Two months ago I celebrated a milestone in my life. I use the term “celebrated” loosely. Actually, age 59 ½ came and went without a cake or candle, greeting card or bouquet of flowers. I would have never given it a thought had not my financial advisor brought up the topic of retirement in my recent review meeting – all because I have now reached “That Age.”

I have a sign posted on my cubicle wall, “Yes, I do have a retirement plan. I plan on quilting.” (That’s quilting with an L, not quitting!)

That funny little sign and that conversation with my advisor started me thinking about life after employment and how there needs to be more to retirement than quilting. How do I go about giving up my identity as a full-time workplace employee to that of full-time retiree? That prompted thoughts about the Imagine workshops that Master’s Advisors hosted many years ago for folks who were then nearing retirement. I remembered that the workbooks for those workshops forced those nearing “That Age” to begin thinking about the physical, mental, spiritual and financial aspects of retirement planning.

That prompted a search of my junk drawer here at work to see if I had kept a copy of that workbook that I could use as I start to imagine what retirement will look like for me. Two things happened in that search: 1) I discovered that the junk drawer is a horrid mess and could really use a good cleaning, and 2) I found a copy of the workbook.

Interestingly, on page three of the workbook, I found the top ten reasons people flunk retirement. Who knew you could flunk retirement! One of those reasons is not having a plan. Apparently the adage: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” can apply to retirement. So, armed with a workbook filled with assessments, activities and resources, and with regular meetings with my advisor, I aim to have a plan in place for when I am no longer employed that includes a purpose beyond quilting.

*There’s good news for you! Securities America, Inc. still offers that workbook in an electronic format. If you are at “That Age” or know someone who is, a copy of the Imagine workbook can be yours. There is a Couples’ Version and a Single’s Version. Feel free to let me know which version you want and I’ll e-mail it to you.