Many financial companies encourage Americans to plan for retirement, but retirement is an event--it's something that happens once (maybe a couple of times for professional athletes). It is far more important and enjoyable to plan for life in retirement, to plan for moments of exhilaration coupled with spans of relaxation. Americans have an opportunity to shape their lives in retirement and create the experiences that they really want to live. 

It's been reported time and time again that Americans are living longer in retirement. Life expectancy in the U.S. hit an all-time high in 2012, averaging 78.8 years, with women expected to live 81.2 years and men expected to live 76.4 years. However, the more impressive figure is the projection that individuals who have reached age 65 will enjoy an additional 19.3 years, broken down as 20.5 years for women and 17.9 years for men. That's a lot of time to enjoy life in retirement. 

Have you considered what your life in retirement will look like? Fee like? Smell like? Do you foresee a myriad recreational activities, such as skiing, travelling the country in an RV, and embracing the world? Or would you prefer to work on your home and garden, enjoy shows at a local play house, and hone your craft skills? Perhaps you've considered starting a new business in retirement, working part time or volunteering for local causes. Maybe your focus will center on enjoying time with your friends and family. Take a few moments to picture your ideal life once you've exited the 40-hour work week. Can you taste it? 

Whatever your vision of your retirement may be, the ability to make it a reality starts today. You hold the keys to your life in retirement. Whether you're 20 years old and entering the workforce or are a seasoned veteran considering your future options, it is never too late to shape your future life in retirement. It won't create itself--you need to take control and make sure that you've already put the right plans in place to help ensure a comfortable retirement. 

As a member of AAHA, you have access to a free retirement planning consultation with a dedicated retirement program specialist from AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. Our specialists work with veterinarians and their staff every day by providing guidance on their current plans or helping them establish a plan that is manageable from day 1 through your life in retirement. 

Just 10 to 15 minutes with a specialist can help you start a plan for your lifetime in retirement. And if you already have a plan, take a few minutes to help make sure it's the right one that aligns with your vision. It's part of your member benefit. 

You may reach a specialist who works with AAHA members by calling 800-523-1125, option 3, department 2045. You may also obtain more information at axa2plan.com

Centers for Disease Control, Mortality in the United States, 2012.

Monica Couillard, author of this article, is a relationship manager, association business, at AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, NY, NY.

The Members Retirement Program is funded by a group variable annuity contract issued and distributed by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable), NY, NY. Neither AXA Equitable or its employees provide tax or legal advice.
GE-101277 (3/15) (Exp. 3/17)


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