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Portfolio Channel

A Prescription to Ease your Retirement Anxiety

Wed, Oct 22, 8:04 AM ET, by Heather Pelant, BlackRock

Do names matter? According to Shakespeare, ''A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'' Yet as Romeo and Juliet tragically discover, names can make a big difference - and the wrong one may carry a whiff of something unpleasant.

Take the word ''retire.'' If you look it up in the dictionary, you will learn that it means: ''to withdraw from action or retreat; to move back or recede; to conclude a professional career''. No wonder retirement makes many of us anxious. It's the 60's-something company man in the blue suit leaving his office with a small box of belongings and a new wristwatch. Glaringly absent from this gloomy definition is the part about transitioning to fulfill your dream or passion, the start of a new and exciting chapter in your life - one that you've been planning and saving toward for years.

If your vision of retirement is a guy with a watch, I have a few suggestions for reframing - and renaming — it.

Write your story. When I worked with clients, we talked about retirement by painting a picture of what they wanted their life and career transitions to look like. Everybody has a personal story. Whether it's starting a business or taking a month long vacation, the first step to preparing for your future goal is knowing what it is. You can try this retirement tool to help you build your vision.

Refocus your emotions and passions. It can be difficult to equate this morning's skipped latte to something worth a lot more to you a decade from now. The same goes for tuning out market noise, as I wrote about in a previous Blog post. But focusing on what you're saving for will make you less likely to be influenced by distractions, and more willing to make sacrifices today for a bigger reward tomorrow.

Break it down. Investing for a life stage that's going to last for 20 or 30 years can be overwhelming. But it's all about taking small, manageable steps. Take advantage of that employee match, max out your 401(k) contributions with automatic deductions, talk to your spouse about your vision for retirement: Utilize any resource at your disposal to that will help you save and lay the groundwork for a successful life transition.

What are some of the ways you stay focused on your retirement goals? I'd love for you to share your stories with us.

 

Heather Pelant is Head of Personal Investing for BlackRock. She is a regular contributor toThe Blogand you can find more of her postshere.

 

©2014 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES and BLACKROCK are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc., or its subsidiaries. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

 

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