BOSTON (CBS) – I think before you start retirement for real you should consider a dress rehearsal to see if you really want to retire. I have seen too many retirees flunk retirement. If you can do it I do believe it is worth the time, energy, and money to try and create a retirement dress rehearsal.

Try living the retirement life for a month or two. Do you have unused vacation time or sick time that you can use? Can you cut back working to part-time hours for a couple of months? This is not a transition into retirement but a trial period to see if you really do want to retire.

Next, try living on the income you will have coming in as a retiree. Calculate what your sources of income will be and try living on that for 3 to 6 months. How tight is it? Can you still do the fun things you had planned? Will you need a part time job in retirement? Do you need to work longer and accumulate more benefits?

What are you going to do with your time in retirement? Buy one of those monthly calendars or create one on your computer and spend some time filling in the days. House renovation? Golf? Travel? Gardening? Volunteering? Shopping? Bowling league? Cooking lessons? Classes at the Community College? Babysitting? Reading? Grandkids? Watching TV? Studies have shown retirees increase their TV time.

If you want to live some place warm like Florida, Arizona or Nevada try your dress rehearsal in July and August. 120 degrees is still 120 degrees no matter how dry it is! What do the residents do when it is hot? Is it too hot to golf or garden? Does everyone stay indoors for six months?

Are there water restrictions? Funny question to ask but it is hard to grow a vegetable garden without water. I have a friend who moved to the Charlotte, NC area and she wants to move back because her gardens have been dying because she can’t water them.

If you are coupled, do you like being together 24/7? Do you have other interests that give you time apart? Do you each have friends that you can do things with? From my own experience, a good vacation where my husband and I are together 24/7 can’t last more than 2 weeks. So I am really concerned about our retirement. I plan to work forever and he plans to learn to cook.

Maybe your dream is selling your home, buying an RV and setting off across country for adventure. Rent one first! Try two months of traveling with your spouse. You know that 24/7 thing again. I, for one, could not do it. After about 3 days I would have cabin fever and I would find a way home! If he loves it, I would ask him to send me postcards!

Rent the movie RV with Robin Williams and get an idea what RVing might be like.


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