Retirement is not dull, dreary and depressing...or at least it does not have to be. People retiring today have an unlimited number of options in terms of lifestyle, personal pursuits and career choices (even full-time, in a different field perhaps). What allows some people to retire early, have the financial well-being to travel, relocate, help their children and generally enjoy life? It is all in the planning. They planned for retirement while others simply lived for the day, not giving a thought of downsizing (and the interruption of a salary) or of the cost of living well (as opposed to barely making it)!This does not have to be a crisis, but retirement is a very real challenge that can no longer be avoided. Planning and preparation are a must. Retirement planning is nothing more than good, effective financial planning - including learning to manage debt (in fact, reduce it completely), finding ways to save by paying yourself first, understanding more about future Social Security and other retirement benefits to which you may be entitled and more.