Are You Really Ready to Retire? 8 Steps to a Happy Retirement

Last year, Nick Crisci felt more than ready to retire. After working nonstop for 46 years, the 69-year-old feared the stress of his information technology job was affecting his health. Crisci, who lives in Pflugerville, Tex., prepared for retirement by whipping his finances into shape--paying off his mortgage and shifting some of his investments into Treasury bills to create a cash cushion. He also envisioned how he'd spend his days in retirement: gardening, reading, playing with his grandkids and working on his stamp collection.

But all that preparation didn't make the transition easy. Since his November 2018 retirement, he has focused on staying busy, getting involved with his homeowners association, joining a senior community center and taking tai chi classes. But "it's not fun yet," he says. "I feel tired, not retired." And the recent market downturn has further undermined his confidence. "I'm sitting here thinking, 'How long will it take to recover from this?' " he says. "Did I pick the wrong time to retire?"

Even with years of preparation, retirement can be a daunting prospect. Can your portfolio withstand a market crash in your early retirement years? Will you still have a sense of purpose when you're no longer heading to the office every day? How do you know

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