#retirement bust YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ALL SET, BUT …

History may judge the years 2007 to 2012, give or take a few years on either end, as the retirement bust years.
People not only lost jobs just before they were about to retire, but also their pensions shrank.
People who thought they were all set for retirement, with a nice, promised pension, got a rude awakening. The monthly benefit on their retirement documentation shrunk considerably.
It was a combination of the economy tanking, and companies contributing less, if anything at all, to their retirement accounts. Added to that, the stock market , which supports most retirement accounts, took a big tumble. The bottom fell out of thenNet worth of everything – companies and individuals.
Even the savviest investor could not prevent what happened in those years, short of taking his money out of the financial markets ahead of time. Any investor who withdraws completely is probably not that savvy. Savvy investors take the ups and downs of the market as an expectation, though no one expected what happened in those years.
So the question becomes not whom to blame for the mess. There’s plenty of blame to be spread around among Wall Street, government and, yes, individual decisions. But blaming wastes energy that should be focused on recovery.
We all have had to rethink retirement. Some of us have told ourselves we have to work until we die. Some of those folks may have other alternatives, but they are not seeing them.
Certainly, some of us have said we have to work past the age we thought we were going to retire. That’s fine if you are in good health personally. But don’t think for a minute that your job will be there for as long as you want it. Companies reorganize drastically and often. The younger generation of workers, when they retire, may brag about how many reorgs they survived, just as the older generation is thankful for the steady work they had.
Speaking of young people, they may want to think twice about ASSUMING they will survive every reorg. It’s great to believe, or even be told, how good you are at what you do and how your employer cannot possibly live without you.
But, you can’t always see into the future. The world changes quickly. Companies are constantly looking at ways to work more efficiently. Lots of good people have lost jobs they expected to have for as long as they wanted to work.
How do we avoid the instinct to cast blame and rethink retirement? First, work on you. Make sure you have a good and optimistic attitude. Remember, those who innovate are usually optimists. It’s tough to see the future properly without believing that all, eventually, will be good.
Secondly, think about the things you DON’T like to do – things that make you “uncomfortable,” or so you believe. Give them a try. Then, try them again, and again etc. This will take you out of your comfort zone, where you may have to go, eventually, to survive.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to look at something different. The people who lament that they thought they were all set, are many of the same people who tell themselves, “oh, I couldn’t possibly do THAT!”
There are many ways to fight this. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. If you leave your comfort zone to look at something new, you may lose the instinct to cast blame for your troubles, and find a way out.
This may not be your dad’s way to retire, but the world has changed. We need to be part of our own solutions, rather than focusing on how we got into trouble.
Think of it this way: the federal government bails out some companies because innocent people would get hurt if they didn’t. But they won’t bail you out as an individual if you get hurt. You have to bail yourself out. You might not only bail yourself out, but prosper in many ways in the process.
Peter

GREATEST FOUR-LETTER WORD

Jim Fannin has a favorite four-letter word.
No, there’s nothing vulgar about it, but he uses it with everyone he advises or coaches.
He discusses it at length in his book “Pebble In The Shoe.”
No matter what you have done – good thing or bad – you should always think of this word.
The word forces you not to rest on your laurels when you’ve done something good. It brightens your future when you do something bad. It allows you to correct mistakes, or proceed to add successes.
It doesn’t allow you to wallow, or over-celebrate. As certain as tomorrow follows today, the word ensures your future.
Love is a marvelous four-letter word, but that’s not what Fannin was thinking. Hate is an awful four-letter word, but that didn’t cross his mind either.
His four-letter word, which he uses to encourage after a failure, or curb enthusiasm after a success, is NEXT.
Think of the Disney World ads after the Super Bowl. Whoever the star of the game was gets asked what he’ll do next, now that he’s won the Super Bowl: “I am going to Disney World,” he says.
But the real “next” for that athlete is next year. You see, very few teams have gone to the Super Bowl in consecutive years. But that is always the goal. What will he have to do to get there? Certainly, after his trip to Disney World, he will begin thinking about it, and taking the necessary action to return to the Super Bowl.
In the National Football League, it’s tough to sustain that kind of success year after year. You might have the same people on the team, but injuries, age and other factors enter into play. The team might still be good the next year, but the other teams are even more motivated to beat them.
In sports, there is always “next” season.
Sometimes, life throws us curve balls. Even though they are hard to hit, we keep swinging. Success is not about taking what comes, it’s about dealing with what comes in the best way you know now. If you swing and miss, it’s OK. The “next” pitch might be a fastball down the middle, or another curve. Eventually, you’ll get a hit, even though it may not happen as often as you’d like.
Perhaps you’ll get a couple of consecutive hits. Great. Now, you look forward to that next pitch. You don’t sit on the bench and say, I’m done, or I’m out. You keep swinging.
A few types of mistakes can cost dearly. Most, however, are easily forgotten the “next” day.
The “next” day is a whole new turn at bat. Relish it, whether you struck out or hit a home run the day before.
If you are looking for new and different pitches to hit, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You will learn the value of “next.” You’ll know that you can’t mess up so badly for so long that you won’t ever succeed. You’ll learn not to quit.
If you have something good, stay with it. Your “next” may be awhile in coming, or it may come tomorrow. If you need something good, keep looking. Your “next” is out there. You may not recognize it immediately, but eventually it will come to light if you keep looking for it.
N-E-X-T is a great four-letter word. Use it as a guide. It guarantees a future for you.
Peter