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The Non-Retirement Retirement

Question: I’ve lost nearly half my money in the past month and now retirement looks like a long way off. What am I supposed to do now? --Jack, PA

Answer: Jack, like a lot of folks you will have to probably delay retirement. I know it’s not what you want to hear but it is what it is. Let me ask you, why do you want to retire? Do you hate your job? Do you dislike your company or boss? Have you lost your passion for the type of work you do? Or are you just tired and need a break?

Last year I surveyed over 5,000 baby boomers when I was working on my book Retire in a Weekend!. Interestingly, I found that most do not want to retire in the traditional sense. Many people desire to keep working to earn an income well past traditional age, but they want to switch careers, change companies or start their own business. So let me ask you: if money wasn’t an issue, would you continue doing what you’re doing? If you answer YES, then you love what you do and you’re playing. However, if you answer NO, then you should start exploring other opportunities and figure out what you love to do.

I’m a firm believer that your life should be about playing and fun. The activities you participate in, including your work, should provide satisfaction and fulfillment. More importantly, the work and activities you participate in should be things you’re passionate about and things that energize you.

You can’t control the markets, interest rates and the government. At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control. So stop being angry. It’s not doing you any good. Perhaps this financial crisis is an opportunity to reevaluate your life and change gears. Maybe it’s the wake up call you (and America) needed.

Bill’s Bottom Line: You’re ability to earn an income is your greatest asset! When you do what you love, work is play. When you can earn an income from doing what you love, why would you ever retire? Ponder that!

Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is the resident retirement planning expert on CNBC’s “On the Money”. He has been named one of America’s Top Financial Planners and is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Making Work Optional. He also publishes Retirement Intelligence, a free weekly award-winning newsletter. Bill can be reached online at www.MyRetirementSuccess.com.