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Meet Ed Blanco

In retirement, Ed pursued his passion for jazz by becoming a reputable music critic and DJ at 88.9 WDNA in Miami. Read Q&A with Ed

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Where will your passions lead you in retirement?

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What sounds more enjoyable to you?

Spending some time alone.
Hanging out with a group.

Where would you rather spend time?

At home.
Away from home.

How would you describe your favorite activities?

Competitive.
Laid back.

What gives you more satisfaction?

Tinkering on projects at home.
Helping out others with their projects.

What kind of place sounds more exciting to visit?

One that doesn’t speak my language.
One that’s full of adventure.

What do your favorite activities exercise?

My body.
My mind.

If the arts were a sport, how would you see yourself participating?

I’d be watching from the sidelines, cheering on my favorite teams.
I’d be on the field, making plays and inspiring others.

Become a D.I.Y. Master

Who needs to hire a professional to fix that old dresser? Not you! You’re independent, crafty and get satisfaction from doing things yourself. Whether you’re decorating the house, repairing a leaky faucet or landscaping your garden, you like to get your hands dirty. Retirement is a great time to master one of your skills or learn a new one. With your free time, there’s no telling what you can accomplish for yourself – and for those you care about.

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Improve Your Community

You find fulfillment in helping others. You love seeing the benefits of your service first-hand. You might enjoy activities like volunteering at a soup kitchen, tutoring children at school or pitching in at a public park cleanup. Think about how your professional skills can help others. For instance, if you had a career as an accountant, you could find a lot of satisfaction in offering free tax help to low-income families. Once you find the right fit for you, think about how your impact can last even longer. Consider a leadership role at your favorite organization and help recruit new volunteers.

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Indulge Your Wanderlust

You love the experience of seeing how other cultures live first-hand. You don’t mind a 12-hour flight as long as it takes you somewhere interesting. Where have you always wanted to go? Europe? Asia? The middle of America? Make a list of all the places you want to go, and keep a journal of your adventures, or even start a blog. Voluntourism (volunteering while traveling) is a great way to see the world while helping others. Check out one of the many non-profit agencies that help build up local communities in far away places.

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Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Sitting still is not for you. You love to challenge yourself in the outdoors, among vistas and wildlife. Activities like hiking, kayaking or camping are perfect for you. Set a goal to visit several national parks a year for a nature escape. Look into options like a "park-hopper" or annual pass to save money. You’ll clear your mind by spending some rejuvenating time alone and challenging yourself physically. If you want to combine your love of nature with serving, consider helping out with a local park by leading nature walks or maintaining hiking trails.

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Encourage Your Inner Athlete

Staying physically active has always been important to you. You enjoy pushing yourself and staying fit. Challenging yourself physically is your way to have fun and feel great. Enjoy time you’ve never had before. Retirement is the perfect time to take advantage of doing things you’ve always wanted to do, like training for a marathon or hiking some of America’s 14,000 foot mountains. Ramp up your heart rate and social life by joining a weekly sports league, participating in running clubs, tennis tournaments or becoming a Yogi. Before long, you’ll be mastering Crane Pose, crossing the finish line or conquering the peak of a mountain.

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Continue a Lifetime of Learning

You’ve learned to live by living to learn, and retirement is a great time to keep going. Chances are that a nearby college, library or community center offers rewarding courses and lectures you’d enjoy – and many of these are free for seniors. You might enjoy learning a new language or taking a cooking class and enjoy sharing your recipes and cuisine with others in a supper club. Once you become an expert on a certain subject, considering leading a class for your friends or community members, and encourage them to share their own knowledge.

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Become a Patron of the Arts

You love art and culture, and aren’t the type to sit home at night. So why not immerse yourself in plays, concerts, poetry readings and whatever else your city or town has to offer? There are a lot of opportunities to get involved behind the scenes in community theater, from helping design and build sets to making costumes. You could start a group for fellow art enthusiasts, where you’re sure to meet new friends and discover new perspectives. If you’re the type that likes to share your opinion, look into writing art reviews online or in your local paper. You’re sure to become a bona-fide critic in no time!

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Nurture the Artist Inside

You’ve been known to carry a sketchpad, camera or notebook in your bag for when inspiration hits. Now you have time to seek that inspiration, full-time! Starting a new creative project is as easy as picking up your pen, paintbrush or guitar and letting it flow. If you want to add a dash of socializing to your creative work, take an acting class or writing workshop where you’ll meet new artists from all walks of life. Consider getting involved in community theater or trying out as an extra for a movie – you may even get discovered! Once you’ve deepened your craft, consider showing your work at a local gallery or publishing in a small magazine. You just might become the next Picasso, Meryl Streep or Stephen King!

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Explore some other passions

Discover more from the Ally Straight Talk Blog

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Why $1 Million May Not be Enough for Retirement: Read More

Alexandreena D.

Community Advocate | Suffern, NY

Alexandreena was raised in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up, her parents introduced her to both dance and theater. Alexandreena was passionate about both, but her career took her somewhere else - first as a probation officer, and later as a prison warden for 15 years. "My aim was always to help people stay out of trouble," she says. "Working in a prison makes you humble." When she retired, she knew she wanted to keep helping her community. Now, she could do it through the arts. Alexandreena runs an organization called Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts, & Culture. It brings children in her community together – off the streets and onto the stage.

Dance taught me discipline. You have to be in control of your body, just like you have to be in control of your life and your finances. If you have the discipline to save, you’re the authority of your future.
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Urban U.

Sculptor | New York, NY

Urban is a licensed contractor, and even in retirement still fixes cabinets for some old customers. His focus now, however, is on his own artistic expression. Using his skills as a craftsman, Urban creates sculptures using "found objects" such as old radios, glass and photographs. "It’s the randomness of sculpture that I like – no one’s telling you how to do it, you just do what you feel." Early in life, Urban worked at an art gallery in Chicago. "I picked up an aesthetic for design there," he says. "I just never let it go." Now, Urban sells his work at flea markets and galleries around town.

Plan. If you make a salary with a set income, you know what you’re able to save. Don’t run out of gas. Nurture your hobbies. Take advantage of the time you have.
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DeEtte S.

Competitive Swimmer | Houston, TX

DeEtte worked in broadcast sales. As she approached retirement, DeEtte recalls thinking, "I’d measured myself by a paycheck for a long time. When I retired, I had to figure out who I really was." She decided to learn to swim. After years of regular practice, DeEtte is now a competitive swimmer. She competes in national and international competitions. She’s won medals. She calls swimming "the best thing that ever happened to me." When she’s not training, DeEtte works part-time as a counselor at schools and her church.

We live beneath our means so we can be generous with our children, grandchildren, church and other causes. By controlling the desire for ‘bigger and better’ we have freedom.
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Jim B.

Student | Boston, MA

Looking back, Jim calls his career a "labor of love" - and for good reason. As a producer, anchor and reporter, Jim traveled the world, interviewed world leaders and presidents and in nearly four decades in Boston covered some of the biggest events in the city's history. "It was just an incredible, awesome career," he says. Deciding to retire from his passion didn't come easily. But when he did, Jim decided to do one thing he'd never done — earn a college degree. "I had serious doubts when I walked back onto campus in 2009," he says. "In spite of all the things I'd done as a reporter, this was very different." Jim says he wanted to go back to school "for the challenge," and also to "fulfill a lifelong dream." 55 years after leaving high school he graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Sociology.

Anyone who's serious about getting the most out of their retirement should not take it as a do it yourself project, but find a financial advisor they can trust. Start planning and saving money early.
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Jerome A.

Equestrian | San Diego, CA

Jerome spent his working years as both a physicist and engineer. He built his first computer in 1954. His career took him from NASA to IBM and Microsoft. "People think engineers work in little boxes, but that’s not true," Jerome says. "It’s very creative and dynamic – you interface with so many people." When he retired, Jerome decided to switch things up entirely. He had always been curious about polo and dressage, and figured it was finally "time to stop thinking about it and just do it!" He started taking lessons and joined the San Diego Polo Club. Now, he plays three times a week. "I love the wildness of polo and the precision of dressage" he says. "Controlling the horse is a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding when it happens."

My engineering background taught me to look at the big picture, before making a decision. Don’t react every day to the little things. Do your homework, make a goal and, most importantly, trust yourself.
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Steve D.

Café Owner | Chapel Hill, NC

Steve is a physician and businessman who worked in the pharmaceutical industry. In retirement, he wanted to remain active and challenged, with enough free time to enjoy life. He decided to buy a few coffee shops around town. "It’s a fun business," he says. "Independent coffee shops attract very interesting people with cool stories." Running cafes, he says, also "contributes something to the community." When he’s not behind the counter, Steve is an adjunct professor and enjoys sailing.

To really enjoy retirement you want the luxury of never having to worry about money again. Don’t overbuy. Start saving early. Do the simple arithmetic.
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How we calculate your savings goal

The Retirement Savings Calculator estimates how much you'll need to save for retirement. To do this, we assume you'll live to age 90. We then assume you can live comfortably off of 80% of your pre-retirement income. So if you earn $100,000 the year you retire, we estimate you will need $80,000 during the first year of retirement. 

Note: The results from the Retirement Savings Calculator offer a general idea of how much you'll need in retirement and are not intended to be investment advice. The results are presented in today's dollars and do not include inflation or salary growth. Other sources of income, such as Social Security, pensions and/or annuities are not factored into these calculations. All calculations are pre-tax. Please keep in mind you may live longer than 90 or incur unexpected costs in retirement, like large medical bills.