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Chapter 20. And Now It's Time to Retire > Getting Ready - Pg. 193

And Now It's Time to Retire 193 A survey of recent retirees found that most wished they had started their retirement planning sooner than they did. Of those surveyed, 76 percent thought retirement planning should begin before age 50, while 34 percent thought it should begin before age 35. Actually, retirement planning should start with your first job and your very first paycheck. Don't be discouraged if you're well into your career and haven't started: You can start just as soon as you finish reading this book. What Is Retirement? Retirement is a fairly new phenomenon. It didn't exist at the turn of the century. Not until the New Deal and Social Security did older workers "retire" and make room for new and younger workers. Back then, retirement usually meant a few years in a rocking chair on the back porch. The average life span was 63 years, and Social Security didn't begin until 65. Today, women who reach age 65 can expect to live to be 86, and men who reach 65 can expect to live to be 83. The average worker can now expect to spend more than a quarter of his life in retirement. That's a long time. Retirement planning needs to be part of your overall financial plan. There are three Ws of retirement planning: when, where, and what. · When can you retire?In other words, when will you have accumulated enough money to retire? · Where will you live?Where can you afford to live? You may want to stay right where you are, but will you be able to afford the taxes and maintenance on that big old place? If you choose to move, where will you be able to buy a home? · What will you do?Will you be able to play when you're retired? Or will you have to find a part- time job to supplement your income? The question, "What will you do in retirement?" translates into, "What will you be able to afford to do?" Playing golf and traveling don't come cheaply. For What It's Worth To properly plan for retirement, you need to take into account the three Ws-- when, where, and what. When do you retire? Where do you live when you retire? What do you do with your time when you retire? All three Ws have a big financial impact on retirement. Think about that. How well you've been able to save will directly impact your lifestyle and your ability to play in retirement. Check out The Com- plete Idiot's Guide to Retiring Early written by Dee to learn more about the three Ws. Getting Ready Maybe you want that fantasy retirement--you know, a retirement that feels like you're on vacation all the time. You can spend time in a warm climate when winter winds blow. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can do all those things that you've been dreaming about, like take a balloon ride or a safari in Africa. You have time to take care of all the things on your "To Do" list and time left over to do something meaningful. It all sounds so wonderful, doesn't it? Well, to achieve this nirvana, you will need to plan, save, and invest (unless you're already very wealthy or expecting a very large inheritance).