re•tire•ment (r -t r m nt)
1. The act of retiring.
2. The state of being retired.
3. Withdrawal from one’s occupation, business, or office.
4. Withdrawal into privacy or seclusion.
5. A place of privacy or seclusion; a retreat. See Synonyms at solitude.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Retirement is the subject of more daydreams than any other topic. Millions of workers fantasize about the day they no longer need to show up for work. For some of us, that day is getting close though for many, there are years to go. As a financial planner I have the opportunity to work with couples and watch as they head into retirement. Retirement is a big transition and it requires thought, planning, and energy to be successful. Happy transitions to retirement that I have seen share three common traits.

First, couples that have their own hobbies, volunteer activities, or part-time work separate from their spouse seem happier longer. If you want a thriving retirement, stay active, add some new things to the mix and don’t, by all means don’t, assume every day should be a dawn to dusk exercise in togetherness. Too much togetherness seems to increase irritability though I don’t know quite why.

Second, couples need to have shared financial values in retirement. It’s important to know each other’s goals and make sure there is a retirement plan to both agree to. The last thing you want is for your spouse to suddenly shift gears and start spending down the savings faster than you can afford. Both of you need to know where the money is, how much there is, and how it will last for your lifetime. It’s fine to have ‘his’ money and ‘her’ money but major decisions need to be joint ones.

Third, retirement takes planning. For every one of us who has dreamed retirement down to the very last detail, there is someone who hasn’t done any planning at all. One thing I’ve seen consistently is the sooner you start, the better your retirement will be. If you know what you want to do when you’re retired it’s easier to figure out what that will cost, add lot of padding for the unknowns, and then save for it. If you’ve got a plan you are more relaxed and less anxious. That peace of mind is invaluable.

So whether you are two, ten, or twenty years away from retiring it’s not too early to start the discussion. And you will arrive at the point in your life where those daydreams will end because you’ll be living them.



boot•strap (b t str p )
1. A loop of leather, cloth, or synthetic material that is sewn at the side or the top rear of a boot to help in pulling the boot on.
2. An instance of starting of a computer; a boot.
tr.v. boot•strapped, boot•strap•ping, boot•straps
1. To promote and develop by use of one’s own initiative and work without reliance on outside help: “We’ve bootstrapped our way back with aggressive tourism and recruiting high tech industries” (John Corrigan).
2. Computer Science To boot (a computer).

1. Undertaken or accomplished with minimal outside help.
2. Being or relating to a process that is self-initiating or self-sustaining.
by (one’s) (own) bootstraps
By one’s own efforts.

While pulling on a pair of boots the other morning I slipped my fingers through the straps and gave them a good tug. I got to thinking about bootstrapping and what a great way it is to start a business. Starting your own business by bootstrapping is an exhilarating, creative endeavor. Okay, maybe that’s too rosy of a spin. Bootstrapping can be pretty stressful and scary, too. But, it’s a mixture of highs and lows, of good days and bad that can be pretty rewarding if you let it. I’ve worked with quite a few entrepreneurs and there are a few characteristics that consistently show up among the successful ones.
First, a successful bootstrapper is cheap. It forces you to be surprisingly resourceful. When my partner, Beth, and I started our software company many moons ago we were both committed to making our seed money go as far as possible. She found computers for us at a great price. In these pre-Internet days I spent time in the law library of the local university learning how to file trademark documents and develop distributor agreements. Travel to trade shows was determined by where we had a free place to crash. As our business expanded, we stayed true to our frugal roots and that helped us succeed where others in our field didn’t.
Second, a successful bootstrapper is resilient. Those who have never owned their own business can’t appreciate how stressful it can be when the inevitable setbacks occur. Some days there’s nothing else you can do except pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. Well, that, and maybe break into a bag of strawberry Twizzlers.
One final characteristic I’ve seen is that good bootstrappers always pay it forward. You never forget how hard it was when you were just starting out. I don’t try to judge someone’s business idea on whether or not it’s a ‘good’ idea. Sometimes someone can have a great idea but be at the wrong time or place. Or maybe they just don’t have the resources to pull it off. It takes a certain amount of courage to start a business so I say hats off to anyone who steps out and tries. You never know, it just might be the next big thing.

Definition provided by: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.