Financial indices rose, fell, and rose again.
Sometimes we asked ourselves "Will we
have to go back to work? Will our nest egg hold? What is our fiscal
tolerance level here?" And we have even wondered "How long will this bull market continue?"
Just as life has its ups and downs, so do investments.
As you can see from the graph of the S&P 500 below, these are very real and practical
questions to be asking:
Money is central to retirement, but we cannot
power of emotional factors to knock us off course.
Parents were lost to illness and we watched nieces
and nephews leaving the nest. New marriages in our
family took place as well as divorces. Personal
challenges that could never have been predicted caused
us to grow on an individual level, strengthened us as a couple, and refreshed our connection to the
Leaving our jobs behind gave us new opportunities to interface with the
world. We energized our self descriptions, and no longer had to fit into
a career title.
Sometimes that was exhilarating, other times befuddling.
However, not once over the last very satisfying 26 years
have we regretted
taking the leap. In some respects, retirement has proven to be more exuberant
than the life we led while holding down prestigious careers!
As in any time of
your life, there are challenges and trade-offs. In our experience, it
has not proven useful to jump into fear or exaggerated "what if"
scenarios. The stunning loss of a spouse, or any natural disaster blasting its way through
what seemed to be a safe retirement could not
have been prevented. These are the times we must look to other sources
Allowing friends to help us is a transforming experience. Reaching deep
inside we find our capacity to recover, and this is not something money can buy. There is no policy we can purchase to
guarantee life will cooperate with us.
How will you know if you are ready for retirement? Are there some
proven guidelines you can trust for the answers? Is it only a
matter of money or simply a matter of faith?
It is advisable to
plan your retirement having financial bases reasonably
Newsletters and online financial forums
are dedicated to
help educate you in this area and can better prepare
you for that day when there is no paycheck on Friday. At the same time it
is wise to look at other areas in your life that offer wealth. Investing in your personal
betterment will surely be
productive. Effort towards strengthening friendships will reward both
sides. Know what your city or town offers in terms of community, and
option of volunteering where your input or
leadership would be appreciated.
Although there are no guarantees in life, there is nothing that can take
the place of full engagement in your own retirement. So if markets fall,
or unforeseen events rattle your foundation, you will have fortified your friendships and
energized your own
personal creative genius.
This will give you
confidence to move forward.