by Steve Schaefer
Original Post date: 2/11/2015

Planning for retirement can be tricky business, but a sound strategy makes all the difference. For the 2015 Retirement Guide Forbes asked six coaching greats, from Yankees legend Joe Torre to Bears Super Bowl champ Mike Ditka, to share their playbook for staying on top in retirement.

COACH: Joe Torre, 74

LIFETIME STATS: 30 years managing the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers and Yankees, leading the latter to four World Series titles.

RETIREMENT PLAY: Instead of settling in to an easy life of golf and signing autographs, went back to work as MLB’s chief Baseball Officer, in charge of everything from umpiring to player discipline, and continued work with his Safe At Home Foundation aimed at ending the cycle of domestic abuse.

PEP TALK: “I wanted to do something substantial [after managing]. I never want to just wait to go shrivel up somewhere, I need to keep myself occupied.”

For more, read “Joe Torre’s Retirement Plan: Never Slow Down, Never Grow Old”

Bill Cowher led the Steelers to a title in Super Bowl XL. Now he’s an analyst on CBS’ Thursday and Sunday studio shows. (Ethan Pines for Forbes)

COACH: Bill Cowher, 57

LIFETIME STATS: Led Pittsburgh Steelers to their fifth Super Bowl Championship. Won 149 games and eight division titles over 15 seasons.

RETIREMENT PLAY: At age 50 Cowher took early retirement to spend more time with his family. Besides a gig as a CBS studio analyst, he lives by Warren Buffett’s first two investing rules: never lose money and never forget rule No. 1. About half his portfolio is in bonds, mostly municipals.

PEP TALK: “I don’t need to make a lot of money; I just don’t want to lose it. I’m not looking to double my money with a golden opportunity.”

For more, read “Bill Cowher: From A Steeltown Title To Embracing Flexibility Beyond Coaching”

Since leading Peyton Manning and the Colts to a title in Super Bowl XLI, Dungy has focused on his charitable efforts while serving as an analyst on NBC’s football programming. (Steven Kovich for Forbes)

COACH: Tony Dungy, 59

LIFETIME STATS: Led Colts to Super Bowl championship. Won 139 games in 13 seasons with the Colts and Buccaneers.

RETIREMENT PLAY: As an evangelical Christian Dungy has devoted significant time and energy to charities, including Big Brother/Sister organizations. Also a prolific author of self-help books, his most recent devoted to marriage.

PEP TALK: “As a coach the goal was to win the Super Bowl. Now I still set goals of meeting young people or helping people be better. At the end of the day you still have that little scorecard.”

For more, read “Tony Dungy: Faith, Philanthropy And A Few Good Money Lessons From Dad”

Two-time Olympian Nancy Lieberman had a stint coaching the WNBA’s Detroit Shock before becoming the first woman to coach a men’s pro team with the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends. (Justin Clemons for Forbes)

COACH: Nancy Lieberman, 56

LIFETIME STATS: Two-time Olympic basketball player. Coach of WNBA’s Detroit Shock, and first woman to be head coach of a men’s pro basketball team.

RETIREMENT PLAY: Don’t retire. Lieberman still works as assistant general manager for the Texas Legends of the NBA development league, and as a TV analyst. Through her foundation she has built 13 “DreamCourts” in underprivileged communities.

PEP TALK: “Somebody said to me, ‘Once you stop playing basketball and retire, you’ll never do anything anymore.’ What am I retiring from? Life? I think the more active you are, the healthier you are, and your mind is sharp.”

For more, read “Nancy Lieberman: ‘Lady Magic’s’ Second Act Off The Court”

Lenny Wilkens is a Hall of Famer three ways: as coach, player and an assistant on the 1992 USA Dream Team. These days he’s focused on his foundation, but still hoping the NBA puts a team back in Seattle, where he led the SuperSonics to the 1979 title. (Rich Frishman for Forbes)

COACH: Lenny Wilkens, 77

LIFETIME STATS: Steered Seattle Supersonics to 1979 Championship. Second-winningest coach in NBA
history, with 1,332 wins.

RETIREMENT PLAY: Since retiring at age 67, Wilkens has traveled the world, including a stint consulting to South Korea’s national team. His charitable foundation is devoted to children’s health care and education.

PEP TALK: “The thing to do is not just to run and jump into anything. I tried to read and learn about things. Everything ends. If you surround yourself with smart people and have them help you, then you can secure your future.”

For more, read “Lenny Wilkens: ‘Retirement? I Don’t Understand The Word’”

Ditka coached the dominant ’85 Bears to a Super Bowl XX win, and though he still turns up on ESPN’s studio show every week, he’s spending most of his times on the golf course. and supporting charities like Gridiron Greats to benefit retired NFL players. (Chris McEniry for Forbes)

COACH: Mike Ditka, 75

LIFETIME STATS: Led 1985 Chicago Bears to Super Bowl Championship. Won 121 games in 14 seasons with the Bears and Saints.

RETIREMENT PLAY: Ditka leveraged his drill sergeant persona into a lucrative retirement as a commentator, pitchman and restaurant investor. Now he spends much of his time playing golf and supporting charities like Gridiron Greats, a fund to benefit retired NFL players in need.

PEP TALK: “I paid off my debt. I have no credit card debt, I have no house debt. If you make $5 million but spend $6 million because of foolishness, it’s not going to work. The main thing was don’t spend everything you make. Put it away, invest it–because nothing lasts forever.”

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