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Invest in retirement planning

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Monday, December 13, 2010
Posted: 3 pm ET

My husband and I went to the Army-Navy game last weekend. One of the first of what I hope will be many adventures as he segues from working full time to a part-time, semi-retired schedule.

The stands were full of the proud family members of cadets and midshipmen, plus a host of veterans who still care about the outcome of service academy football.

Halftime entertainment included a skydiving exhibition by both Army and Navy experts. The vet sitting next to me spent the whole show urging me to give skydiving a try. "You're not too old. Age doesn't matter," he insisted.

Skydiving lessons aren't included in my retirement planning, and he was right, age doesn't have anything to do with it. Skydiving scared me silly 40 years ago.

But my skydiving friend did make a good point, says Eleanor Blayney, consumer advocate for Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. She believes a retirement plan should include enough resources to allow for a little experimentation as we move into a stage of life that offers more time to reinvent ourselves.

Here's some of her sage advice for anyone approaching retirement:

  • Understand Social Security. Knowing everything there is to know about Social Security will help ensure that you get the most from your benefits.
  • Look beyond pretty pictures. Investigate all aspects of the new locale before you make a retirement move to a new community -- especially a retirement community. Making a mistake could be expensive.
  • Bump up your social capital. Build and use your social networks to rekindle old friendships, meet new people and try new activities.  Investigate the services that are offered to seniors in your community.
  • Devote some time and effort to investing your assets. Get expert help, but also understand what your adviser is doing with your money.
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