Introduction to Retire Better Blog

Are you in your 50’s or 60’s and hoping to retire sometime in the not too distant future?   Do you have enough resources to produce the income you will need to continue living at your current standard of living for the rest of your life?  Have you calculated how much you will need if you live into your 80’s or 90’s?  I have!  My name is James Vickers and I’ve spent the past five years working on the answers to these questions and many more like them.  The statistics tell us that most people reaching retirement age in the next ten years are not financially prepared to retire comfortably.  Most are nowhere close, but take heart.  There are answers for this dilemma.

Our Changes

Take a moment or two to think back over some of the major changes that have occurred in just your lifetime.  There certainly have been many beneficial changes that have given us a better standard of living.  Advances in innovation and technology have provided for better health and a longer life.  We have gained greater access to everything.  Computers, cell phones, electronic devices and the internet have greatly increased our productivity.  It’s hard to remember what it was like to live without these things and many more like them.

By the same token, there have also been a bunch of adverse changes that have reduced our standard of living.  Ironically, many of the positive advances have also ushered in some of our greatest challenges today.  For example, the communication advances that were made possible by the internet and fiber-optic cable are a major cause of our job losses to other countries.  New drugs and medical devices have improved the quality of our health but have also had a big part in driving up the cost of health-care.  On balance, how have good or bad changes like these affected your expectations for the quality of your approaching retirement years?

Our Purpose

The purpose of our Retire Better Blog is to examine the impact these kind of changes have had on our retirement expectations, particularly for those of us in our 50’s and 60’s.  We will look for ways we can make our retirement better.  Who doesn’t want to live a better life in their retirement?

So what would you like your life beyond 66 to look like?  What are you doing now in order to live those years to their fullest?  I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to more travel and the chance to do the things I’ve never had the time for before.  If you have a list of retirement activities you are looking forward to, spend some time thinking about why you want them to be a part of your life.  Are your plans important enough for you to spend some time and energy now working to achieve them?

Our Expectations

Are you hopeful that you will be able to live the lifestyle you want when your time comes?  Rising healthcare costs, collapsing real estate values and the financial melt-down are only a few of the serious threats to the plans of many approaching their 66th birthday.  For many of us, there just isn’t enough time left to save our way out of our retirement shortfall.  We need to save all we can, but we should also be aware that there are additional  steps we can take beyond saving.  Some of them may be unconventional, but when you’re running out of time, creative approaches are often necessary.  Most of us have spent years thinking that saving  is how you prepare but I’ve discovered that you have to take a multi-pronged approach when you’ve run out of time.

Our Plan

It’s our hope that the ideas and strategies we share here will truly enable all of us to create a better retirement for ourselves.  I use the word “share” because I mean it.  I’ve spent the past five years doing the research and study that will form the basis of this blog, but I’m the first to acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers.  What will make the information we find here truly valuable will be the contributions and perspectives that each of us provide.  The challenges we face are huge, but take courage.  Be encouraged!  There are answers that will enable us to retire better.  And by all means, enjoy the journey!