider fostering new skills and perhaps launching a new (part-time) post retirement project or career.

· Expand Your Horizons: Remember, the world is NOT limited to the world around YOU, and your own private Idaho. Get up and around, and get out of the house. You’ve spent years sacrificing, pinching, and saving. Indulge yourself (and your spouse to some sight seeing, traveling, and exploring. Keep in mind that even if there are things YOU have done, experienced, and enjoyed, it may be the only time your partner is getting the same chance. Seeing things again (for the first time) through a loved one’s eyes can be very fulfilling and rewarding. You may even be surprised at how much you haven’t done or seen.

· Double Your Pleasure: Take into consideration your partner’s wants and needs. Take interest in his/her interest and get involved with his/her social circle. Not only will this give you an additional common bond, but also increase your circle of “friends”

2. Enforced Freedom: Business is all about supply and demand, and often times if the demand diminishes so does the need to supply you a job and salary. For many forced into retirement, the reality of losing one’s “identity” may elicit negative feelings and experiences relating to retirement. Professionals suggest making the transition more palatable via the following:

· Polish Your Employee Relations: Approach your employer with the possibility to offering you a transfer, a recommendation, or part-time employment (even in an other area). Perhaps you can be instrumental in training new recruitees.

· Make Your NEW Job, Finding One: Do your homework, research and networking and get to work, finding work. Be ready, willing, and able to change career paths, directions, even traveling further or taking a cut in salary.

· Enlist For The Service: Community service that is. Volunteer work is not only psychologically gratifying and stimulating, but is an excellent source of networking and making connections.

· Live and Learn: Brush up on some skills that will make you more marketable to another employer or for new career opportunities.

· Brainstorm: Collaborate with your partner and discuss your options. Perhaps “early” retirement may be something you can both benefit from. Otherwise, maybe your spouse has some “pull” at his/her job or some beneficial connections.

· Speak Your Mind: Loosing a job, and finding yourself suddenly “retired” (before your ready to) may invoke stress, anxiety and depression. This, in turn, could prohibit you from enjoying your free time or securing another job. Experts recommend monitoring your feelings and behaviors and getting professional help to help you adjust and cope if necessary.

3. Assisted Living: Getting your life back on track may require a little help from your friends and/or experienced professionals. Some resources to consider:

· Social Worker

· Guidance Counselor

· Accountant

· Financial Planner

· Counselor

· Senior (Citizen) Centers

4. Things To Think About: Experts offer taking the following into account in preparation for retirement.

· If you’re experiencing mixed feelings about retiring, consider first taking a “leave of absence” before making a “final” decision.

· Have a back-up plan in case retirement doesn’t turn out the way you anticipated or you need to go back to work.

· Having an active lifestyle after retirement will help ensure health and happiness. People who become stagnant after retirement are more prone to illness, boredom, and depression.

· Consider getting professional help should you experience continued anxiety, stress, or loss of enthusiasm for life, activity or enjoying the things you once looked forward to.

Next: Part 2 - Home Sweet Home

Long Island Investment Tips Articles > Part 1 - Retirement Benefits:> Advice on how to prepare for and enjoy your retirement

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