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Much of the time, people preach the merits of taking immediate action in pursuing activities or goals.   So, are there times when procrastination is an advisable approach?  The answer is an emphatic “YES.”  Here are 10 circumstances where procrastination has a distinct, positive outcome.

  1. When you have a major decision to be made and either you cannot reach your partner either for endorsement or agreement.
  2. When you cannot agree with your partner or spouse on the action to be taken, it is best to wait to get an affirmation or let emotions settle so compromise or agreement can be reached at a later time.
  3. When a catastrophic event (such as death of a partner or child) occurs, it is best to let events unfold before responding with major decisions.
  4. When decisions are requested without having appropriate background information or sufficient facts, or the input of other important parties who are impacted by the decision; procrastination is preferred.
  5. When you are asked to make a commitment or promise, and you lack the ability to deliver the results, defer your agreement to a future time.
  6. When you lack the funds to pay for a purchase or deliver on a financial commitment, it is best to put off the financial commitment to a future time when you can afford it.
  7. When circumstances have spun out of control and you need time to think about solutions, procrastinate and don’t jump to conclusions.
  8. When a seller is pushing you to buy and you need time to think about the purchase decision.
  9. When pushed by your manager, family members or friends to join in an action that appears inappropriate, or worse unethical or illegal, don’t proceed in joining them in an ill-advised action.
  10. When your gut or intuition says you will later regret the action to be taken, choose not to proceed ahead or entirely stop from taking action.

Procrastination does have its merits, but all too often when it comes to retirement planning folks procrastinate with unfortunate results.  Too many people put retirement planning on the back burner, thinking that the day will come when they will be able to seriously pay attention to it.  In reality, time has a way of moving rather quickly and many individuals are caught in the trap of having to face retirement without properly planning for it.  For example, when losing a job and finding it difficult to find a replacement job; or when a major health problem arises either for themselves or a loved one. The result is last-minute panicking. Even if the individual has saved for their retirement, they are left in a quandary as to how to plan for a new career or what to do with their leisure time…  Not the best of all possible worlds!  So what is the final message?  Haste makes waste, but thoughtful advanced retirement planning certainly beats the alternative.

Sometimes, leaving until tomorrow what you can’t decide today is a good policy.  But, in the case of retirement planning, it is never too early to start envisioning your future and putting the relevant pieces into place.

MAKE TIME YOUR PARTNER AND FRIEND!

Donald C. Strauss © 2010

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Article Originally Published on EzineArticles

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bucks

It seems that almost everyone loves to look at pictures, hence one of the reasons for success of Facebook, YouTube and SnapFish.  Today’s small cameras are flying off the shelves, whether from electronic stores or from one’s local chain drugstore.  It is anything but unusual to see individuals taking photographs with their cell phones.  Movie cameras are also becoming ubiquitous.  So, why is it so different when it comes to individuals videotaping their possessions?

Now, a question for you:  When have you videotaped your possessions?  If you have done this, how many years ago was this performed?  If you have not performed this task, why haven’t you done so?  Is it too difficult to pull items out of drawers or closet shelves?  Or is it procrastination?  Perhaps you might suggest your overlooking this task is due to of a lack of time or equipment.  If so, could you borrow a video camera and make it fun?

Make Your Project Fun

Could you make the videotaping session a fun project, shared with someone?  For example, could you do it like a time trial, to see how quickly each room could be recorded?  Could you play the game of “Let’s see which room contains the most items, or the most items in daily use?”   How about the “Hidden Treasure Hunt” game?  “Gosh, I never knew I had this or forgot I had this!”  “Wow, there’s money in this suitcase!”  And of course, there’s always: “Who can I give this to?” and perhaps get a tax deduction.

But I Have Insurance

Let’s take a step back for a moment.  We all know that we live in a world filled with risk.  That holds true, of course, for ourselves and those we love, whether from an accident, illness, or catastrophic event which can befall any of us.  Our possessions are also not immune from risk—fire, theft, wind and water damage and so forth.  You are probably thinking that this is why people purchase insurance. We live in a dangerous world and insurers will only cover what the insured party can prove they owned.

Bottom Line

What’s the “Bottom Line” of this short article?  There has to be a way for you to find the time to keep a video of your “stuff.”  There is no time like the present to make “an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure,” so anticipate and prepare for a possible catastrophic event.  Get that camera out; prepare to have more carefree days ahead.  If you don’t do it, who will?

© Donald C. Strauss, 2010

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Article Originally Published on EzineArticles

How many years are you going to live in retirement?  That is a very difficult question and, in fact, in most instances a virtually impossible one to answer.  No one of us has the magic crystal ball that can look into the future.  We can look at actuarial tables and identify the number of years that remain for us based on our age and lifestyle.  In fact, about 8,000 Boomers are entering retirement age every day.  This statistic is further clarified by the fact that people are living longer and there are more centenarians than ever before.

Given that no one knows how long they are going to live, we still need to PLAN for the possibilities of living a longer time.  That said, how many years are you PLANNING TO LIVE in retirement and what are you doing about that?  Now, this is another difficult question but one everyone needs to answer.   Some take on the challenge of addressing this question early, i.e., they are planners who begin the task of projecting a long lifespan early in their working careers.  These planners, typically in their early to mid-20’s begin to see their need to accumulate wealth in anticipation of eventually purchasing a home, saving for children’s education and also saving for their eventual retirement.  In many ways, these individuals are the lucky ones, second only to those born of wealth, because in both instances, these individuals will largely be in control of their destiny. Although no one can clearly project the future, they, like the fabled “Ant and Grasshopper” children’s tale have set a course of success for their eventual needs.

And, then there is the largest segment of the population who are putting their future and their eventual needs on hold.  Because of circumstance or choice, the proverbial “saving for a rainy day” are just words or a concept they are unable to address.

So, let’s return to the question, “How many years are you going to live in retirement?”  The answer may be found in the following questions:

  1. How good is your health and what are you doing to maintain good health?
  2. How strong are your relationships (and will your family and/or friends be there to ease your way through your later years?)
  3. How secure are your savings and how substantial have they become?
  4. Do you envision being thoughtful and energetic in using your free time or leisure time to give fulfillment to yourself and others (i.e. adding to the quality of your existence?)

Think carefully about your answers to the above questions.  In the final analysis, the more complete your answers and plans, the better you will be able to provide a positive answer to the question, “How many years are you going to live in retirement.?”

© Donald C. Strauss, 2010

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Article Originally Published on EzineArticles

• When her daughter leaves to meet with her business clients, Janet loves to take over watching her granddaughter and teaching her new things.
• Jack is a tinkerer and gets a kick out of using his lathes and other tools to make furniture for his friends and family.
• Bill enjoys being a mentor and coach in the “Big Brothers” organization.
• Nat often attends his son’s softball league games and feels appreciated when giving his son pointers on improving his pitching stance.
• Joyce finds it difficult but rewarding keeping up with younger women in aerobics classes.
• Rick has started a monthly 60+ age men’s networking group and enjoys the camaraderie.
• Phyllis does shopping for several seniors at a local independent living center.
• Fred attends financial planning seminars at his local community college and uses his new-found knowledge in investing in the stock market.
• Jill frequents the library and reads their periodicals on health and diets and loves trying out new recipes.

Does one need to feel fulfilled in retirement? The short answer is “Yes.” But, what one considers fulfillment is unique to each individual.

What key word stands behind all of these examples—“accomplishment.” It is the sense that one is doing something for oneself or others that makes a difference in their lives. This sense of achievement need not be substantial or significant. It need only be an activity that provides meaning to the person performing it.

If ever there is a time in one’s life to have the freedom to choose, to give happiness and a sense of achievement, it is in retirement. And, what is so appealing about seeking fulfillment is that it can be done, even if one is financially strapped. Take the illustrations above. Almost all of these examples cost no money, or very little, perhaps a small enrollment fee. What do they gain—opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others or gain the satisfaction of personal growth or self learning.

There are many individuals (and perhaps you know them) who say, “I’ll never be able to retire, as I had planned or when I had planned.” These statements, although possibly true, should not hold you hostage and promote a negative outlook. In fact, in virtually every case, retirement can be enjoyed and found to be fulfilling. Is half a loaf better than none? “You bettcha!” Everyone has some modicum of free time and retirees generally have more time and opportunity than full-time workers. Make the time, even if limited, a time for fulfillment for yourself, if not for others as well. If you won’t do it, who will?

© Donald C. Strauss, 2010

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Article Originally Published on EzineArticles

Many young people today have two impressions of retirement, i.e., that it will be “fun times of lazy, happy days and lounging around” or it will be “years of sadness filled with financial and health issues.” Neither picture is accurate and creates a false sense of what will be in store for most of us.

Retirement life has been changing rather dramatically in recent years. Charlie Davidson wrote in “In the Service of Baby Boomers: A Seismic Mind Shift for Financial Service Providers” that retirement for most of us can really be dissected into 3 stages:

Stage 1: Individuals seek fulfillment and are in good health. This phase varies in length by individual or couple, but typically lasts from several years to as many as 15 or more years. During this stage, the individual seeks to achieve many previously unfilled goals. Examples include travel, time spent visiting friends and family, attending or participating in sports events, theater and so forth and/or working full time or part time in an occupation that could be built around a passion (like consulting, writing, mentoring, or helping others.) This stage is not to the exclusion of working for a living, particularly in these tough times. Nevertheless, it typically reflects the opportunity to apply skills and competencies to new challenges that will provide fulfillment to each individual on his/her own terms.

Stage 2: This stage is earmarked by the encroachment of a sense of “been there, done that,” meaning that there is less need to travel or participate in accomplishing something, volunteering, helping others, etc. There is less a sense of having to be out and about. At this stage, the individual begins to lack the energy for big initiatives, like overseas travel, lengthy walks or hikes, hours on the golf course or a tough game of tennis. Individuals at this stage would still continue to get out, shop at the mall, head out to dinner and the theater, attend religious events and so forth, but would relegate their activities to those close to home. Spending time simply talking over a meal, watching TV, puttering around the house, reading a good book, and gardening appears to make life feel complete. Living the simple life seems to be the way to satisfaction. Continuing some exercise routines is recognized as important to maintaining one’s health, although aches and pains, more meds and eating less is reflective of this stage. Stage 2 typically lasts 10-15 years, and is often experienced by individuals in their late 70’s or early 80’s, into their late 80’s or early 90’s. Sometimes this stage arrives earlier but rarely does it last into the late 90’s.

Stage 3: This stage is often associated with how retirement used to be viewed, a time of limited activity, with some level of infirmity and/or a greater reliance on others for care and sustenance, i.e., shopping and food preparation, housekeeping, etc. Individuals tend to slow down, nap more, and find themselves living the sedentary life. They will venture out for occasional trips to see friends or relatives, the theater, attend religious services, etc. Sharing stories and observations, or recalling earlier life events, bring moments of great joy. Watching TV, playing cards, reading books and newspapers, mark the passing of one’s days. Some like to continue being creative through small woodworking or arts and crafts projects. Journaling and writing memoirs are also fulfilling at this stage of life. Certainly happiness can be found at this stage if one takes care of one’s self, or even if one needs the help of a caregiver. The simple pleasures of feeling reasonably healthy, having a pleasant day and communicating with friends and family make life worth living.

Each stage requires different funding for that lifestyle. Stage 1 requires money for travel, housing and fun. Stage 2 requires money for entertainment, medical care and maintaining one’s lifestyle. Stage 3 requires money for occasional entertainment, more medical care and possibly caregivers.

So what’s the bottom line? Life in retirement comes in phases or stages, but there is a consistency with each stage continuing to be focused on freedom of choice, fulfillment, friends and family and enjoyment. Let’s hope this is what your future holds, because, honestly, nothing could be better for each of us than to experience the full extent of all of these stages.

© Donald C. Strauss, 2010

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Article Originally Published on EzineArticles

In these challenging financial times, ever-increasing numbers of individuals
are finding it more difficult to retain their housing. Simply stated, they need to reduce their housing space and their “stuff.”

They either have to store, sell, or give away a percentage of their possessions.
What are you finding with reference to eliminating stuff yourself personally?
Are your friends and family also dealing with the need to pare down possessions?

Have you or your family or friends tried to downsize? With what result?

And, what process was employed to get rid of the “stuff” that had accumulated over the years?