Retirement Planning: Aim High

January 7, 2011

As estate and retirement planning attorneys, part of what we do is help our clients prepare for some of the challenges that go along with aging; things like possible incapacitation and addressing long term care costs. Preparing for these contingencies is necessary and prudent, but there is a lot of quality time left after your working years are behind you. Opportunities abound during your retirement years, and the fact is that seniors can use their free time to accomplish some truly amazing things.
One case in point involves a now 68-year-old fellow from Costa Mesa, California named Bill Burke. Bill is an adventurer, and as part of his goal to scale the world's highest peaks he tackled the grandest challenge of them all in 2007 when he attempted to climb Mount Everest in Nepal. He made it to within one hundred yards of the summit when he had to make a decision. He was concerned that he may not have the strength to make it back to the bottom safely if he pushed on those last grueling 300 feet, so he turned back.
Making it to within 100 yards of the top of Mount Everest as a 65-year-old is quite an accomplishment, but Bill was in it to win it. He returned the next year with the added experience under his belt, but he didn't make it as far. After suffering from pulmonary edema he had to be evacuated off the mountain by helicopter.
One might expect that this senior citizen would recognize the limitations of age at that point, but Bill Burke is not set up that way. He went back to Everest for the third consecutive year in 2009, and he reached the summit. It is believed that at 67 years of age he was the oldest American to do so.
The suggestion here is to consider all that is possible, aim high, tune out the naysayers and make the most out of your retirement.

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