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Redefining retirement
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Anyway, the book is great navel-fuzz material. The authors don't focus on how to fund retirement, but rather on values and ideals. How do your goals and dreams fit in with your overall financial situation? In the first two chapters, you take inventory of your personal situation, assessing the need for balance between work, family, fitness, hobbies and home, and determining how you wish to spend your time. It's an opportunity to explore, with quizzes and questions that help boomers figure out their desires, along with a practical timeline for them to fill out.

The rest of the book is a compendium of 150 ways to spend your time and envision the possibilities. It's a listing of potential adventures.

Some require no money, but an investment of time: Volunteer at the senior center and make a difference in someone's life. Explore your spirituality at temple, in church, at a sacred shrine. Take a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Go to court and witness our system of justice firsthand. Help the elderly stay in their homes by delivering meals or taking them to doctors' appointments. Each idea comes with cost estimates, if applicable, and a list of Web sites where you can get more information.

Other ideas can be quite costly: Take flying lessons. Buy a farm or winery. See the Great Wall of China. Buy a second home. (Disclosure: Bankrate is mentioned on Page 60 as a resource for the idea of buying a second home.) Go to Moscow, Rome, Vienna, Athens. Color photos accompany tantalizing text.

Did these authors have an ulterior motive in writing this book? Well, it is written by two guys who are deeply entrenched in the financial industry. Costs are a significant component of the book. And there is a recurring theme in the book: "You get what you plan for."

I think it serves as a preview of how sweet freedom might be tomorrow if you make it a priority to plan for it today. Or to loosely paraphrase Socrates, an unplanned retirement is hardly one at all.

If you have a comment or suggestion about this column, write to Boomer Bucks.'s corrections policy -- Posted: March 22, 2006
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