Retirement is on the lips and minds of almost everyone you talk to today. The young marrieds are pointing their lives toward it and the older folks are either immersed in it or are considering it. It is a subject that truly excites some and is a feared subject to others.
Last week I was the subject of an interview with Howard Gendel (Phd industrial pyschologist) and a longtime Jericho resident, who is doing a professional study on retirement feelings and experiences. The topic stated succinctly is "Attitudes toward retirement versus expectations - financial aspects and happiness aspects." It is an anonymous study that examines the pre- and post-feelings before and after a person makes the big step to become a retiree.
These are some of the questions Howard posed to me in our 45-minute interview:
* What are your attitudes toward retirement?
* Are you content with all your decisions?
* Is retirement what you expected?
* When did you start planning (if you did) about your retirement?
* Who were your advisors, both emotionally and financially? Were your advisors "on target" in understanding your needs?
* What would you have done differently?
(This question required me to pause and reflect. I came to the conclusion that I, personally, would not have made many changes. Maybe you, my reader, would feel differently.)
Another cogent question evolved about the spouse's role in deciding about retiring. (Lorraine, my wife, thought I would drive her nuts if I had nothing planned to occupy me 24 hours of every day. It proved to be inaccurate as I soon found many courses and eventually, enjoyed writing this wonderful column.)
A question arose about the media's sensitivity to the needs of retired people. Are they lumping you, the retiree, in with the total population and not catering to your individual retirement situations?
These well-thought-out questions made me rethink many of my decisions. As I answered Howard Gendel's specific questions I realized how little planning had gone into my own retirement. Also I must admit I bent Howard's ear telling him of 50 years of good and bad financial tales and advice. Being a natural storyteller I appreciated the soap-box.
Many issues were revealed that I had not delved into prior to this interview. I concluded that retirement needs much planning. It is a major step and each family must examine their own needs, wants and expectations.
It was a worthwhile visit and exploration of my own retirement.