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30270 Rancho Viejo Road Suite D San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
AN INCOME PLAN MAY HELP YOU EMBRACE THE BENEFITS OF RETIREMENT SOONER THAN YOU THOUGHT
Ready, Set, Retire
One of the top perks of being a financial adviser is talking to clients after they’ve retired and hearing about how happy they are.
was relaxed and couldn’t stop smiling. This was a guy who wanted a way out of the daily grind for himself and his wife. And they were shocked when they realized — thanks to a written income plan based on both of their goals — they could retire. Well, sort of retire. He wanted a job working by the beach, and he’s now a food runner assisting the waitstaff at an exclusive oceanside restaurant. It provides some income to supplement what he has from his savings, and he loves it. He also plays softball every week and he looks fit and happy. Transitioning to retirement with a part-time or less taxing job is often a healthy step. For instance, I have another client who took a 45% pay cut to relocate to the Pacific Northwest for a less stressful position than his government job. When we met to review the retirement plan we’d built, I asked him how he was doing. “Look at me,” he said. “I’ve lost 40 pounds, and I’m off my cholesterol, blood pressure, and anti-depression meds. I golf every week. I see my grandkids who live nearby. Let me tell you, the extra money I made before just wasn’t worth it. And even with the pay cut, I’ll still be able to stop working soon.” Of course, it isn’t just about reducing the anxiety. My happily retired clients tell me they get more sleep and more exercise. And they have more time to focus on cooking good food. (Sometimes they even grow that food themselves.) • It’s a chance to spend more time with family. Let’s face it, working and commuting so many hours every week can lead to a pretty self-centered life. Depending on your career, it can be hard to stop thinking about what you need to get done even when you’re at home. There’s always an email or text to answer or a project to finish.
It’s a pleasure to witness the transformation so many retirees go through as they recover from the stress of working, commuting, and always rushing. And it’s a privilege to have helped them craft the plan that got them to their lifestyle goals. That’s especially true, I think, when it’s clear the person really wanted to retire, and would benefit from retiring, but didn’t think it was feasible. For those folks, a comprehensive retirement plan is like a permission slip to exit the rat race and enjoy their lives.
I always hope people will make the decision to make that plan as soon as they feel ready because from what I’ve seen, there are several benefits:
• It’s an opportunity to improve your health. I recently ran into a client who retired in his late-50s, and the change in his appearance from the last time I’d seen him was startling. The stress in his eyes was gone; he
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CTRL, ALT, DELETE YOUR CLUTTER
Tips for National Clean Up Your Computer Month
Everyone relies on technology. Computers, laptops, tablets, and phones are staples of modern life. However, it’s easy for these devices to become cluttered with old photos, files, and general disorganization. Luckily, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month and an excellent time to get your technology in order.
Imagine you’re navigating a vast airport on a busy Saturday, shouldering your way through crowds and struggling to hear the PA system over the clatter of 1,000 wheeled suitcases. Suddenly, you see a pig wearing a hot pink sweater waddling toward you on a leash. Do you stop in your tracks? Does your stress level drop? Do you laugh out loud when you see its pink nail polish? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then you can sympathize with the passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and staff at the San Francisco International Airport. They get to enjoy visits from Lilou, the world’s first airport therapy pig, on a regular basis! As part of the Wag Brigade, the airport’s cadre of (mostly canine) therapy animals, Lilou wanders the airport with her humans, bringing joy, peace, and calm to everyone she meets. Lilou may be the only pig of her kind, but airport therapy animals have been a growing trend for the last few years. According to NPR, as of 2017, more than 30 airports across the U.S. employed therapy dogs, and these days, estimates land closer to 60. The San Jose and Denver airports have therapy cats, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport even offers passengers the chance to play with miniature horses before boarding their flights. Therapy dogs started appearing in U.S. airports after the 9/11 terror attacks, which changed American attitudes about flying. They did so well at helping passengers calm down that airports began implementing permanent programs. Some have pets on hand 24/7 to assist passengers, while others host animal visits every few weeks or months. These days, regular travelers have fallen hard for their local therapy animals, many of whom even have their own Instagram accounts and hashtags. So, the next time you’re traveling, keep an eye out for a friendly pup, cat, pig, or horse to pet. A bit of love from an animal just might improve your trip! MEET THE WORLD’S FIRST AIRPORT THERAPY PIG How Lilou and Animals Like Her Calm Stressed-Out Travelers
START BY DUSTING
Over time, computer towers can become clogged with dust, which creates additional, unwanted heat within your computer. Regular cleanings will increase the lifespan of your computer and protect its essential components. Compressed air is great for removing most of the dust and other particulates. If the fans or filters are too dirty, you can remove them from the tower to clean them better. If you use water or liquid cleaning products on them, be sure they are completely dry before placing them back into your computer.
ORGANIZE YOUR FILES
Naming and arranging the files on your computer in such a way that they’re easy for you to find can end up saving you a lot of time. Declutter your workspace by creating one file for pictures, one for Word documents, one for spreadsheets, and one for programs to eliminate the hassle of frantically searching for the files you need.
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER
Be sure to back up your computer before you start deleting things. This acts as a safety net in case you delete something you didn’t mean to. Additionally, consider installing a second hard drive. The extra space can help with storing important
files without having to worry about how much room is left.
CLEAN UP SPACE
Any files you’ll never use again should be deleted. Likewise, any
programs you haven’t used in a while should be uninstalled. Check your hard drive for files that might be taking up unintended space on your computer. And remember to empty the recycling bin — it’s easy to
forget just how much goes in there.
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Many of my clients have told me about rekindling the relationship with their spouse in retirement or building better bonds with family members. They say retiring provides more chances to be tender. And that makes sense, doesn’t it? When your head isn’t buzzing with small details (Does my car need gas? Am I properly prepared for that meeting tomorrow?), you can focus on the person you are. One friend and client of ours reconnected with his sister, and they now travel the world together. Another client is spending quality time with his twin sons in a way he never imagined would be possible when he was working. Retiring at 61 or 62 instead of 67 or 70 may not seem like that big of a difference, but those who wish to travel or spend time with their kids or grandkids often tell me how thrilled they are to do it while they still feel young and can get around easily. Even if these clients aren’t old enough to collect their Social Security benefits — or if they want to delay filing so they can grow their benefits — we often can find a way to build a plan with what they have in savings and other income sources, allowing them to go do the things they truly want to do. • You can give something back. Our retirees often remark how much they enjoy volunteer work — and not just because it gives them something to do. They say they feel blessed to have had people in their lives who helped them, and though they didn’t have time or energy to get involved with a service organization when they were working, it’s something they now embrace. One of my clients adopted a girl with special challenges who is thriving thanks to the attention from her new full-time mom. Others I know serve as mentors for young people, deliver meals to shut-ins, or offer to help their neighbors with chores. It gives them a sense of purpose and renewed vigor. And remember, charities aren’t just looking for checks — many are
seeking help from volunteers who have special skills and experience to offer. One example is the nonprofit organization SCORE, made up of retired professionals who give free advice and wise counsel to business owners and entrepreneurs alike. I have been a recipient of their services, and I can tell you these are some sharp-minded retirees and very helpful. • There’s time for self-reflection. People often don’t recognize their quality of life could improve until they retire. They were busy, and the bills were getting paid, but they weren’t completely fulfilled. Retirement gives them time to ponder who and what are really important, what they’re truly proud of, and maybe, what needs to change. For some, retirement is a reminder they aren’t going to live indefinitely, and that inspires them to embrace the years ahead. I admit, I’m looking forward to semiretirement — to devoting more time to my oldest son’s special needs, pursuing my passion for cooking, learning from others, and giving something back. If that’s how you feel, and you’re holding back because you lack confidence in your retirement income plan, perhaps it’s time to talk about what you still need to do — or how you can use what you already have — to make things work. Believe me, there’s a way to put together a plan that gets you to your goals.
Kim Franke-Folstad contributed to this article.
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by Epicurious
1 smoked ham hock
1 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 medium onion, diced
5–6 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 dried hot pepper, optional (arbol and Calabrian are great options)
Wash and sort peas.
2. In a saucepan, cover peas with water, discarding any that float. 3. Add pepper, ham hock, and onion. Gently boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are just tender, about 90 minutes. At this point, you should have about 2 cups of liquid remaining. 4. Add rice, cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, undisturbed. 5. Remove from heat and let steam for an additional 10 minutes, still covered. 6. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.
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INSIDE 1 Ready, Set, Retire 30270 Rancho Viejo Road Suite D San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Meet the World’s First Airport Therapy Pig Enter 2020 With an Organized Computer
Real Winter Wonderlands Hoppin’ John Tips to Establish a Family Media Use Plan
SCREEN-TIME STRATEGIES How to Set a Family Media Use Plan
HAVE A CHAT
With 24/7 media exposure from TVs, computers, and
smartphones, it feels like life is dominated by screens. Consider implementing a media use plan for your family so they don’t miss out on the real world.
Don’t shy away from warning your kids about what exists in the digital world. Explain to them that certain content isn’t age-appropriate, and teach them what movie and TV ratings mean. Remind them to be careful about what they put on the internet because anything they upload never really goes away. Teach them to be smart with their decisions. Connect with them on social media if it helps you keep an eye on things.
SET A CURFEW
CONSTRUCT A ‘MEDIA DIET’
Limiting the time your children spend staring at a screen is good for their health. Try to keep screen- time usage to under two hours per day. Implement a rule for no screens at mealtimes, and keep all screens out of bedrooms at night. Keep track of the devices by having a communal charging dock in a shared area where you can make
Take an active role in what your children watch by co-viewing programs with them. You’ll have a better sense of what they’re seeing and can point them toward the programming that’s right for them. Look for educational media choices that teach good values. There are a lot of great educational opportunities on the internet, but there’s also a lot of room for negative exposure. If this is a concern, keep the family computer in a public part of your home so you can see what they’re accessing online. It’s important to educate your children about proper media health, but it’s even more important to encourage your kids to be healthy in other ways. Beyond the tips mentioned above, encourage them to play outdoors and read physical books so they can participate more actively in the real world.
sure everything is plugged in for the night.
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