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Retirement for First Timers is intended to be the most comprehensive e-book available. 

A lofty claim, until you consider there are few free resources that summarize the many critical aspects associated with retiring. 

In spite of the vast amount of information on the internet, seldom is it organized in a straight forward manner.

Our guide captures the most critical things to prepare for a successful retirement. Unique by taking a lighthearted approach, each section also references the best and most expert sources of information. 

Why Did We Write "Retirement for First Timers"?

After writing numerous articles, we realized the average person might feel slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume. 

There had to be a better way to provide an overview, hence the concept of the e-book was born to provide more of a road map.

The real key to a successful retirement is planning, preparation, and flexibility. It needs to start prior to the day you leave work or you’ll be playing catch up. 

To the best of our knowledge, this is the only free resource that pulls everything together in one place.

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An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Benjamin Franklin

Traditionally, people worked to the age of 65, received their hard-earned pension, and lived out their remaining years. 

We all have preconceived notions about retirement, often based on our parents and grandparents.

Everything has changed and, also, has become more complicated:

  • No longer is it mandatory to retire at age 65.
  • Life expectancy has dramatically increased.
  • Pensions are few and far between.
  • Expectations are these should be the best years of our lives.

After about thirty to forty years of working their asses off, most folks believe they deserve a happily ever after. 

They earned it and dream of the day they can leave the stress behind, once and for all. Unfortunately, this can be a major life transition and things don’t always pan out quite like we want.

Who Needs a Book, It Can't Be that Complicated!

If you search “retirement planning”, your search will reveal countless financial websites. Perhaps you’ve taken a “retirement course” which almost certainly was offered by a financial planner. 

They might mention it's good to have some hobbies. Other than that, everything should be easy-peasy.

I confess, that would have been a younger version of myself. I’m sure I would have laughed out loud at the idea of reading a book (let alone writing one!) about retirement for first timers. 

Foolish me! All I needed was enough money and life would be good! Somehow in my whimsical mind, I saw myself retiring early (55ish) and traveling the world.

Then I became a victim of corporate downsizing just prior to my 53rd birthday (see how to deal with forced retirement). 

The truth and realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t ready to retire and was mired in emotional upheaval. My older and somewhat wiser self reflects back on my journey and the many lessons learned.

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Over a year ago, ProPublica reported 56% of workers over the age of 50 are pushed out of work.

The onslaught of COVID-19 has shut down the economy, laying off countless workers, and creating massive unemployment. 

The prognosis doesn’t bode well for older workers. Hopefully, they diligently saved and invested wisely over the years. Otherwise, they’re going to be scrambling to make ends meet.

The thing is, it will be unique and different for each of us.

In a perfect world, you’ll have the luxury of planning when to retire. Counting down the days can be both exhilarating and a little scary. 

Regardless of how well you plan, expect to run into at least a few surprises. That’s why remaining flexible and adaptable is so important.

It’s those folks who focus predominantly on money that are most likely run into problems. They have a false sense of security and assume everything’s going to be good. 

Only to find out it’s like an iceberg. They’re blind to the many hidden dangers that lurk beneath the surface. Some examples include:

  • Their identity and self-worth have become intertwined with what they did.
  • Loneliness occurs as their friendships dissipate after leaving work.
  • Relationship with their spouse is strained when together all the time.
  • Boredom sets in due to a lack of meaningful activity.
  • Risk of depression increases dramatically after retiring.

Reported by USA Today, retirees are about twice as likely to experience feelings of depression. 

Further, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal increasing suicide rates for men peaking after the age of 75.

Not exactly the cheery news most of us associate with retirement. The flip side is it can also be the happiest and the best years of your life.

What's in Retirement for First Timers?

Ready or not, here we come might best describe how most of us approach retirement. An excerpt from the introduction:

“Imagine a small Cessna airplane on its final approach, with you in the captain’s seat!

Even with planning and preparation, it's likely to be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s not as if any of us have had the opportunity to make a few practice runs.

That might best describe the final approach for the typical, somewhat prepared new retiree.

For those flying by the “seat of their pants”, they think they got it. Until, suddenly, they are in a tail spin plummeting downward.

The altimeter thingamajig is crazily spinning with alarms blaring incessantly. They have no idea what went wrong or how to recover.

Perhaps a bit melodramatic, yet it reflects the transition will not be easy for everyone.

The good news is, sooner or later, everyone winds up on the ground. The not so great news is there’s gonna be a few bumpy landings.”

The framework of retirement is a visual model of the many aspects to consider.

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These include:

  • Understanding that while having enough money important, it is nothing more than the foundation to build upon. It enables you to maintain the lifestyle you desire.
  • Your health is precious, both physical and mental. Once in decline, everything else pales in significance. Amazingly, a lot of the diseases and sickness that befall us are often preventable.
  • The quality of relationships (or lack thereof) greatly influence our well being. To be candid, we’ll live longer happier lives with social interactions.
  • Everyone’s heard the term “bored to death”, I bet it was coined by a retiree! We all need meaningful activities and at least some sense of purpose to motivate us. Otherwise, why bother getting out of bed?
  • Finally, your attitude and mindset play a major role in determining your satisfaction and overall happiness. We are often our own worst enemies derailing ourselves. Instead of being content and grateful for what we have, many exist in a state of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

Closing Thoughts

The secret to transitioning into the next phase of your life is planning, preparation and flexibility. 

Stuff is going to happen along the way. We need to be able to deal with it the best way we can. Your attitude and mindset are key to your overall retirement and how great it will be!

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