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Golden Dreams: Golden Opportunities For Your Golden Years:

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

The kids are safely unpacked in their new homes and lives and now it’s time for you to pack in an old lifestyle and pack up for a life of leisure and “luxury”. Whether your more “upscale” lifestyle means upgrading or downsizing, planting the seeds for a rosy future means carefully cultivating your strategy for “empty nest” success.

Do You Know Where You’re Going To? Before deciding to upgrade your new home, improve it, move or downsize, it’s important to identify what your future goals are.

· Discuss daydreams and personal goals. It’s important to know that you both envision the same thing. Is your idea of ideal a lavish labyrinth or a log cabin?

· Reconsider important community characteristics. While schools and accessibility to major commuter roadways may have been a previous consideration, you may find that other criteria such as recreational comforts to be more of a priority.

· Plan for the future. Consider if the lifestyle you are choosing today will be conducive to future retirement plans or a lifestyle in later years.

· Consider downsizing but “upgrading”. With less living expenses, you may consider “splurging” on yourselves and opting for smaller but better.

· If you want to downsize, calculate needed living space before you reinvest. Evaluate how much square footage you had, what you want, what you’ll need and make the calculations from there. Don’t forget to include measurements for additional living space such a spare room for the grandkids, a workspace, or a Florida room.

Starting Over: One of the most difficult aspects of starting over is the concept of un-complicating and un-cluttering your life. In fact, starting over has many bewildered about how and where to start.

· Before cleaning up your act, consider cleaning up after your kids (one last time). Next visit, ask them to sort through their things and discard of anything they no longer want or need. Experts suggest placing paraphernalia into four piles: 1) things they need immediately, 2) things to hold on to, 3) things they want to donate, 4) garbage. They also suggest giving your “children” a deadline if you ever want to move onwards and upwards.

· Place priority on personal possessions. Surely the tent was great when the whole family went camping, but how much use will the two of you have for it now? Consider how you will be most likely spending your time and get rid of all those extras that don’t coincide with your lifestyle. For example: If you’re moving to a condo or townhouse, why would you still need a lawn mower or feeder?

· Organizing your memories. Some things certainly have sentimental value, while others are simply ancient clutter. Consider giving your (adult) children some of their childhood creations and memorabilia (to share with their families and create new traditions), if they don’t want it or have no use for it, perhaps, neither should you.

· Pamper yourself. Some empty nesters are inclined to discard of their fine china while retaining the daily dishware for a more “laid back” lifestyle. After all, they see their entertaining days as “done”. Reconsider hosting gala family events (remember, you’re the one with the additional time), if not, use your good china for you and your spouse; after all they don’t call them your “Golden Years” for nothing.

o PS. While you’re at it, get rid of all your “old”, “tired” stuff. Start fresh with new “luxurious” accessories, after all (for all those years of hard work and sacrifice) you’ve earned it and you deserve it!

Leave Excess Baggage Behind: Despite your initial inclination to retain “save” all that you own or acquired for a rainy day or in case of emergency, fight the urge to succumb to your pack rat tendencies. When in doubt, throw it out.

· Discard of items that you haven’t looked at, thought about, or used in a few years. Chances are if you’ve forgotten about it before, you will again, and it’s simply not worth keeping.

· Discard of items that will only serve to clutter your new home and more relaxed lifestyle. Do you really want to dust all that (again)?

· If you can’t decide put the item in a box to be revisited in one year. If at that point you still can’t decide put in another box to be sealed and retained for another year. If it still remains unvisited, give the entire box away without opening….chances are you’re probably more attached to the memory than the item.

Move Ahead: Get excited and allow yourself to enjoy your new status and your move ahead. Make sure you know where you’re going to and that you’ll be able to enjoy the things that the life you chose will be showing you.

· Research the area and the neighborhood. Make sure it has all the conveniences and amenities you want, and that it has future growth potential in case you decide to move again. Remember, in doing your investigation, you may wind up paying a bit more, but it’s all about location, location, location.

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