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(MoneyWatch) What can we learn about retirement planning from successful investors? Plenty! Bank of America (BAC) and Merrill Lynch recently published theirAffluent Insights Survey of 1,000 investors with assets of $250,000 or more, and the results are indeed insightful.
Any time successful people are willing to share their point of view, I'm interested to see what I can learn. You'll see that these secrets aren't rocket science and can be used by anybody, not just the privileged, to get ahead financially. In fact, these "secrets" are just common sense, offering guidelines on what to do -- and not do -- when it comes to your money. Let's take a look.
Secret No. 1: Redefine retirement
The successful investors consulted for the survey are changing the definition of retirement. Almost three-fourths of respondents who aren't yet retired view this upcoming life stage as a second act during which they plan to work full or part time. Almost 30 percent intend to cycle between work and leisure, 22 percent plan to work at a job they enjoy more than the one they currently have, and 14 percent want to continue working part time in their current job.
About one in four define retirement as never working again, while only 14 percent define retirement as hitting a certain age.
Secret No. 2: Make lifestyle tradeoffs
If given the choice, half of the affluent Americans surveyed who are not yet retired would rather retire later than make tradeoffs in their lifestyle now. But 81 percent would choose to reduce their standard of living when push comes to shove -- as it most certainly will, even for affluent investors. The survey respondents reported a variety of actions they'd be willing to take; each of the following actions would be taken by one-fourth to one-third of the survey respondents: