With Age Comes Wisdom, With Wisdom Comes Choice

/ June 24, 2011

Older Couple Taking A Photo - iStockGrowing older is a fact of life, but how and where we age is a matter of personal choice.  Whether you are a member of Gen Y, Gen X, the Baby Boom, or the Silent Generation, you have an opportunity to define the next years of your life on your own terms. But it’s an opportunity that you must seize deliberately.

Many look at aging with uncertainty, fear, and even denial. To begin acting deliberately, don’t start with a calculator. Instead, take steps today to identify the life you want to live, the people important to you, and the relationships you want to nurture.

Too often planning for the future is reduced to numbers. A lot of us, overwhelmed by the thought of losing our paychecks, put off planning altogether.

The worry is understandable. Social Security benefits currently represent about 39 percent of the average retiree’s income, according to the Social Security Administration. With the future of Social Security in question, those benefits may represent a much smaller percentage of income for future retirees.

While the timetable and the exact nature of changes to Social Security are uncertain, present trends clearly indicate that our own efforts to build financial security for our retirement years are more crucial than ever. Regardless of age, the time to begin planning for retirement is now.

But suppose that we expand on the traditional approach to retirement planning?  Rather than focusing on the money, look to the value of your health.  Rather than obsessing about investment return, consider who you want to spend time with.  Rather than concentrating on accumulation, think about where and how you want to live in retirement.  This shift in the way we think about the subject can be the real first step in identifying the cost that might be associated with the Next Chapter of our lives.

By exploring where you are today, where you see yourself in the future, and what legacy you want to leave behind, you begin to gather the tools you need to create a path to follow at any age. Planning for the Next Chapter offers a chance to discover not only who you are, but who you want to be.

And anything is possible if you have a plan.

Did you ever seriously answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Or did the dream of living a life you choose to live get lost with your first job, first child, or first mortgage?

If you had a magic wand, would every day, for you, be a Saturday? Or is that the last thing you’d wish for?

Either way, do you have a plan?

This article is meant for educational purposes only and the information contained therein should not be relied upon as legal, financial or tax advice. Readers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from a qualified professional.

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