An article in a publication called National Underwriter Life and Health makes a very good point about the many advertisements we see picturing retirement. Whether it’s on TV or in a magazine or brochure, retirement is always pictured as “fishing, gorgeous sunsets…” as the author, Maria Ferrante-Schepis writes, to which I would add the inevitable sailboat, the dock on the lake, the shining grandchildren. As she points out, retirement means a lot more than that to most people. For many people, retirement is about figuring out if you have enough money. It’s deciding when you can stop working, or when you can work on a part-time basis. It’s also about straightening out “screwups” with your health insurance, according to retirees I have met. Make no mistake: retirement, if you can afford it, is better than working full-time. No retiree I have ever encountered has said he or she wished to be back in the work force. But getting to what your version of a good retirement will be takes some work on your part; you can benefit from the help of advisors, but you have to start by deciding what you want to do. If you want to work a little, determine how you can do that. Look at your sources of income and your likely expenses. Make plans, but remember that you won’t anticipate everything that will happen after retirement. I have often met with clients who have done their homework and just want to explain it to someone to see if there are any holes. That’s a good exercise.

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