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The Challenge of Retirement

January 30, 2022 by  
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For those of you that have recently retired, or if you are approaching retirement and doing some planning, there are a few unexpected surprises that might be waiting for you. At least there were for me.

I had looked forward to being retired and having all that extra time to do anything I wanted to like travel, play more tennis, and just have a great time. Well, I must tell you, when that day arrived, I was in for an enormous surprise.

I don’t think most of us realize what a great challenge retirement can be. It didn’t hit me immediately, but after a few months of it, I found myself going stir crazy. I came to realize that we humans need structure and a routine. Without that, we can become very frustrated. I talked to a few friends that had retired a year or so before I did and they told me that the same thing hit them. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and I didn’t have any routine or daily plans to motivate me.

At that point, I began to see how very important things like going to the office and interacting with others were for us humans. I missed the social part of my work life and struggled with feelings of worthlessness because I wasn’t producing anything. We thrive on being productive which helps those around us and lifts our brain and lives to a higher level. Sure, I can travel more and have great fun hanging out with my kids, grandkids, and friends, but we need to be contributing to our lives and the world around us in some way as well.

My advice to everyone is to plan for retirement, not just financially, but in what you will do with your time. Make lists and talk with others that have retired or are heading that way fairly soon to see what, if anything, they are planning. It’s a good idea to look at your life and think about what brings you the greatest pleasure and what stimulates your brain and then see if you can build your retirement around those things.

Patrice Jenkins, PhD, wrote a brilliant book called What Will I Do All Day? Wisdom to Get Over Retirement and on with Living. In the book, she offers some great advice: “Creating meaningful work in retirement provides an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. If you’d like to, you can redefine yourself — try something new and different… In retirement, you have the freedom to be anything that suits you.”

Even if you are many years away from retirement, it’s not too early to do some thinking and planning now. I think you will be very glad that you did when those retirement days come around.

2022: A Year of Action

January 2, 2022 by  
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Here we are again. We have a whole new year in front of us and many of us are making plans, renewing commitments, and generally trying to figure out what we want to accomplish this year. I know I have more than a few things that I’m ready to get to work on!

Regardless of what any of us plan to do, there is one thing we all have in common. We MUST take action, real solid action, for any plan, goal, or dream to become reality.

That first step, the one that shows true action and commitment, is more important than any other step you take because it will be the impetus and motivation for every step afterwards. But don’t fool yourself about what a first step is.

Reading a book, looking stuff up on the internet, or asking your friends’ opinions may feel like first steps, but they are really just part of the planning, and planning is not what actually makes things happen. The first real step occurs when you invest something valuable or take a real risk with your money, time, or ego.

For example:

  • Throwing out all the junk food in your house is a true first step to a better diet.
  • Paying a lawyer to draw up your business organization papers shows a real commitment to starting on your entrepreneurial path.
  • Joining a writer’s group that requires you to write 10 pages a week makes you accountable and shows yourself and other how serious you are about writing that novel.

So, what is that first important, substantial, and invested step you need to take to get your plans rolling? If you’re not sure, take the time to write out what your first steps are. Then ask yourself which of those steps require so kind of personal, time, or financial investment. The ones that do are your first real steps, the ones that will get you truly get you on your way. So, make those your priority.

If you feel like you might still need a little push to take those first substantial steps, or you need some additional inspiration, try reading my book again, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. If you haven’t read it, then definitely get a copy and read it. Then get to work.

Let’s see what wonderful things we can make happen in 2022 by taking action now!

Mindful Aging

December 26, 2021 by  
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Wow, the end of 2021 is already here, just a few more days. Time is such an interesting thing and I find it fascinating that the passage of time seems to change its speed depending on your age and/or things you have planned in your life. When most of us were young, anxious to be old enough to get our driver’s license, time seemed to be moving so very, very slowly. I remember counting down the days until I could get mine. But things do change, especially when you get older.

At my age now, just a little more than 3 months until I hit 78, the years seem to speed up. I can remember, easily, the new year’s celebration I was at last year at my good tennis friend Al Ficker’s house in Kauai. It’s like it was just a couple of months ago. Wow, this year just flew by in a flash.

I am re-reading the great book by Jo Ann Jenkins called Disrupt Aging. I’ve written and talked about her book in previous posts. There are so many good and smart things she says about “really owning your age” and being proud of whatever that age number is. I loved her quote about a woman who said, “No one’s going to deprive me of my age.”

Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Encore.org, and author of The Big Shift wrote, “In Disrupt Aging, Jenkins offers the generational call to action we’ve been waiting for—to break free from outmoded ideas about age, to embrace the rich possibilities present in the decades opening up beyond fifty, and to join a growing movement of individuals determined to live lives infused with purpose. Beautifully written, full of humor and inspiration, and powerfully argued, this book offers the definitive map for making the most of the longevity revolution, as individuals and as a nation.”

Jo Ann has so many good thoughts and ideas for our lives as we age, such as:

  • The best life includes contributing to the well-being of others.
  • Try new things and take chances…don’t live in fear of aging.
  • Focus on health, wealth and self. 
  • This is a time to shift from “mindless aging” to mindful living.

If you are retired now, take a hard look at your life and determine your thoughts about aging. How can you age more mindfully? And if you are not retired yet, then it’s a good time to start making plans for what you are going to do when retired. Yes, write it down, make lists, set priorities and write down your future schedule. You’ll be glad you did when you finally retire.

And when you do retire, as well as right now, be sure to strive for always living in the right now moment!

A Case for Diversification

August 28, 2015 by  
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Wow! What a wild stock market we’ve had the last few days. Over a trillion dollars in lost value. Can you imagine having virtually all your asset held in stocks? I was asked the other night at a party, by a person that apparently was hurt pretty badly by this, how much money this huge sell off of stocks cost me. I answered that it had virtually no impact on my assets and or net worth. How is this possible? Well, it’s simple … I own just one small position in one publicly traded stock. Maybe in the long run the market drop will have an effect on real estate property values–that’s where I have almost all my net worth– but I very much doubt it.

Yes, I used to be a stock broker many, many years ago and would buy and sell stock for myself frequently, but I learned the hard way that even very smart people can lose money very quickly in the stock market. Even if you buy great stocks and those companies are making money and doing well, if the overall market takes a big hit like it has done the last few days, your good strong company stock usually goes down with the market. One of the big reasons I moved almost all my assets into improved, rent generating real estate is because I had a least some control over the asset that I owned. You see, with stocks, you not only don’t control the company or the people that are running the company, but you have no control over what the overall stock market is doing.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I agree with all that but putting my money in improved real estate takes a lot of work and effort.” And you would be correct. It does take work but the rewards can be so great and much of the work can be turned over to others. I’ve certainly found that to be true and the huge surprise and benefit to me was that I found people that do a better job finding, fixing and managing the properties than I do, or I should say “did”. I’m a big time delegator now.

At a minimum, I would encourage you and anyone that will listen to not put all your eggs in that one ‘stock basket’. Diversity is the smart thing to do and, yes, even though I own very little stock, I do make sure I diversify my asset by owning different kinds of real estate. I own everything from triple net lease buildings with national company tenants to development of storage units to small retail strip malls and even a bit of raw land. A bit of cash always being set aside is a good idea too.

I encourage you to take time to plan out your asset strategy. Don’t be like the majority of Americans who seem to spend a lot more time planning their vacation that they do planning the financial life!

 

 

Planning the Best Year of Your Life

December 27, 2014 by  
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Have you recovered from Christmas yet? If you are like me, probably not.  It sure is a great and special time of the year.  There’s nothing like family, friends and lots of giving at this time of the year.

But now that it’s over, most of us begin thinking of the next year and what it is likely to bring. And if you are smart you will start planning and setting goals so that the next year brings you what you want it to bring, rather than what just might happen to you.

For me, I usually begin my planning by reviewing the past year.  I go through my planner week by week, reading my notes, my do lists, and my activities.  Then I review my goals and see which ones I’ve accomplished and which ones I didn’t.  Yes, that can be a bit of a downer but it also gives me a gentle kick in the butt and a renewed determination to work harder in the coming year.

I think it is best to remove yourself from any and all distractions so you can really stay focused on the task of planning your life for the next 12 months.  Personally I love to sequester myself on a long flight where I can’t be interrupted by phone calls, texting and emails. On a plane, I also don’t get diverted by picking up a book or file or any other stuff like that since I am not home or in my office where I can see and easily pick up something that takes me away from my planning.

So bottom line, I want to strongly encourage you to do a review of what you did and didn’t do as this year ends, and begin writing down what your goals and objectives are going to be for 2015. You might as well make it the best year of your life. And to a large degree that is up to you.

Like I’ve said many times before, “I am preaching to myself as I preach this message to you.” So let’s get to it!

Don’t Take Planning for Granted

September 28, 2012 by  
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I talk a lot about goal setting and planning for your dreams, especially the aspect of making a plan and sticking to it. But have you ever considered what it might be like to not even have the option to make plans?

In Serbia where we recently traveled, they are so thankful that the war that tore up that country from 1992 to 1995 is over. There is still plenty of evidence of those hard years but what a great country it is to visit now. It’s very safe and friendly as well as being an inexpensive country to enjoy and explore. But the really amazing thing is the people and their appreciation for things that, at one time, they weren’t sure they could have, would not even dream about because their future was so uncertain.

These days the people of Serbia are finally feeling settled and are able to make long term plans to create businesses, start or grow families, go to school, or build a home. There are still struggles but they have at least had the ability to dream restored to them.

We take that kind of long term planning for granted because it is not only possible but pretty easy for us to plan for whatever we might want. We certainly have fewer hurdles than most of those people in Serbia. If we only take the time to plan and then act on those plans, imagine what can be accomplished in a country that encourages and supports your dreams? We should, at least, be so very grateful for that extra benefit in our lives.

 

**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?