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Retire Fabulously Snowbirds Crowded Freeway Heavy Traffic Retirement
Snowbirds add millions of dollars to the local economy, but also clog the freeways, restaurants, and check-out lines.

It’s December in Phoenix. Our daily high temperatures reach into the upper 70s, and our nighttime lows are in the lower 50s. The days shift between sunny and partly cloudy; it rains only occasionally.

The freeway traffic is heavier, the restaurants are more crowded, and the grocery check-out lines are longer. Why? The snowbirds are here!

Snowbirds are people who migrate from colder regions of the United States and Canada to sunny spots in Florida, Arizona, and other Sunbelt states every year.

But to the millions of people who migrate every year, it offers the best of both worlds – an opportunity to maintain ties to your family, friends, and the familiarity of the place you’ve called home for much of your life, as well as an escape from cold, wintery weather and a change of scenery.

Why is seasonal migration so popular among retirees?  What are the drawbacks and the costs?  What do you need to plan for, and what challenges must be confronted?

...continue reading "The Best of Both Worlds: The Pros and Cons of the Snowbird Lifestyle"

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Bird taking flight

Do you dream of retiring early? If you can make just a few small changes in your day-to-day life, you can.

Are you concerned that you won’t have enough money saved to retire at all, or that you won’t be able to enjoy the kind of retirement you would like? If you can make just a few small changes in your day-to-day life, you can.

So, what’s the secret to retiring early? It’s simple: save more.

I can already hear you saying, “Well, duh...” But if it’s this simple, why aren’t you (and most people) doing it?

...continue reading "The Simple Secret to Retiring Early – And What’s Stopping You from Doing It"

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Balanced Rocks and Sailboat

Do you sometimes find yourself imagining how you’ll fill your days once you no longer have to work?

During those times when you seem so busy there never seems to be time to do what you want, do you say to yourself, “When I retire, I’ll have lots of time to do this!”

On the other hand, maybe you’re more concerned about what you’re going to do with all that free time. You might even fear that you’ll have nothing to do and be bored.

To be sure, some downtime is good for you. Having some relaxation in each day is healthy, and you’ve earned it!

But it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’ll spend hours every day doing that one thing you really love and don’t have enough time for now. For example, if you’re an avid golfer you might think to yourself, “When I’m retired, I can play golf every day!” Same thing with anything else – hiking, painting, sewing… you name it.

I used to fantasize that retirement would be total leisure – I would just be able to do whatever fun thing I felt like that day, with hardly a care in the world.

I have a huge collection of jazz and Brazilian records, CDs, and videos that I’ve accumulated throughout my adult life. I now have far more music than I could ever listen to in a year. (Downsizing my collection is one thing I’ll get around to “one of these days,” but that will probably be my hardest thing to downsize.)

I used to think that I would spend all day with music playing in the house, enjoying my vast collection. Of course, my husband Jeff, who isn’t nearly as much of a jazz aficionado as I am, wouldn’t care so much for that. But the obvious reality is that spending all day, every day, listening to music would get old quickly.

The best way to ensure that your retirement years are happy, healthy, and fulfilling is to achieve a balance in your activities.  

...continue reading "4 Essential Ingredients of a Balanced Life"

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Conversation at table with devices and handbag

Hopefully, you have at least a general idea of how you hope your life will unfold in the years to come.  You probably have some ideas (whether vague or specific) about where you’d really like to live, where you hope to travel, when you hope to retire, and an assortment of dreams and “bucket list” items you’d like to do someday.

Have you shared these dreams, desires, and goals with your spouse?  

How closely do they align with those of your spouse?

Do you know what his or her dreams, desires, and goals are well enough to describe them accurately?

You might be surprised how many couples haven’t had these conversations, or how many are operating under incorrect assumptions.  It’s easy to envision your ideal future, with your spouse by your side, without actually getting your spouse’s input and buy-in.

It’s easy to assume that your spouse envisions the same future that you do.

...continue reading "8 Conversations Every Couple Needs to Have"

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!

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

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2014-01-13 Betty Sullivan

Prior to December, I can’t recall that I have ever attended a retirement party held in the workplace. In fact, the only retirement party I can recall was a party for the father of one of my college buddies that took place soon after I graduated, and that one took place in their home.

My employer provides funding for retirement parties. This is probably not the case at many other companies, which may explain why many retirement parties happen privately, on a smaller scale, or not at all.

But in December, not only did I have my own party, but I was asked to serve as Master of Ceremonies for two other retirement parties – both for managers I had worked for. Of course, being the MC pretty much required me to be part of the planning process. So, in a few short weeks, I got a crash course on planning retirement parties.

In this post, I’ll share some of the things I learned and some suggestions for throwing a fun and memorable retirement party, as well as other ways to commemorate the end of a working career.

...continue reading "The Retirement Party"