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VOL. 129 | NO. 143 | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dana and Ray Brandon

Develop Interests Before Retirement

By Ray and Dana Brandon

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Ray’s take: Retirement success is not automatic. It takes planning – and not just financial planning. According to a study by University of Missouri – Columbia, couples should plan for retirement, both financially and socially, and consider the changes that may occur in their relationships and day-to-day activities.

Some of the most dissatisfied people I know spent too much time on the financial aspects of their plan and not enough on the rest. So, who do you and your spouse want to be when you retire? Do you picture yourselves on the golf course or sailing a boat around the Gulf Coast? How about being more involved in volunteer groups? Now is the time for both of you to develop interests that will carry you over in retirement.

Find your unique talents and capabilities and build on those things that bring you joy and satisfaction. These are the things that will make your retirement years so much fuller. Think about activities that interest both of you, along with activities each of you can participate in with friends. You create interest in your life by having things you do together and things you are involved in separately. These are the basic building blocks for a more satisfying retirement life.

Retirement is about so much more than the money. People who fail to develop sincere interests during their lifetime struggle with doing so after retirement, and wind up bored and disappointed. Make sure to take the time now to enjoy life, cultivate hobbies and develop interests. Then, when you retire, you can devote more time to your existing activities, while exploring others to add to the mix.

Dana’s take: In Susan Cain's book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking,” the author discusses the needs of introverts living in a world dominated by extroverts. She found the majority of people feel introverted but believe others are more extroverted.

When the office no longer provides social interaction, choose social activities that fit in your comfort zone for socializing. If you prefer tea for two over a cocktail party, plan social opportunities that suit your preferences, rather than avoiding going out altogether. Studies show that maintaining social connections plays a big part in our mental health.

Some people fear moving to retirement communities because they're not "joiners" or extroverts. Good retirement communities offer small book clubs, small exercise classes, and activities for all kinds of interests. Ask questions about activity options for members who aren't as gregarious. Social interaction is important to happiness; find the right fit for greatest benefit.

Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (brandonplanning.com). His wife, Dana, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray Brandon at raybrandon@brandonplanning.com.

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