Retirement planning inspiration from the Oscars

carousel, Oscar statues to be presented at 76th Annual Academy Awards on display, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
CBS

As an actuary, I'm a numbers guy. That's why most of my posts offer analyses, strategies and insights from my 35-plus years of actuarial experience to help you make the best of your retirement.

But many people need more than facts and figures to get them to take action to improve their lives -- they need inspiration. And motion pictures often tell the stories that move us to make changes in our lives.

With Oscar night approaching, it's a good time to watch a few movie clips that will inspire us to take charge of the rest of our lives. All of these clips except one come from movieclips.com, a fun website that organizes a treasure trove of clips from the classics and beyond. One clip comes courtesy of YouTube.

With all the bad news about retirement -- inadequate savings, stock market meltdowns, layoffs, retirement benefits cutbacks, and the threat of reduced Social Security benefits -- it's understandable if you're mad as hell about retirement. If it helps to get it out of your system, go ahead and shout out your frustrations, like Peter Finch's character did in the movie "Network," when he yelled, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

But just being mad won't change the reality of the retirement challenges that boomers face today. So redirect that energy and take action steps that will make your life better. Believe that failure is not an option, and develop a plan that will work, as shown by this scene from "Apollo 13."

Some movie clips offer examples of what not to do, such as this scene in "Shrek Forever After," when Shrek meets up with the retired cat Puss in Boots, who had lost purpose in life, and had degenerated into a fat cat. Instead, you'll thrive in your retirement years if you enter them with a spirit of renewal and transformation, as shown in this scene from "Man of La Mancha."

Speaking of contrasts, one thing you may want to avoid is adopting Billy Crystal's cynical attitude about aging, as shown in this clip from "City Slickers." Instead, look no farther than the tale of reinvention in one of this year's nominees for best picture, "The Artist."

While planning for your retirement years, don't forget to make plans to ensure that your spouse or partner will be secure after you've gone to the great cutting room floor in the sky. In this famous scene from "Gone With the Wind," Clark Gable's character, Rhett Butler, gives us an example of how not to think about the future. Instead, it's better to be sure you'll never be sorry about the plans you've made for your spouse's future, as illustrated in this equally famous scene from "Love Story."

The people who do best in their retirement years are the ones who commit to making a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Need some inspiration for that? Watch this scene from "Star Trek: Generations," and you'll see what I mean.

Motivated to learn more about retirement planning? These posts are a good start:

Retirement planning: How to do it right
Women: Don't go broke in retirement

So what are you waiting for? It's time to start planning for the rest of your life. May the Force be with you!

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    Steve Vernon helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs for more than 35 years as a consulting actuary. Now he's a research scholar for the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he helps collect, direct and disseminate research that will improve the financial security of seniors. He's also president of Rest-of-Life Communications, delivers retirement planning workshops and authored Retirement Game-Changers: Strategies for a Healthy, Financially Secure and Fulfilling Long Life and Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck.