Face it. The world of work hasn’t been a very pleasant one thesepast seven or eight years.

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The country has yet to fully recover from the market debacle of2007-2009, and the economy just can’t seem to ignite itself.

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We continue to see layoffs from major companies and employeeshave every right to live with the constant worry of “Am I next?”

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But this is the time of year when Ebenezer Scrooge ultimatelyyields and surprises Bob Crachit with a Christmas turkey.

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And while we can’t promise the Ebenezer economy will shower uswith such luscious holiday gifts, all of us are in a position tohelp others, and maybe that’s what it’s really all about.

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Or maybe, that’s the worst thing we can do.

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One of the dreams of nearly every good little boy and girl is toretire in comfort. There are many“gifts” we can share with retirement savers to better prepare themfor retirement readiness (see “9 Gifts To Best Prepare Employees for RetirementReadiness,” FiduciaryNews.com, December 8, 2015).

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I’d like to propose this one in words a certain jolly old elfmight find appealing: Let’s help keep employees off the retirementreadiness naughty list.

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Read: 10 states worst prepared forretirement

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Specifically, I’m talking about focusing on self-confidence,self-reliance, and, ultimately, self-determination.

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No, this isn’t an examination of the ego.

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Rather, it is a present we can wrap for employees that will helpthem in ways far beyond retirement readiness.

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In fact, it may have more weight on living a comfortableretirement than one more normally consider.

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These three “selfs” embody a discipline that can guide one’sentire life, from their personal desires to their careeraspirations to their retirement dreams.

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In the area of retirement plan education, we’ve seen a dramaticmovement away from the mathematics of finance and investmenttowards an emphasis on behavior and personal wellness (in allareas).

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In others, we’ve moved from the quantitative to the qualitative,from the empirical to the spiritual. In the worst case,practitioners merely speak of the “touchy-feely” nature of things.This isn’t what I’m referring to.

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I’m speaking of the need to motivate and empower retirement planbeneficiaries in all aspects of their lives. For the moment,however, let’s focus solely on retirement readiness.

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There’s been a trend in the media and in certain public policycircles to demean people when it comes to saving forretirement.

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Nobody likes to be made fun of. Nobody wants to hear they’re notgood enough. Nobody purposely seeks to lose hope.

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And, yet, this is precisely what the mantra of “retirementcrisis” implies and leads to.

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People like to be congratulated. People want to be recognized.People purposely seek assurance.

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We will soon, if we haven’t already, enter the annual reviewcycle. It will be too easy to find fault in people’s financialhabits.

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If we fall into this trap, we are no better than those talkingheads who say Americans aren’t disciplined enough to take care ofthemselves.

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So make a promise to yourself to try hard, try especially hard,to be positive.

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Set aside the numbers and the tables and make your objectivethis simple: After I talk to that retirement saver, I want them toleave with renewed self-confidence, with a powerful sense ofself-reliance, and with a steely self-determination that only theystand between today and a comfortable retirement. The rest willtake care of itself.

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In the spirit of the giving season, doesn’t it make sense togive retirement savers what they truly need?

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).