Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Lending a Dress Carries an Awkward Risk

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm planning to retire next year. I have saved my money and invested fairly well, so I am prepared to make this move. I feel confident about my decision, but my friends are giving me grief. They think I am crazy to retire in my 50s.

When I listen to them, I hear the choices they have made along with the challenges they have faced that have derailed them financially. But that is not my story. How can I get my friends to lay off me? We all have our individual lives to lead. Why can't they trust that I am doing what is right for me? -- READY TO RETIRE

DEAR READY TO RETIRE: Your friends are projecting their fears onto you. That is natural for people to do, though it is not helpful to you. What you should do is verify your financial situation with your financial adviser or consultant, where you review what you have and what you think you need for the projected remainder of your life. If you are still confident about retiring, stand in that conviction.

As far as your friends go, be definitive with them about your choice and let it be. You can thank them for their concerns as you assure them that you have made your decision. You can also ask them to stop pestering you about it. Point out that you don't chastise them about their finances. You want them to do the same for you.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)