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Old 10-03-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
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Posts: 26,669's review of three celebrity "retirements"

I'm not a fan of these guys. Their website simultaneously offers their retirement advice & assistance while condescedingly & patronizingly implying that we're too stupid (or insensitive) to possibly be able to make it on our own. They claim that you'll get tired of golf and you'll be so bored & unfulfilled-- unless you immediately sign up for their full-service package and learn how to design your non-retirement new lifestyle to reflect your (and your family's) personality.

I sampled their website, read a few of their trial e-mails, and ran away fast. But the e-mails keep coming, and their bad examples can actually be as educational as someone else's supportive efforts. Who knows, some of you may find exactly what you've been seeking.

Besides, I have to admit being impressed with their ability to sneak in the word "archetypal".

This material can be accessed directly by giving your e-mail address to:
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Otherwise, as they encourage, I'm sharing it with friends!
Successful Retirement: It's In The Stars

We've long said that retirement is entirely personal. Indeed, our website's core plan-building tool tailors itself to each client's personality, and generates a plan that is as individual as each and every person who uses it.

So what can we possibly learn from how celebrities handle retirement? Almost by definition, most have lived fabulous lives (give or take the occasional tabloid-inflicted bruises), not at all akin to ours. And while we like to say - and firmly believe -- that money is the fuel for a fulfilling retirement, not the destination, most celebrities don't sweat paying for that fuel in ways mere mortals do.

As it happens, there is much to glean, and to gain. For one, celebrities tend to remain in the spotlight after retiring (or moving on to a new and different career phase), providing ample evidence of success or failure, and fodder for analysis that can be generalized to the rank and file.

Their tales can be archetypal. Some shine a bright light on the elements we've identified as central to planning and enjoying a fulfilling retirement. Others sadly illustrate common retirement pitfalls, and what happens when you don't plan around them.

Submitted for your consideration, three celebrity retirement stories: Paul Newman's, Billie Jean King's, and Ed McMahon's. You may have already surmised Newman and King rate as successes, and McMahon as failure. The reasons why may come as a surprise.

Paul Newman: Self Awareness and Passion

Gaining the right kind of self awareness, staying socially connected, and pursuing new passions are central to anyone planning, and living, a good life in retirement. Paul Newman succeeds on all three counts.

Newman never lived a Hollywood lifestyle. In fact, he never lived in Hollywood for any length of time, choosing long ago to set up house in his beloved Connecticut. He seemed to have the introspective power early on to know what lifestyle he wanted - one that could provide a retreat and peace of mind.

Being part of a community means something to Newman, as the Westport neighbors with whom he's easily mixed for decades would readily attest. In retirement (at least, until recent, yet unconfirmed, reports of lung cancer), he remained deeply involved in local affairs and with his social network. That's the kind of social connection retirees of all stripes need.

Newman put his signature lack of vanity, plus an acute awareness of his career's ark, on full display in making his retirement from film official. "You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence," he recently told BBC News. "You start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."

Truth be told, Newman started moving to retirement years ago, cutting down on his film work while getting deeply involved in other things that fueled his mind, body and spirit, in quite different ways.

A film role stoked a passion in race car driving that led Newman to a top Le Mans finish as a driver, and to ownership of a successful race team. (He'd half-joke that after all his years of acting, in driving, he found something he finally felt natural doing.)

Newman deeply cares about children, and found a way to combine his love of food with a way to help those in need. He founded Newman's Own foods not to give the world another salad dressing (as good as that dressing may be), but develop a sustainable flow of funds to organizations like Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a summertime retreat for seriously ill children that Newman himself founded.

Newman provides a roadmap anyone planning for retirement can follow in knowing the right time to move on, in finding new passions that energize and challenge the body and mind, and in working hard to stay connected with those who matter most.

Billie Jean King: Retirement on the Run

Speed and grace were hallmarks of Billie Jean King's long, title-rich tennis career. The same can be said her success navigating to retirement.

King showed early evidence of planning what turned out to be her many next phases, preparing to stay relevant to the game (and community) she loved once her skills waned. In effect, King semi-retired one step at a time, delving into issues meaningful to her like gender equality, pay parity for athletes and female athletes' rights to unionize.

Somewhat akin to Newman, each step King took toward planning for playing career's end kept her mentally challenged, and supported groups important to her: the tennis and broader sports communities.

While still active on the pro circuit, King took on a leadership role in the Virginia Slims tour, which brought real money to female tennis players (beyond an elite few) for the first time. Her advocacy while still competing ably is more typical of an over-the-hill status athlete trying to cash out big while still hanging on. It exemplifies King's visionary planning style and a sense that legacy mattered to her, even as a younger woman.

The same can be said for King's role in helping found (and later, in leading) World Team Tennis, an arena-sized play to capitalize on tennis's huge popularity in the ґ70s. She loved her sport, and seemed to be trying to find a way to grow and sustain it far beyond her own playing years.

When King's body finally could not keep pace with her will to win, she successfully transitioned to coaching. In the mid-1990s, King became captain of the United States Fed Cup team and coach of its women's Olympic tennis squad. She guided the U.S. to the Fed Cup championship in 1996, and helped three players capture Olympic gold.

More recently, King has advocated for gay rights, coming to grips with her sexuality publicly and inspirationally, after long resenting being "outed" years ago.

King teaches retirees-in-planning how transition can take place incrementally, over time, and how you can modify pursuit a lifelong passion to suit new circumstances and life stages. And along the way, how staying hungry physically and mentally has the power to sustain.

Ed McMahon: A Tale of Two Retirements

Even if you've been a "one company" guy or gal your whole working life, you can probably look back and see distinct phases of your career. Some owed to promotions, others to relocation or other shifts. More subtly, insights and experience you gained that made you more effective may have ushered in other periods.

Retirement, especially for a generation expected to live 25 years or more after leaving work, is no different. Retirement is dynamic. We may well experience two or three distinct "retirements," each with its own set of opportunities and challenges. They key is planning each post-career phase with the care and self awareness you'll bring to planning the first one.

Ed McMahon tells the unfortunate story of someone who failed to do that. His is a tale of two clear-cut retirements: one successful, the other troubled.

Like King, McMahon got off to a running start, parlaying his fame into a hosting gig on American Idol-prototype Star Search, even while still serving as Johnny Carson's sidekick. He co-hosted TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes on NBC, among other high-profile work in the twilight, of and soon after, his Tonight Show career.

While McMahon's current mortgage-related difficulties are financial in nature, they can be traced to a lack of broader life planning. Unlike Newman, McMahon didn't know when to call it quits and move on, even as a semi-retiree. There is no evidence that McMahon identified any passions outside of a profession that, unfortunately, often doesn't treat its aging members gently.

We can't know if McMahon continues to work because he gains fulfillment from it, because he plain needs the money, or both. Either way, bit parts in box-office failures like 2005's Bewitched don't produce A-list-size paydays, nor can they provide a sense of real accomplishment.

McMahon serves as a sobering example of retirement's dynamic nature, and for how a fast and fortuitous start doesn't necessarily make for sustained success. It reminds us of the importance of healthy introspection in planning a retirement- the kind Newman seems to possess -- and that tells us it's time for something new.


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Old 10-03-2008, 05:07 PM   #2
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"You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence," he recently told BBC News. "You start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me."
First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zip up and finally, you forget to pull it down." (George Burns.)
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