That last day of work, right before a person is about to retire, is a dreaded day for some.
But it’s a total delight for others.
Count Ron and Carole Frazzetto in that second category.
The Huntley couple met each other having fun at a local roller rink, and they’ve spent their retirement years having fun together as well.
“Even in retirement, the fun never stops,” Ron Frazzetto says.
Carole, 71, retired about four years ago as an accountant, ending her career at Tradeshows and Displays in Schaumburg. Ron retired 12 years earlier than his wife after spending 45 years at two main jobs. He retired from Lucent Technologies after 33 years. Then, he worked for a second company – a screw machine job shop in Elk Grove – for 12 years before retiring for good.
The Frazzettos were both born and raised in Chicago. They have been married for 52 years and have two sons and 10 grandchildren.
Living the good life
The couple credits their conservative way of living throughout their marriage as the reason why they’ve been able to enjoy their retirement years so much and do so many exciting things during their golden years.
The two are “snowbirds,” and this winter will be the fourth year the couple has spent time in their home in Ocala, Fla. They love going to Florida for the winter and have made many good friends down there.
“We have more friends in Florida than we do around here,” Ron jokes.
The Frazzettos do almost everything together. They enjoy shopping, going to the movies, gardening and maintaining their home. They also have a passion for traveling and have been to Jamaica, Hawaii, Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Turkey, plus they’ve been on five cruises.
But they also participate in individual activities. Ron likes to build and fly model airplanes and enjoys woodworking, and he just started going back to a shooting range. Carole exercises five days a week and enjoys water aerobics.
How they did it
Several years before retiring, Carole started cutting down her hours to work part time to prepare herself for retirement. She didn’t want to just jump in.
“For me, weaning into retirement was the best decision I ever made,” she says.
To financially ready themselves for retirement, the couple says they lived very conservatively along the way and were good savers.
Ron receives a monthly pension payment from Lucent Technologies. He retired from that company in 1988. The Frazzettos also receive Social Security, and they have drawn from their personal investments to fund their retirement years.
Many people have concerns about when they should retire and if they will be able to maintain the same lifestyle when they do so.
The Frazzettos say they were definitely among those people. They thought, “Can I really do this? Can I really retire?”
The couple wanted to feel secure in their decision to enter their retirement years, so they sought out the help of a financial advisor to help answers these questions.
Planning your retirement
Working with a financial advisor can be very helpful because he or she will bring an objective view to the table and help moderate any fear and/or grief a person might have due to impending retirement, says Paula Dorion-Gray, president of Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning Inc. in Crystal Lake.
“It’s a very emotional step to retire because you aren’t going to get that check anymore,” Dorion-Gray says.
For most retirees, it’s not about how much money they have, but how well prepared they are for retirement that makes a big difference. Having the right plan is critical, Dorian-Gray says. Not having the right plan can cause increased worry and poor decision-making.
“A carefully-prepared strategy for retirement success is the most important thing,” Dorion-Gray says.
When Dorion-Gray advises clients on their future retirement, she first helps them understand their vision for retirement. She tells clients to ask themselves, “When I retire from my job or business, what will I do? Have I thought about relaxation, hobbies, travel, further study, or a second career?”
“These may be unclear notions or long-held ideas,” she says. “Here, we can help you define and clarify your vision for retirement.”
After a person understands his or her vision for retirement, it’s time to take inventory and look at the hard data for understanding his or her investments as an individual or family, Dorion-Gray says. This includes a complete review of his or her portfolio of assets, income sources, retirement assets, mortgages, personal possessions, debts, obligations, wills, insurance and income taxes.
With a clear retirement vision and a good idea concerning all income sources, people then need to ask themselves, “What stands between me and my vision?”
Dorian-Gray says every plan has unique risks and a few obstacles, and it’s wise to look ahead and consider any possible barriers between a person and their vision. People should ask themselves:
• Will I be caring for a family member?
• Is there a health concern?
• Will my finances let me start that new business?
“The better the plan, the better you foresee the challenges ahead of you,” Dorion-Gray says.
From there, an investment advisor can create a unique financial strategy tailored to a client’s needs and retirement vision and safeguard his or her portfolio as the years go on.
Planning is key
Even as retirees, the Frazzettos still plan for the future. If they want to buy something that’s costly, they still budget and save for it. But, the couple realizes that they worked hard for many years and deserve to have some fun.
“We spent many years in the job force and preparing for the future,” Carole says. “Now we are reaping the harvest of it all.”
The Frazzettos made a lifelong commitment to retirement readiness, and it is those types of people who prepare early and use self-discipline that have the best chance of success, Dorion-Gray says.
“Those who defer may find that catching up requires greater sacrifices later in life,” Dorion-Gray says.
“Retirement security is achieved long before the actual moment one leaves the workforce. It takes a working lifetime to build an adequate retirement nest egg.”