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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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A wealth of information about combining work with social purpose is available at Encore.org, which is published by Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank. Founder Marc Freedman also is co-founder of Experience Corps, a nonprofit national service program for Americans over 55, and the Purpose Prize, awarded to social innovators over 60. He wrote Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life.

Advice also is available from an army of financial planners, coaches and consultants marketing services to the 78 million-member baby boom generation.

“People who recognize they will be retiring at some point and plan for it do very well,” says Jeffrey D. Redmond, partner and director of Boston-based New Directions. “Those who don’t plan have, at least for some period of years, a pretty difficult transition.”

New Directions popularized the concept of managing a “life portfolio” of pursuits that reflect assets, values and goals at different stages of life. Preparing for retirement is no different. Portfolio Life, The New Path to Work Purpose and Passion after 50 is by New Directions founder David Corbett with Richard Higgins.

“Take an organized and thoughtful approach,” Redmond says, by asking questions such as, “How do I need to be seen in my next life? Do I need to be seen as a primary spokesperson? Am I happy being a senior resource? Do I prefer to be around an organization, or a more solitary environment? How much structure do I need in my daily life?”

Financial planner and author George Kinder explains in a video why he asks these three questions to help clients plan: If you had all the money you needed, how would you change your life? If you discovered you had five to 10 years to live, what would you do differently? If you were told you had only 24 hours to live, ask yourself, What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?

For more pragmatic questions, consult My Next Phase, The Personality-Based Guide to Your Best Retirement by Eric Sundstrom, Randy Burnham and Michael Burnham. The book and programs help clients prepare for retirement based on a series of quizzes assessing how they socialize, plan, gather information, make decisions and handle stress.

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