Nothing Natural About Retirement


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The idea of “retiring” is relatively new in this country’s history. It was created by financial institutions about 70 years ago after social security was first set up to transition aging, unproductive workers out of hard labor jobs (making room for younger workers) during the Industrial Revolution.  Did you know Social Security was created in 1935 with benefits paid out starting at age 65, and the average life expectancy was 62?

In the early 1980’s, the creation of a code in the income tax law known as section 401k institutions was seen as a way to draw money into banks by marketing the new idea of retirement saving.  This drew massive amounts of money into bank deposits and insurance companies (later mutual funds). The idea of saving for a life of “leisure” as a major life goal had begun and since taken on a life of its own.

There are many problems with being too focused on retirement and one of them is people retiring with some means, but very little meaning. If you are like most, lying on the beach is fun for a week, but not something to strive for year around.  Shakespeare wrote, “Leisure is a beautiful garment for a day, but a horrible choice for permanent attire.” Early death, diminishing health, and expanding boredom all attest to this fact. Divorce rates spike in the first two years of retirement. An Artificial Finish Line

Take some time to visualize what you would do with all the additional time you will have when you are not working.  What’s the point of amassing a seven figure nest egg if you have nothing significant to do or compelling vision for life?

I like the idea of focusing on things other than retirement money. I prefer a goal of “being financially independent” rather than on “retiring.” Retiring may not be all its cracked out to be. Close to 60% of those who retire this year will be seeking part-time work within a year. Some of those need the money, but many of those find the goal of “retirement” to be unfulfilling. 

One of my favorite questions to ask clients is: “What do you want to do with the finite amount of time you have left in your life?”  How you spend your time is the key to happiness. I don’t believe it has much to do with the amount of money you have.

If you are in a hurry to retire, it probably means you are in a rush to end your current job. Get out now; your life clock is ticking!!! Find a way to get paid doing something you really enjoy and you will be happier, healthier and in no hurry to quit. Financially, if you keep earning a paycheck, it obviously makes it much easier to pay the bills and do the other fun things you want to do.

Bottom line: take some quiet time to think about how you are spending your time. Be proactive. If you don’t like your job, do something.

Create a visual picture in your mind of how you want to spend your life, otherwise you may be wasting it. What are some of your dreams, goals and plans for retirement?

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