How to transition into retirement

As a veteran financial advisor, T. E. Wealth senior vice president Warren Baldwin often regaled clients with his “glide path” approach to semi-retirement and gradual retirement. As noted in our review of Clay Gillespie’s book, Create the Retirement You Want, retirement is a gradual process, not a single event, and consists of several stages.

At 66, Baldwin is on his own personal “glide path” to retirement, retrenching to roughly a day a week of work or a few hours at a time here and there: acting on the advice he has dispensed to clients hundreds of times before.

When used in the context of airplanes and flight, glide path is a familiar image that Baldwin’s clients easily understand. His own “glide path” to semi-retirement began three and a half years ago. “Maybe it takes five years because it takes two years to plan and get your mind around it. For me, it was coming up three years ago, when I was 63. The timing was right.”

Another way to describe this is the “Work Optional” stage of life, a term popularized by Emeritus Retirement Solutions’ Doug Dahmer. At first, you’re still working essentially five days a week but as you reach the twilight phase of your career, you have more flexibility about work hours and vacations. During the pre-glide path planning phase, perhaps you no longer get in to the office at exactly 9 am every morning. It’s like preparing to go to the airport but “the true glide path is when you get into the glider,”…

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