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  • Larry Gard

Are Your Retirement Plans Realistic?

Most of us have beliefs and assumptions about retirement, often based on what we’ve witnessed among friends and relatives. Yet the reality of retirement may not always coincide with our expectations, which makes it that much more important for you to give serious thought to this next chapter in life.

The Pew Research Center conducted a survey comparing what younger Americans expected later life to look like, versus the reality experienced by those 65 and up. They found some significant differences between the two groups. For example, on the chart above we see that 39% of respondents expected that they would have a second career, but that was actually the case for only 14% of those over 65.

And it’s not just a matter of being realistic with your plan. You have to take an active role in making it happen. Consider the finding that 80% of the younger Pew survey respondents expected they would be engaged in volunteer work, yet only 52% of those over age 65 were so occupied.

One reason why people don’t volunteer as much as they expect to is that they don’t discover (or create) opportunities that are a good fit. But therein lies the rub. How will you know what constitutes a good fit unless you invest sufficient time to discern what you’re genuinely interested in doing?

We all know of people who had to “re-retire” because their initial idea to volunteer with a local non-profit, play golf, or spend time with their grandchildren proved to be insufficient. Planning your next chapter in life takes thought, effort, and a keen sense of which endeavors will resonate most closely with your true self. Without a compelling picture to motivate and draw you forward, chances are you won’t take full advantage of the opportunities available when you exit your job.

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