As regular readers of WealthNotes know, we think there is nothing more important for each of us in living a satisfying life than discovering our unique purpose for being.
We are all wired in a way where our innate desire to make a difference in the world results in a longing for where energies and passions can best be used in this quest.
In our work, we are blessed with the opportunity to help our clients think about passion and purpose as they prepare for, enter into and move their retirement years, transitioning from careers of SUCCESS (financial, business building, family rearing, etc.) to SIGNIFICANCE (harnessing their energies and interests, and in doing so “making a difference in the world.”
I recently came across an article in Financial Advisor magazine by Robert Laura, an author and speaker on the topic of “The New Era of Retirement.” I found his thoughts helpful and I would like to share them with you.
Sports enthusiasts are known to enjoy rooting for the underdog; the team that, on paper, has no way of winning the game, but still we hope for the upset. One in three people age 40-77 have less than $50,000 saved for the years after they stop working. But in this case, there isn’t the same appeal to root for those falling behind and struggling to catch up. As financial advisors, it’s when the chips are down and a major comeback is essential that we at The Joseph Group try to provide the half-time inspiration.
Laura suggests we need to redefine “retirement.” It isn’t about reaching the age of 62 or 65 and never working again. Research suggests that more than 31% of people aged 44 to 77 plan to work at some point during retirement. He suggests we make the word plural by changing it to “retirements.” For those turning 62, 65 or even 70, retirement may not be the end but the next step in finding something that brings them joy, helps others, enriches their environment or just gives them some extra spending money. Something that will bridge their transition.
And it needs to be understood that the amount of money saved for retirement will not dictate the level of happiness in retirement. As financial advisors we know plenty of people who enjoy complete financial security but don’t have their health, who don’t have strong family bonds with a spouse, children or grandchildren, or who are just generally unhappy.
What do we see? It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but on the inside. In our experience, and as Laura notes, clients who make a successful transition to retirement have found a way to:
- Replace their work identity;
- Fill their time with meaningful tasks;
- Find ways to stay relevant and connected;
- Keep mentally and physically active; and
- Feel financially secure.
You’ll notice the final, financial component, is at the bottom of the list. If a retiree can get the inside right, the outside stuff has a much better chance of falling in place and aligning with that person’s inner values and needs. This is essential for a retirement comeback!
The formula to win is not just age and assets. The best way to create a successful life in retirement is to start living that life and those habits now. So, although saving and investment habits are important, there is also a need to practice habits of being healthy, connected and engaged.
Just as important as getting money right for retirement purposes is getting the moral compass and direction right. Together they will provide a roadmap to success and the “underdog” preparer for retirement can achieve the major comeback.
Written by Mark Palmer, Co-founder and Chairman