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Coaches can help with fulfilling retirement

January 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The first wave of the country's 77 million baby boomers is turning 65, and many of them are making plans to retire. But boomers are expected to do things a little differently than the current generation of retirees. Some are turning to coaches who are trained to help seniors make the most of the golden years.

It's one thing to be able to afford to retire, it's another to actually enjoy that free time. There are many choices that can be made and the right ones can be made with the help of a coach.

Denise Costabile and her husband, Vinny, have run a busy interior decorating business out of their home for the past 16 years.

When he suffered a heart attack a few years ago, they realized it might be time to slow down and think about retirement.

"I decided I needed to have a plan," Denise Costabile said.

But not a financial plan, they've been saving for years. Costabile means a plan for how to make the most of their golden years.

"I was afraid. I thought it was going to be boring and dull," she said.

Determined to make her upcoming retirement a positive and fulfilling experience, she turned to a retirement coach for guidance. Within two weeks, she helped Costabile map out a plan.

It was not about the traditional advice on how much to save or where to put her money. It was about getting a sense of her interests and goals and then creating a strategy for making new dreams come true.

"I have many clients who have put their dreams on the back burner and this is the time they want to put it on the front burner," said one coach, Dr. Cynthia Barnett.

The coaching industry has exploded in recent years, growing 700 percent since the mid 90s.

The number of retirement coaches has tripled in the last three years alone. Ken Budd from the American Association of Retired Persons says it's because this generation isn't looking to sit back and relax in their retirement.

"I think baby boomers are going to redefine retirement," Budd said. "This is not a rocking chair generation."

Costabile has a blog and has published a book of photography, accomplishments she said likely wouldn't have occurred without gentle prodding from her coach.

"I just felt like I had my own little cheering section," Costabile said.

Such personalized service, however, can cost more than a $100 an hour.

Anyone interested in hiring a retirement coach should make sure they're certified by the International Coaches Federation.