The Joseph Group

L.E.A.N. Into Retirement

September 22, 2023

To Inform: 

I (Ryan) recently graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University where I studied financial planning. While our program was focused primarily on the technical side, we also spent some time on the social and relational aspects of financial planning. As part of the program we read a book by Mitch Anthony called “The New Retirementality.” In his book, Mitch dives into the everyday life of retirement and believes that living your great life in retirement takes planning and thought. The acronym he used to describe the retirement process was LEAN:

  • Looking Ahead
  • Embarking
  • After the Honeymoon
  • Negotiating Balance

Looking Ahead: Looking ahead is something you should be doing 5-10 years in advance of when you think you may retire. In this stage, you start to think about what retirement is going to look like for you. Mitch suggests that you “try retirement” if possible. Whatever it is that you think you may want to do in retirement, try it out before you retire. If the plan is to get an RV and travel, then rent one and go on a two-week vacation. Is this something that could give you purpose in retirement? For many of us the longest vacation we have had in our 40 years of working has been two weeks, and retirement is a marathon not a sprint.

Embarking: This stage starts years before retirement, where we plan for retirement. During this time, we evaluate your retirement goals, and your retirement savings to see how we can help you live a great life in retirement. Mitch suggests that 6 months into our retirement we evaluate how our cash flow is working. Are your distributions too large and your checking account is growing? Do you feel like you need to take extra distributions regularly? This gives you an opportunity to make changes to help make your retirement funds best work for you, and make sure you are living within your retirement means.

After the Honeymoon: Mitch states that retirement is often like a sugar rush. It starts off with immediate satisfaction then after a few years levels of happiness have a sharp decline. There is a way to combat this: finding purpose and giving back. A study done in 2018 by Eva Kahans PhD, shows that retirees involved in volunteer work experience higher levels of satisfaction and lower levels of depression. We need to find outlets or activities that are meaningful but also sustainable. Purpose is a huge part of our working lives and is something that needs to continue into the retirement stage of life. Where will you find purpose in retirement? Volunteer work? Part time work? Spending time with grandchildren?

Negotiating Balances: A common theme that Mitch comes back to in his book is the delicate balance between Vacation and Vocation. Retirement is supposed to be relaxing and include more time for vacations and leisure. However, when life is thrown out of balance and there is too much leisure and not enough purpose, vacation becomes boring. Retirement needs to balance Vacation, Vocation, family time, self-improvement, etc. How will you find balance?

Retirement is not a transition to take lightly. Start thinking about these questions as you ponder what retirement will look like for you. At The Joseph Group, our advisors love talking with clients about how they will live their great lives in retirement. How can we help you live your great life in retirement?





Written by Ryan Kuhn, Wealth Advisory Associate