Have you ever been on a roller coaster and the first part of the ride you’re chugging up a long slow hill, until the first car tips over the edge into that speedway of decline that feels like you’re losing your guts at every turn, until you drag to a stop in front of the exit line? Anticipation is a killer as you work your way to the top, stressing over every single chug on the way up. You wonder if there’s enough power to pull it to the top of the hill, and you’re looking forward to that incredible ride that starts when you get to the top…
I’m still working my way up the first incline, and there are days when I see the top of the hill rise in anticipation. My desire to retire with money in the bank, travel plans at hand, and excitement and adventure to fill every moment is right there… Lingering in the gut. But I’ve heard the screams of those who topped the hill before they were ready. And I don’t want to be them. I want to enjoy the ride.
Over the Retirement Hilltop
While some refer to this time of life as autumn, I’m still suffering through the scorching heat of summer. I dream of cool Indian Summer nights, colors falling from the sky, and that crisp apple-y aroma blending with pumpkin spice. But I’m assured retirement hilltop isn’t like that at all. I’ve been warned, but I can’t imagine it being the horrifying freefall that I’m hearing.
However, as I ride this car to the top of the hill, I’m hearing that I really should make some plans, so here are the plans I’m preparing for this ride… (I have two years to go before I reach 60, but many of my friends need to read this now!)
#1 – Prepare for the Adrenalin Rush
Some call it a sigh of relief that you’ve arrived. But still others are implying it comes with a rush of gasping dread as you realize you’re in freefall with no slowdown in sight. Whatever it is, the energy levels will soar with the rush to get to the end, but they’ll NEVER sustain you, if you don’t keep a positive attitude and stop screaming like a little girl!
Prepare yourself, by taking deep breathing exercises, and maintaining your hydration. You’re going to need that hydration, for the end of the ride. Drink up, brother!
#2 – Take Only What You NEED
You can’t take it all with you, so start eliminating the excess now, and carry only what you need. Give it away, your kids won’t want to sort through it later! Give it to them now, so you can WATCH them toss it aside, sell it for less than you paid for it, and appreciate it less than you did while you nurtured every materialistic piece you owned. Let it go, and take only what you need as you get in line for the ride.
It’s all just stuff anyway!
#3 – Marriage & Relationships
Go ahead, hold her hand, but don’t squeeze it off. Let her support and encourage you on the way up. Encourage your man to protect you from the dangers of falling out, by wrapping you securely in his arms. Just keep his fingers away from your neck, you do want to survive the trip!
#4 – Pets
This is not the place for your pets. Nobody wants to be puked on or pooped on by your beast.
Leave your pooch by the gate, someone will care for him as you follow this adventure through. Rescuers are waiting.
If you’re insisting on keeping the pet, be sure you plan for their care, in case of your demise. You don’t want to force the poor thing to survive on your old dried up remains!
#5 – Don’t Push Ahead, or Rush to the Front of the Line
You’ll be there soon enough. You don’t need to push ahead, and your rudeness will not be tolerated. Just keep to the line, and follow along nicely, there’s plenty of room on the ride ahead.
Some of you may not make it… don’t be sad, you’re in the best of company, because only the good die young!
#6 – Social Media
Your pictures on facebook, or twitter, or Instagram are wonderful in the beginning, but if you really think you’re going to look appropriate flying downhill at 90 miles per hour, you might want to rethink your social media audience. Most don’t want to see your false teeth flying out, your glasses falling into the abyss, or your extremities trailing behind the car… Keep it all together and try instead for a SURVIVAL shot with the host. Saint Peter will be waiting at the end of the line!
#7 – Extra Curricular Activities
For some, singing, playing an instrument, or holding onto their spot on the Bingo Table might be a good idea, prior to the top of the hill. But once they reach the top, all those things will become a forgettable thought. You’ll be holding on for dear life, and most likely won’t be able to sing on key. Don’t torture us please. Just stop singing and scream like all the other passengers!
#8 – Reading & the Appreciation of Finer Commodities
Even if you’re addicted to books, you can only read one at a time. Don’t try to carry the whole library with you on the ride. Just one. Really… Just one!
As for that bottle of vintage wine? Save it for another day, or for your heirs, after the journey’s end.
#9 – End of the LINE
Trust me, only the good die young and nobody gets out of this ride alive. You will go, but you’re gonna have to tough it out and hold on for the journey. You’ve got a ways to go yet.
The best advice I ever got was wear it out, use it up, and don’t waste what you ain’t got!
#10 – Vest Your Interest in Future Existence
So, here’s the deal. Not everybody has the opportunity to plan for retirement at a young age, so as you’re chugging your way up the hill for that topple over into the abyss that is your future existence, remember that you’re going to need a few things along the way. Don’t spend it all in one spot, and make sure it ain’t falling out of your pockets into the great big beyond (or the walkway under the roller coaster) because you’re going to need what you’ve got… And more.
End of Life Planning
…isn’t all about dying. Sometimes it’s about living, and how you’re going to live on what you have. If you don’t have much, you may be struggling unnecessarily, because there are ways to make what you have be more. All you have to do is put together a plan.
The key isn’t in what you have, as you’ll soon find out… It’s in what you do with what you have.
Don’t fixate on leaving it all to the kids. USE IT! Plan how you’ll use it, and how you’ll make it into more for you to use for yourself. Then, with whatever is left over, plan for your children.
I’m always looking for great ways to improve the opportunities that come along with growing old, learning lessons, and applying the skills I’ve acquired through the years. What in the world do you do with all those skills when you’re done with your career?
What’s Your Potential?
You’re probably not going to be safeguarded by what your mommy and daddy left you at this point, and your children don’t want to support your old bad habits, so save some cash for these later years, and plan for the future. You have potential. If you’re not saved up, planned up, and prepared for retirement, join the Boomer Stride Generation and create a business you can run on the side.
A little side business can keep you moving, make you money, and use up some of those skills you’ve been busy creating all these years. You’ll have a whole lot more fun if you plan to do something about your low-end cash flow, rather than just struggle to get by.
Let’s do coffee and have a conversation!