Reframing Retirement

By Moira Gardener

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Reframing is to take a picture and put a new frame on it, accenting different aspects of the picture. In this case, to reframe retirement is to adjust the focus.

Is retirement a luxury of the past or is it simply an outdated concept? The two basic components to look at when viewing this picture are money and time. Lets look at possibilities about money first.

Begin with becoming financially literate. Educate yourself by reading authors such as Suze Orman and her *9-steps to Financial Freedom*. Look into local programs on financial literacy. Explore possibilities such as those outlined in Timothy Ferrisss book *The 4-Hour Work Week*, where he gives numerous resources for creating passive income in the current electronic environment. In other words, adjust your focus. One framing possibility on the financial front is to think Financial Independence not retirement.

Financial Independence! What the heck is that? Tracy Piercy, Certified Financial Planner, says, This is the situation when you have enough income to live your life in the way you want to live it; and work becomes a choice not a requirement. When we have enough passive income every month to sustain the lifestyle we have chosen, we are financially independent. This does not depend on age, but ingenuity, and personal priorities.

Begin by defining what financial success means to you. Tracy goes on to say, financial success, on the other hand, is a mindset... Define what is really important and work out what enough is. Stop the 'when I' and make it happen now. In other words, decide what you need to do on a monthly basis for your chosen lifestyle and put a dollar value to it. Start now, dont procrastinate. Priorities are what determine where you spend your money.

Now, take out your gratitude glasses and clean them off, and view your world with an attitude of gratitude. Look at what is going right, even if its Im still breathing. Be honest with yourself and sit with a pen and paper. List your priorities. Where are you now, and where would you like to be? Having a written list, and breaking it down into doable bites is a first step forward because it solidifies a financial goal, and with the help of the right financial expert creates a plan. The trick can be to pull your head out of the sand, and look at where you are now - that can be the hardest part. Start small; it can be as simple as changing a habit, or looking at your own psychology of money. What does money represent to you? Resist the temptation to whine, But its too late. No, its not. If you dont like where you are, make a plan. If youre on track, great!

Planning may take ingenuity depending upon financial circumstances and money choices that have been made until now. It will take a positive mindset, a personal definition of financial success and a specific monthly dollar amount. The how to move forward is also personal, and may require a combination of financial vehicles to reach your goal. A pension could be part of your income, in time, but not the only income. Funding possibilities could come from traditional investments, rental income, or even part-time work. It may be as simple as investing in your talents. You need to do the research and add your own income initiatives to create your list of possibilities.

The road to financial independence and a personal definition of financial success are in the hands of each of us, and there are avenues that need exploring. But you must be willing to take responsibility for your financial situation and believe in your abilities and ingenuity. Buying into the traditional model of save up bags of money, and at age 60 or 65 collect a pension and stop working needs a new frame. What will your frame look like?

The second part of the equation is your time. When you are financially independent, and financially successful, according to your own definition, how will you choose to spend time? This is even more important because funds come and go but time comes only once.

Look at time as a gift and turn to long-held passions. Ask yourself, What are my causes? Take stock of your talents. What do you have a heart for? Do you wish to contribute to community locally or on a global scale? In reality, you already have a start, look at that list of priorities you created when making a financial goal.

Look around you. There are people whose passions run toward entrepreneurial activities. They may choose to follow the suggestions in *The 4-Hour Work Week* and move towards running a business within an electronic environment. Then there are people who have a passion for a cause and spend their time supporting it. Artistic souls, who revel in their chosen talent, can spend more time creating and others enjoy the freedom to pursue their spirituality.

Wendy Nordli, a former bank teller, has developed her passion for the art of stained glass and jewelry creation. Her former colleagues asked her how she liked retirement and she responded, it is no different; its simply that I dont have to get up and go to work. I now have more time and energy to develop my passion and my business.

Wayne Sali of Nanaimo uses the term Graceful Retirement being reliant on the belief structure you hold. For Wayne, it means being comfortable in his skin. Graceful retirement is a transition to wholeness (body, mind and soul) - a spiritual arriving, the resilience of the human spirit. Wayne alludes to crossing all the boundaries of age, money and time. What you believe creates the priorities that drive your choices. Kindness, compassion and love know no age limit, and neither does community involvement.

If you are part of yesterdays experience and are happily enjoying what was once termed retirement, be glad. However, if you are like many of us who look to the future with questions, you may wish to reframe. That yesteryear mindset of mandatory retirement and retreating into a foggy state of imagined uselessness or sailing off into the sunset is part of the old wooden frame. Today, raise your half-full cup and keep filling it so it overflows along that continuum called lifes journey.

Start now, and choose where to invest both your time and your funds. If your circumstances block your way, adjust your attitude, and try a new perspective so you can rise above them in order to move forward.




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