Tony Leighton is a Canadian writer happily retired and attempting to help others feel the same.

Preparing for retirement might start with this simple idea.

During an organized hike last summer, I met a woman in her early fifties who has a demanding job at a major consumer goods company. She exuded vitality. Striding along a forest trail, we touched upon my retirement. I figured it was nothing she would be interested in at her age with her obvious dedication to peak performance at work.

On the contrary, it turned out she’s a planner. Already she’s looking ahead to when it’s time to transition away from a job into the rest of her life. And she wants to be ready.

Her solution: a retirement file.

“I have a big file folder,” she told me. “It’s not organized. It’s just a place to put ideas and thoughts. When I hear about a country I’d like to visit, an experience I’d like to have, or an idea I want to explore, I put it in the file. The file is getting pretty big.”

A retirement file is way not to forget. Throughout our lives, we experience flashes of excitement about what we might do if we were free to choose. If you have a file full of accumulated ideas, it’s a way not to walk out the office door for the last time and find nothing much on the other side. 

There’s no need to dwell on it. Just build it.

What you are building, of course, is confidence.

There's only one way to learn how to be retired.

Retirement In Nine Buckets