As millions of baby boomers head toward retirement, not enough are paying attention to their pensions. This is in spite of the fact that less than 38.5 percent of working Canadians actually have a company-sponsored pension plan and half don't even know what type of plan they have. Those approaching 50 are overwhelmed with information about anti-aging products, wellness strategies, and adult lifestyle housing, among other things. Except for a few resources that spell out pensions in excruciating complexity, no one is talking about why you need to start paying attention to your pension and how to do this.

For over a decade, we've sat with clients approaching retirement, newly retired, or suddenly retired. All too often, they've had one thing in common: They're worried, even terrified, about what lies ahead. We've talked with the senior executive about to leave a job where she earned a six-figure salary, and we've met with line workers from companies such as General Motors suddenly facing early retirement. We've counseled the recently retired gentleman who planned a dream retirement with his spouse only to find himself newly widowed.

But what has brought us the most joy - and created the reason for this book - is seeing how knowledge, honest soul-searching, planning, and smart financial strategies can move people, worry-free, into the next stage of their lives, changing retirement from an event that pulls you back from life into the start of a brand new, exciting chapter. As a result, we've celebrated with those who have finally fulfilled their dreams in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond - perhaps travelling the world, earning a degree, or finally just finding the time to spend with their grandchildren without worrying about finances.

Retirement is about the transition between living your life and living a lifestyle. It doesn't happen at a specific age, but at a time in your life when you decide, "Wow! This is what life is all about!" By paying attention not just to your pension but also everything that you value most, it's possible to put a plan into place that propels you into this new and exciting phase in life.

By paying attention to your pension, you can shape the lifestyle of your choice in the next quarter or even third of your life. Retirement then becomes not a "backing away"" from life, but a way of going forward. It truly becomes a way of turning life dreams into reality.

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