Archive for Retirement Coaching


Insightful New Year Resolutions

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As January rolls around, I am reminded of the Roman God Janus, who is depicted with two heads, facing in opposite directions.  He is said to have the ability to look forward and backward at the same time, which is why he is designated as the guardian of gates, doors, bridges and pathways.  He symbolizes the gift of seeing the past and the future to ensure safe and smooth transitions.  Hence we have his namesake of January as the beginning of every year or janitor as the watchdog of the grounds.  


Janus provides us with a valuable lesson as we set our resolutions for 2009.  Before we look ahead toward what is desired in the months to come, we first need to look back and take into account what we have learned about ourselves in the past 12 months.  A survey done by the University of Washington found that 65% of those who made resolutions at the end of the year did so without proper thought and circumspection.  This is a formula for failure and why so many people forego their good intentions.


Successful resolutions are those that are sustained by a full personal commitment to change.  This commitment is a result of a thoughtful and honest assessment of the past; especially noticing our patterns from previous derailed tasks and projects.  To avoid repeating these mistakes, take the time to review your successes and failures.  Ask yourself why you lost focus and how you could do better.  Identify the people who have had a positive impact on your growth and those who stood in your path.  Welcome the opportunity to learn from your challenges and develop an “insightful” resolution where you’ll find success this time next year.  Be assured 2009 will come and go without you taking one tiny baby step toward your goals.  So why not make the most of this coming year?  Hold the vision that next January you’ll be celebrating your successfully accomplished resolutions and ready to set even loftier heights in 2010.  


Action Steps for Success  


Below are a few probing questions I ask my clients to help them construct their list of resolutions. To ensure your success, identify realistic and specific goals, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.  At least one or more should stretch your wildest dreams!  

  • What values are paramount to my happiness?  How can I weave those values into my life this year?
  • If I had to create a file for 2008 to store in my file cabinet, what label would I give it for future reference?  What can I learn from this label and how does it affect my personal growth?
  • In what ways was 2008 good for me?  Where did my life flourish?  When was I the happiest?  What do I want to repeat or…….leave behind?
  • What moments were the darkest for me in 2008?  How can I avoid recreating those experiences again?  What outcome did I realize from those challenges?
  • What am I most proud of in 2008?  Did I celebrate my accomplishments?  If not, when will I? 

I encourage you to adopt Janus’ bifocal view and get a strong grasp of what you want to accomplish.  Please contact me at, if you need assistance in drafting your personal list of resolutions.

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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Non-Traditional Gift Giving

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  What if Christmas*, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” … Dr. Seuss

 *Whatever guides your spirituality…Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza 


Let’s face it.  Dr. Seuss says it best with his playful yet poignant messages geared for children of all ages.  This thoughtful quote is particularly appropriate as we prepare for the holidays. Yes, tis the season to buy gifts.  But consider going beyond the traditional furry slippers, red tie and toy train set to support one of your favorite causes. Below are three options I found that could make your shopping list more meaningful.   

1.  A Gift of Time
This requires no money but rather a gift of your time.  Surely someone on your list can use your help to tackle a project.  Think of what skills you have that would aid another in completing some task that is too challenging for them alone.  Can you help someone with their computer based on your technical expertise, can you run errands for a housebound relative, are you good at organizing a kitchen to make it more efficient or could you bake a hot loaf of bread for a favorite neighbor?  Just ask if there is a project they’d like help with instead of a traditional gift.  You’ll be surprised at how this gesture makes the person feel so cared for while deepening your relationship! 
By the way, if you have some tasks that continue to mount or seem impossible to complete, then why not take the first step and ask your relative or friend if they’d consider helping you instead of the usual gift exchange.  I know of one family, who just by asking their kids had a much-needed fence built while they were all home over the holidays.  What a gift!
2.  A Gift of Appreciation 
Our troops have left their families, friends, jobs and school to defend our nation’s freedom around the world.  I am so grateful for their service, dedication and unbelievable sacrifice.  If you feel similarly, you can express your gratitude by logging onto one of the following sites and easily connect to a soldier who is celebrating their holiday far from home.  The American Red Cross is a lifeline for deployed military members, supporting them in all aspects of their service on the front and when they return. If money is an issue, you can still express your gratitude.  Just send a free virtual holiday card by logging on to America Supports You.  Look on the sidebar for Thank the Troops. Your message will be forwarded to one of those brave soldiers who are missing their loved ones. Every word of hope and best wishes means so much, even from strangers. 
3.  A Gift of Charity 
Changing The Present is a non-profit group that offers gifts that change the world.  I am so impressed with this organization that I chose it for my gift to honor all my clients.  This site has a wide variety of causes that make a difference in the world no matter what your favorite charity is.  It is very simple to give this way, and they will send the recipient a card announcing your gift.  
The holidays are not as much about opening our presents as they are really about opening our hearts.  I hope you’ll find your way to think “outside the box”.

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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Giving It Away

Posted by: Barbara | Comments (0)

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing.  We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
….Norman MacEwan, decorated military officer and philosopher

I had the distinct pleasure of spending the weekend with my four-year-old granddaughter Meggie.  As usual we played and sang, read books and took our walk to collect nature’s best leaves, rocks and such.  While out we stopped in the toy store, and I asked Meggie what gift she might like?  She went right to the model animals and picked out two “bootiful black horses” that magically could talk with one another!  Watching her imagine the interplay between the horses and the delight with her new possessions, truly made my day.  For this very small investment, both Meggie and I gained a lot of pleasure!
I’m reminded that people approaching retirement often equate their level of happiness with money.  They believe if only they had “X” amount of dollars then their life would be better. True, money can be a tool to bring happiness, but it isn’t a guarantee!  I bet you know people with a substantial amount of money, who feel bereft and unfulfilled in their life, as well as those with very few assets who find great abundance and happiness! 
Research has shown that after one has enough money to cover the three basics….food, clothing, and shelter, there is really no assurance that more money will increase their happiness quotient.  In spite of our nation’s increased wealth in the last fifty years, more money hasn’t made us happier or particularly healthier either.  As a matter of fact, for some it may even have had a reverse effect by creating more stress and materialism than with previous generations.
What IS notable about happiness and money is how you spend it!  Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Harvard designed studies to determine what effect money had on happiness.  One study examined how employees of a particular company spent their bonuses.  They observed that employees who spent all or some of their money in service to others, experienced more happiness than those who didn’t.  They also found that spending as little as $5.00 a day in a pro-social way significantly increased one’s happiness.   The lesson here is simple… increase your happiness quotient when you spend money on someone else!  That’s right, when you “give it away,” you experience a greater sense of satisfaction than when you spend it on yourself. 
While I am not suggesting you give away your assets, I am encouraging this… when you ponder what to buy next to lift your spirits, remember that if you give a portion of that money to someone or something else, you’ll be left with a more satisfying, longer lasting gift than those extras for yourself! 
Now I’m not sure how long Meggie’s two horses will survive the rigors of a four-year-old’s world, but as for the happy feeling it generated for me…. well, it will be a long and treasured memory!

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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The Many Faces of Retirement in 2008

Posted by: Barbara | Comments (0)


The other day at a new friend’s garden party I was chatting with other guests and someone asked me what I did for a living.  I said, “I’m a retirement coach,” and they were thoroughly puzzled.  “What is that?” they asked.  When I responded that I help people plan their retirement from a lifestyle point of view, they quickly piped in and said, “I never intend to retire or at least not retire for a very long time!”  Another answered, “I am not going to do anything when I retire.  Nope, no plans for me!  I just want to hang out!” 


Well, retirement today can have many faces.  You can call it anyway you want: work, not work, volunteer, travel, family, mentor, or a whole other career.  It is your canvas to paint as you like.  But this is certain, no matter what your choice you must give thought to how this plays out.  If left unexamined, the expected life span of an additional 15, 20, or even 30 years is a very long time to go idly by.


I get calls from people who think a meandering retirement is what they want, but then they find out that life isn’t that fulfilling when you are just coasting along. You loose a sense of purpose and each day is like the one before. This clueless group flounders from one thing to another, searching for their right formula to bring happiness, satisfaction and meaning. The “face” of their retirement is formless and shallow. On the other hand, I have clients, who become crystal clear about their retirement and how they want to spend this life phase. For these folks, who take the time to carefully plan their retirement years, working or not, their future reaps rich, specific and ideal rewards!


Enjoy each day,


Categories : Retirement Coaching
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A Tribute to Tim Russert

Posted by: Barbara | Comments (6)

“Go get ‘em, kid” … Tim Russert

I’ve lost a great friend! I suppose many of you, like I, feel the loss of Tim Russert, who died suddenly last Friday at age 58. Over the weekend I immersed myself in the media coverage of his life and the legend he is leaving behind. His loss feels so personal to me. Perhaps because on Sunday morning part of my weekly ritual was to watch him moderate Meet the Press, usually before I got out of bed and started my day. He was like a friend visiting my home bringing with him the week’s newsworthy events. He was my “political” coach and guide.

My reaction is beyond what I would have imagined over the loss of a TV celebrity. Why has his death had such an overwhelming impact on me? Perhaps it was because Tim possessed qualities that engendered a feeling of connection, warmth, truth and trust! His smile and genuineness beckoned feelings of closeness and warmth. No matter how tough his guests were, Tim was a gentleman, fair, to the point and authentic. He got the job done with great skill, hard work and always remained professional. It was clear he loved his job, his family, and the American people. Tim’s vitality is inspiring and his ability to navigate the wide political spectrum, a tribute to his character.

I will never approach the greatness of Tim Russert, but I do hope one day when people remember me, that some of his same qualities will cross their minds. I yearn to reach what can be my fullest potential. I see every day as an opportunity for me to tweak and adjust my life to its utmost. But to do this I need to be aware of those areas where I can still stretch and grow. Tim Russert, thank you. You’ve inspired me to…go get ‘em, kid!

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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A New Type of Retirement Planning

Posted by: Barbara | Comments (0)

As in all successful ventures, the foundation of a good retirement is planning. — Earl Nightingale

With the aging of the baby-boomer generation a lot of attention is being focused on today’s retirement and how to maximize these years. Of course we need to be financially prepared but now we have so many more options to our retirement lives than our parents or grandparents. Even the media is becoming more aware of this as seen in a recent article in the LA Times called “It’s Your Life Starting Over…. Coaches Counsel on How to Retire Happily.” As a Certified Retirement Coach I was very thrilled to be consulted and interviewed for this story.

Retirement planning has alluded to the theory that, if we are able to put away enough money, the success for our retirement years is a sealed deal! I suppose for some that may be true, as money no doubt buys things and provides a multitude of comfort. However, pause a moment and ask is that true? List at least 10 things that are important to you for retirement. Now how many of those items can be bought by money? How much of a budget do you need to buy happiness, health, and an ample dose of contentment?

The NEW type of retirement planning entails developing strategies, which go beyond finances and tackle issues of retirement planning that focus on one’s lifestyle. I look at ways to bring action and adventure, health and well-being, enhanced relationships into people’s lives. I want to help them shift the focus from outer physical characteristics to inner beauty and peace, honoring wisdom gained, deepening interests, expanding and balancing activities, promoting flexibility, carving paths to long lost dreams, and stirring new passions. I envision my website and new blog as forums to share with you ways to bring new meaning to your retirement and to hear about your concerns and comments.

My success with coaching clients is measured by their ability to achieve the kind of retirement that is tailor made….just for them. I invite you to contact me at if you have any questions or concerns as we explore our PRICELE$$ Retirement Potential!

Categories : Retirement Coaching
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