My Next Phase Review
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When you’re advised that you have to plan for retirement, you may automatically blurt out “Well, I contribute to my 401k,” or “I have a financial planner.” But have you planned emotionally for this life change? Do you have any idea of what you want to do, and are you sure that it fits your personality?

My Next Phase: The Personality-Based Guide to Your Best Retirement explains that a successful retirement depends on fully understanding one’s needs and character traits. You must find out what gives you emotional fulfillment before you consider retiring.

In addition to a sound financial plan, the book details the five keys to a successful retirement: a plan, a passion, physical exercise, mental challenge, and social connection.

But how do you get there? The authors provide a step-by-step process for creating a personal retirement plan. Possibly the most beneficial part of the book is a series of quizzes that will help you determine which of your personality traits are most critical to success in retirement: social needs (outgoing vs. contemplative), tolerance for stress (responsive vs. resilient), activity style (independent vs. interdependent), information style, (practical vs. visionary), outlook (optimistic vs. cautious), decision style (analytical vs. empathetic), and planning style (structured vs. flexible). Of course, you’ll probably fall in the middle on many of these. But, based on your scores, the authors interpret your individual needs and personality traits. I found these quizzes to be especially revealing.

The authors also supply specific examples of people with certain traits and how they’ve affected their decisions on retirement. These include those who have been forced out of work, those who are retiring by choice, and even stay-at-home moms who are soon to face an “empty nest.” Many have also realized how much fulfillment comes from their work, and they must find a way to replace it or maybe even postpone leaving.

The book doesn’t stop there. It includes how to brainstorm options, narrow them down, and how to proceed from there. Think you know all of the elements of what you need, but can’t quite put your finger on it? An extensive “Resource” chapter follows, with web sites that may be of interest, such as friendship clubs, volunteer organizations, travel, self-development, and more. .

My Next Phase is a comprehensive guide to the part of retirement planning that’s seldom looked at. You probably know of some retirees who approached this stage as one long vacation as opposed to a complete life change, and thus they feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled. This book steers you away from that path. It takes you through concrete steps to retirement planning and explains them thoroughly. I admire its pragmatic approach to self-discovery and decision-making. Yes, you should stay on top of your financial plan—but you should also pick up this book to plan for your next phase.

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