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Step 5: Network Through Social Media and Other Methods

You need to build and maintain your network even in retirement. Use networking opportunities to showcase your talents. It's OK to brag about yourself to those who might help you fulfill your retirement dreams.

Include a networking strategy in your retirement plan. It may involve spending an hour a day on Twitter or LinkedIn "conversing" with people who share your skills and interests, or starting a morning meetup group at a local coffee shop to discuss ideas with other soon-to-be retirees. Such strategies will build relationships that in turn can grow your network. Also, be prepared to have clear, direct answers to such questions as "How can you use your talents and experience to contribute part time to an organization or cause?" The more socially active you are — online and offline — the more opportunities you are likely to create for yourself.


Step 6: Decide How Much You Want (or Need) to Work

This is the classic cost-benefit equation: Unless you are financially set for life, you will have to either stretch limited money and give up some retirement dreams or stay in the workforce (in some capacity) to help pay for those dreams. As you write down your retirement goals, take into consideration how much work is necessary.

In the previous step, you were encouraged to look at your interests. But you should consider your lifestyle and preferences, too. "Work" will mean different things to different people in retirement. Either way, to ensure you successfully reach your goals, you'll have to decide how much time you want (or need) to spend at a job. Don't wait until after retirement to make the decision. Weigh right now the pros and cons of working — including how many hours per week. The sooner you get comfortable with this decision, the more secure you will be in your retirement planning.

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