Retirement and the American Dream

Ah, the American Dream!

In essence the dream is that anyone who has a goal and works hard can make it. Both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney talked about the American Dream on the campaign trail, but according to a recent survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies American workers have been shaken by the realities of the Great Recession and have had to adjust their ideas about retirement. The Center surveyed more than 3,600 American workers and found that the majority of workers plan to work past age 65 (56 percent)

“If you plan to work after retirement there are many options open to you,” says David Lerner, CEO of David Lerner Associates. “Perhaps you love the job you do and would like to continue in that field.  Or maybe you would like to work at a less-stressful job, or one that has more personal meaning to you.  Many seniors have gone back to school so that they could work in a new field they’ve always dreamed about.”

Five questions you should ask:

1. What does your spouse think about it?  Don’t make a decision this important without discussing it with your spouse. Talk it through together and try to come up with a compromise that makes you both happy.

2. Can you scale back from full-time to part-time in your current job? A gradual transition into retirement makes sense for many people who aren’t quite ready to retire full-time on day one.

3. Can you find a part-time job doing something you truly enjoy or are passionate about?  Of course, you can volunteer to help out charities or other causes you believe in, but also ask them if they might have any paid part-time positions available. The same goes for hobbies or recreational activities you enjoy; for example, many country clubs hire retirees to work as golf course rangers or in the pro shop.

4. If you’re self-employed, can you gradually start reducing your workload?   One of the great things about self-employment is the flexibility it gives you to work as much or as little as you want (assuming you’re financially secure).

5. If you own a business, can you sell it and stay on part-time?   Purchasers of closely held businesses often welcome the presence of the selling owner for a set period of time after the sale, since it can help the transition go more smoothly for both customers and employees.

“We believe in the American worker,” says David Lerner.  “Even in these economic times people still hope to be able to enjoy life once they have worked hard for 30 years. We feel a sensible approach to investing can help people to achieve that.”

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