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I ran into a friend over the recent holidays and I found myself in a conversation about the “soft side” of PeterSmith 2013-editedretirement. My friend is an architect, eventually the conversation got around to our ages and if we are going to retire. My architect friend said he loved his job, has no hobbies, and was not sure what he would do with himself if he gave up his practice. I told him I thought he was lucky to feel that way towards his vocation. If he truly loves his business and has the ability to make his own hours, basically it is like he is retired. I told him I felt the same way about my vocation; helping clients with their planning.

However, as I reflected on our conversation, this approach will not work for all retirees. My next thought which was spurred on by a book I recently read, Retire Right – 8 Scientifically Proven Traits You Need for a Happy, Fulfilling Retirement by Drs. Fraunfelder & Gilbaugh, was how do we live a successful, balanced retirement. In their book, Drs. Fraunfelder & Gilbaugh give us a clear recipe on how to retire. The eight traits they have identified for a successful retirement are planning, attitude, accepting change, establishing support groups, having leisure time, staying healthy(exercise), having passion & purpose in our lives, and to be spiritual.

I cannot go through all of these traits in depth in this column and some are almost self-explanatory, but let’s do the 30,000-foot tour of them. Planning is not only about the financial side of retirement, but thinking through the decision to keep working or not. Do we work because it is fulfilling? Start a second career on that interest we just never got around to? Play golf 4 days a week? Travel? Or anything else that will keep your days full? The key according to the authors is to plan and visualize retirement in the years leading up to when we actually retire. They go on to say we need to develop a positive attitude if we do not have one already; changing negative situations into positive ones in our minds, going with the flow to accept change vs. trying to turn the clock back to the way things used to be.

They say support groups are important. That we need to make sure our friends are our age, younger, and older. We will need the younger people to interact with us as our older friends pass away. We should always be building these relationships to ensure we have this support as we age. We need to reduce stress through multiple leisure activities. We need to exercise, not smoke, and see our doctor on a regular basis.

The authors say we need to have passion and purpose in our lives. We should find an activity we find fulfilling, it could be marathons, stamp collecting, gardening, writing that book you always wanted to write or being that fully involved grandparent, to name a few. The last trait they identified was the need to be spiritual as we approach that last chapter in our lives. As we move through traumatic situations; death of a spouse, increased caregiving responsibilities, or our own illness, there is a strong need to believe in something “bigger than ourselves.” Spirituality “offers strength, solace, and hope” in tough times.

Some of my clients have expressed fear about this “soft side” of their retirements. Others tell me they are not sure where they “found the time to go to their day jobs before they retired because they are so busy now”. For clients, that have expressed this fear, I have given them a copy of this book. At first blush, if you identify with my “so busy” clients, you may think you do not need this book. However, as you read through the traits you may find there are some you could use help with. This book is out of print, but I have been able to find copies with online book retailers. A nice, quick read that you may find helpful for your retirement.

For those of you that have found something more current in print that you like on this subject, please reach out and let me know. This subject is a passion and a purpose for me! 301.543.6000

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As a Financial Planner, Peter brings three decades of consumer product industry experience and a high level of customer service to the financial services business. After a successful 25 year sales career at Blistex, Inc., he was employed at Morgan Stanley as a Registered Marketing Associate and Financial Advisor from 2010 to 2013. Peter believes in diversified portfolio management to meet college savings goals, retirement lifestyle objectives, charitable giving goals, and estate planning objectives.

Peter is involved in his local community in Annapolis, MD. He has served on the Vestry and chaired six Stewardship Campaigns at St. Anne’s Church. He currently supports St. Anne’s as the Planned Giving Committee Chairman. He has been active in local Boy Scout units and also serves on the Board of the Trustees for the Chase Home in Historic Annapolis on the Endowment Committee.

Peter and his wife Molly live in Annapolis, MD and are “empty nesters”. Their son, Hunter, graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA and their youngest son, McLean graduated from Belmont University in Nashville, TN.  To email Pete: psmith@psgplanning.com