2016-04-04: The "What-Ifs"
This terrible disease happens to all of us. In little doses, it is a healthy Darwinian quality that probably saved the human race (a couple of million years ago). Taken too far, it will cripple you.
I am (was) a Project Manager, and one of the duties of that role, is Risk Management. The ability to anticipate and prevent future problems (or reap potential benefits) is HUGE on a project. Not so good if taken to an extreme. From a business standpoint, if you are too risk-averse, you lose opportunity or waste valuable resources mitigating a problem that may never happen. From a personal standpoint, "dysfunctional risk management" can limit your personal growth, and keep you in a situation long after the benefits outweigh the costs.
So what does this have to do about retirement? You need a healthy dose of "what ifs" to assist you with planning your retirement. You need to think "what if I live to 100?", or "what if I die before my spouse". There are many healthy "what ifs" that you MUST ask yourself before you retire. The help of a good Financial Planner (I used a CFP, as I want my planner to always have my best interest in mind, legally).
But once you make that decision, unless your situation has changed, continuing to dwell on the "what ifs" will be wasted emotion. A friend of mine once said (or maybe he got it from somewhere else) "Worrying about a problem before it happens is like paying interest on a loan you haven't received". I don't completely buy into that, but post-decision "what ifs" can only do harm. You made your decision, taking into considerations all of your resources (both personal and procured). Sit back and enjoy the remainder of your pre-retirement career, say goodbye to your colleagues and work-friends, and look back at your accomplishments with pride.
Speaking of all those accomplishments...I am truly grateful for what my employer had done for me. One of those perks was the ability to travel for professional education. Melding my love of photography with the opportunity to see new places, I took many pictures of places I may not have been afforded the opportunity. Here are some from one of my trips: Seattle PMI Conference