12 Retirement Myths Busted-Stencil

People have a lot of misperceptions about retirement.  I’ve heard a lot of them over the years, and I’ve become especially aware of them since I started reading and researching extensively in order to produce content for this web site.

Where do these misperceptions come from?  Generally, misperceptions thrive wherever there is a lack of knowledge or awareness.  And many people rarely think about their retirement during their working years.

The average 50-year-old in the United States has saved $43,797 for retirement.  36% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement at all.

Whenever I think about this sobering statistic, it leaves me sad and perplexed.  Why are we, as a nation, so underprepared?  I am convinced that this situation exists because these misperceptions exist.

Financial preparedness aside, I have observed that many people either view their retirement with dread or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, with an overly simplistic and rosy outlook.

Let’s take a look at twelve retirement myths, and then consider the reality that undermines each of them.

...continue reading "12 Retirement Myths – Busted!"

To Achieve Your Ideal Retirement

It’s easy to imagine an ideal retirement lifestyle, filled with stress-free days in which you are engaging in all those self-fulfilling pursuits you’ve always dreamed of but never had time for.  You probably have a nice list of things you would like to do and places you want to go after you retire.  Maybe you have an actual “bucket list.”

But how many of those things on your list will you actually do?

Chances are, not very many.


Because many of those items on your list require you to do something differently than you have been accustomed to for most of your life.  They may require you to change your habits or change the way you live.  Some of them require a lot of planning.  Some require you to leave your comfort zone.

The truth is, you are a creature of habit.  A lot of those habits have been engrained in you for most of your life.

What will it take to get you started on the path towards the ideal retirement you envision?

...continue reading "To Achieve Your Ideal Retirement, Are You Willing to Change?"

How will you be remembered

Do you ever wonder how you’ll be remembered after you die?

At your memorial service and for years to come, what will others remember most about your life?

What do you want people to remember about you and your life?

Of course, you’ll be gone, so it may not matter that much to you.  But if you’re like most of us, you hope that you made some difference on this earth with your life.

Most of us will not make a major, life-changing difference like discovering a cure for cancer or ending world hunger or negotiating the political break-through that leads to world peace.  But you will inevitably have an impact on many of the lives you touch.  And many of those people will want to remember you.  And while the best memories will live on in their hearts, it’s nice to leave some tangible mementos as well.

...continue reading "How Will You Be Remembered?"

Live Mic logoWhat kinds of vacations would you like to take after you retire?  You will no longer limited by a fixed number of vacation days at your job, and you can go anytime you want.

But have you factored your vacation dreams into your retirement planning budget?  What will you be able to afford to do?  You have more options than you may think.

I'm delighted to return as Mark McNease's guest on his podcast series, "Live Mic with Mark McNease" on lgbtSr.org.

Mark and I discuss a topic many of us are thinking about this time of year – vacations. Listen in as we talk about how your vacation options may change after you retire, as well as how to plan for them and afford them.

We also discuss how the vacation landscape for LGBT people has changed over the years as a result of wider mainstream acceptance and having more options available.

Give a listen!


There’s a buffet restaurant a few miles from our home called Pacific Seafood Buffet.  Most of the food is Asian, and the primary draw for us is all the sushi we care to eat for one price.  Of course, there are a lot of other good dishes there too:  tempura vegetables, shrimp, crab cakes, and many things you typically find at Asian buffets.  And there’s green tea ice cream for dessert!

The lunch price is very reasonable, so we go every couple of months.  (If we went more often, we would be huge.)  Overall, I stay away from buffets because they are invitations to overeat.  Our visits to Pacific Seafood Buffet are no exception; often, on the drive home, we realize that we have probably eaten too much.

What does this have to do with retirement?

...continue reading "Retirement is Like a Buffet. Will You Stuff Yourself or Starve?"

Aged to Perfection icon

I'm delighted to be Mark McNease's guest on another interview in his "Aged to Perfection" podcast series for his website, lgbtSr.org. This week Mark and I spoke about some of the different lifestyles people create for themselves in retirement. We also touch on identifying what suits you, and the importance of discussing your envisioned retirement with a spouse if you have one.

Give a listen!

You have probably seen a bumper sticker, T-shirt, or coffee mug that exclaims, “He who dies with the most toys wins!”  Many people in the U.S. and other first-world nations seem to have bought in to that philosophy to at least some extent.

He who dies with the most toys wins

What does the person who dies with the most toys actually win?

Do you sometimes look at everything you own and wonder how you ever accumulated so much stuff?

If you’re like most of us, you know that someday you’re going to need to downsize.  Does the thought of going through all of your possessions and deciding what you will part with excite you about as much as having a root canal?

...continue reading "What Does (s)he Who Dies with the Most Toys Actually Win?"

Map with Push Pins

The internet is consumed with list-mania!  It seems that top ten lists (or twelve, or twenty, or…) are the magic formula to attract viewer traffic.  Some web sites are comprised of nothing but top ten lists, and some major news web sites publish lists frequently as well.

There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of "Best Places to Retire" lists on the internet.

Can you trust them?

With so many contradictory lists, how are you to make sense of it all?

...continue reading "Best Places to Retire Lists – Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy?"


Man at overlook

I have been retired for nine months now.  In some ways, it seems as though the time has flown by.  In other ways, it seems like my life has been like this for a long time and work is now a distant memory.

When greeted by friends, I’m often asked, “So how’s retirement?”  My stock answer is “Great!”  And overall, it really is.

I’ve long been amused by this definition of the word “affirmation:” An affirmation is when you lie to yourself repeatedly until you actually believe the statement to be true.  Therefore, whenever I answer an inquiry about how my retirement is going, when I answer “great!” I am reaffirming to myself that it actually is.

In fact, during retirement I’ve had happy, blissful days and I’ve had depressing, frustrating days – much the same as when you’re living any other phase of your life.

Here are seven things I have learned about being retired and about transitioning from work to retirement, followed by three key takeaways for you.

...continue reading "Seven Things I’ve Learned During the First Nine Months of Retirement"

Back in January, 1980, when I started my first job out of college, I was pretty naïve. I had no idea how to advance my career, navigate office politics, or even dress well. I can laugh now at how clueless I was back then and marvel that somehow things worked out and I enjoyed a reasonably successful career in spite of it.

But I made one decision that turned out to be one of the smartest things I have done in my life. It set me on the course to be where I am today.

After years of struggling to get by as a college student, living as cheaply as possible with just a few extra bucks here and there, now suddenly I found myself with a regular paycheck coming in!

That decision? When I started my first job, I signed up to have 10% of my paycheck withheld for my retirement savings.

The fact that I have saved at least 10% throughout my working career has allowed me to retire at 56, and look forward to three decades or more of happy, fulfilling, and relatively stress-free retirement. (I actually saved quite a bit more, but more on that later.)

Coin stacks

...continue reading "The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Future"