| WASHINGTON, April 23
WASHINGTON, April 23 By the time you are nearing
the pre-retirement years, you've probably heard all that
nose-to-the-grindstone advice hundreds of times: Work longer.
Cinch the belt tighter. Plow as much as possible into your
401(k) because you might live to be 100 and you'll need that
Yes, but what if? As in, what if you are impatient to start
doing some of that travel you planned to do when you retire?
What if you don't want to defer the tennis lessons or
woodworking shop or multi-generational family trip until you are
70? What if you don't expect to live forever?
That conflict - live for today, plan for tomorrow - is said
to be the central challenge of life. Rhythm and blues singer
Drake solves it in "The Real Her" with the lyrics: "Party
tonight." But surprisingly, so do some financial industry
experts. Most notably, those from fund and 401(k) company T.
Rowe Price Group Inc.
The company has created a new publicity campaign called
"practice retirement" through which it is urging baby boomers to
keep working, but to start spending more on pre-retirement fun,
even if it means they have to stint on retirement plan
"Delay the date, but not the gratification" of retirement,
said Christine Fahlund, a senior financial planner for the
Fahlund's approach is based on T. Rowe Price research that
shows the following: Stopping work early or starting to take
Social Security benefits early can really sap income from the
later years of retirement. But cutting back on retirement
contributions in the later years of work is far less damaging.
And those fun activities may be more affordable while you're
still working. Consider Pat Killian Vesperman, a senior analyst
with Verizon in Mahwah, New Jersey, who, at 59, is starting to
segue into retirement with more real-estate scouting travel, and
treating herself to some fun along the way. She knows her budget
will probably require a move away from the costly New York
suburbs when she does retire, but that hasn't stopped her from
sharing season tickets to the Yankees with her daughter while
"Having gone through breast cancer nine years ago, the one
thing I would like is to learn a little more about getting the
most out of today. I don't look as far ahead as other people
So Vesperman spends vacations scouting for her retirement
home in places like San Antonio, Texas, and Tampa, Florida.
She's not in a particular hurry to retire; she thinks she would
enjoy moving to a cheaper and warmer clime and keeping her
position for a while.
Here are some more ideas about how to have the fun now
without blowing through the resources you need for later.
-- Don't quit your day job. That is the key to the T. Rowe
Price approach. Giving up income and benefits AND starting
Social Security will set you back, so plan to keep working if
-- Consider less work. AARP rewards its older workers with a
pre-retirement schedule, says Gabrielle Redford, editorial
projects manager for AARP The Magazine. If you can't work part
time, maybe you can at least squeeze an extra week or two of
vacation out of your employer. Even if you have to use a few
weeks of unpaid leave, that can get you the time for a special
trip without really setting back your long-term plan.
-- Do some retirement adventures now. Think about the
special trips you are putting off until retirement and try to
figure out whether they are do-able now. It might just take some
creative planning to start knocking off your bucket list early.
International Living magazine is hosting a contest that will
afford one winner a one-month free 'retirement test drive" in
Nicaragua, for example. ().
Why not take the anniversary cruise or three-week European
sublet while you are on vacation, instead of waiting until
you've finished work?
-- Use pre-retirement to set the stage for post-retirement
fun. If you want to golf in retirement, buy your clubs, your pro
lessons and your course membership while you can afford them.
Buy the camera, the high-end sewing machine, the fitness
equipment, the power tools or the boat before you give up your
paycheck. With apologies to those who sell mutual funds,
consider it a retirement investment.
-- Scout out the future. Like Vesperman, you can take your
vacations where you expect to retire. That doesn't just give you
the fun of a vacation, it lets you drop into your next stage to
see if you like it. After all, it's better to know that before
you hand in your resignation, post that "for sale" sign and do
something really permanent.