As a financial advisor, I’ve heard a lot of questions similar to the following:
How much money do I need in order to retire?
Am I saving enough?
Am I on track?
How much can I afford to spend in retirement and still be “OK”?
Since I hear these questions on a weekly basis, it’s easy to assume that everyone wants to retire. However, that is far from the truth. Transamerica’s annual Retirement Survey of Workers shows that only 30% of workers are “very much” looking forward to retirement while 42% are “somewhat” looking forward to it. That means 28% aren’t looking forward to retirement at all! Some people have been waiting for retirement since their first day on the job; they can’t wait to hang up the cleats! Other people can’t imagine life without their work because that is where they find their purpose. So I will challenge you to ask yourself: deep down, do you have the will to retire?
I’ve had discussions with many clients about what their retirement looks like. Some of these clients are very much on track for their (financial) retirement goals, but cannot answer the following question: what are you planning on doing once you’re done working?. This part of planning needs to be seriously considered. As we know, things don’t always go according to plan….but that doesn’t mean planning serves no purpose! That being said, in addition to having a retirement income plan, you should also have a general plan for how you want to spend your time. You may have passions in your life that have been on the backburner during your career that will be rekindled. You may want to serve others by giving your time and energy to a cause that you believe in. You might even pick up a new hobby post-retirement. We see a fair amount of clients pick up a part-time job where they love showing up, and the “work” keeps their mind sharp. This is a classic case of why we refer to retirement as your “work-optional lifestyle”.
As I’ve recently entered my fourth decade on this planet, I’ve done some self-reflecting and have wondered the same thing: do I want to retire? For me, retirement is still a few decades away at this point. There are times where I envision my work-optional lifestyle: waking up early, grabbing a cup of coffee, and getting a round of golf in before heading to work in the afternoon. There are other times that I see myself still helping clients with their financial planning into my 70s. After all, I really love what I do!
If you have a defined retirement goal, I would encourage you to ask the question, “why?”. For example, why do you want to retire by age 65? Why do you need to have $10,000/month in retirement income? Hopefully by digging deep in your answers to these questions, you’ll realize the purpose of the retirement goals you made in the first place.
Note: I read an article, “The End of Retirement” by John D. Stoll, that inspired me to write this blog post. I’ve also had clients recently ask me about my long-term goals and my own retirement plan so it seemed like the perfect blog topic!