I’m a boomer.
And boomers, most of us anyway, always bring up the same thing.
Some of us count down the days until that magical moment,
“I’ve only got four years, twelve months and thirteen days.”
Others fret about finances,
“My advisor says I need a million bucks, I don’t think I’ll make it.”
And then there are others, the half-full type, who talk of how much fun they’ll have, “It’ll be like a vacation. Each and every day .”
Retirement’s a Myth
Sorry, to break the news, but.
It just ain’t so.
Retirement, at least the one touted by the banks and mutual fund companies—those retirement and financial experts (so called)—is a myth.
Why is retirement a myth?
Well, a whole bunch of reasons, some good and some bad.
The Good News – The Bad News
For starters, the bad news is it’s not going to feel like a permanent vacation.
As retirement specialist Denise Loftus explains, “People have a certain degree of fantasy about retirement. After a few months they realize it’s still important to have some purpose and meaning in life… You just don’t play golf and fish endlessly for the rest of your life.”
The good news, on the other hand, is you won’t need a million bucks.
Actuary and retirement expert Malcolm Hamilton says that you don’t need anywhere near $1 million to retire, nor should you be targeting 70% of pre-retirement income either. Per Mr Hamilton, 50% is likely more than enough.
And the even better news is, if you really want to, you can retire right now.
OK, if you want to fully retire—right now—and you don’t have much money, you’ll probably have to move. Where to? Well, check out these six countries where you can live for as little as $1,000 a month
The most important thing
Here’s the thing, the important thing. Retirement is a personal affair. So personal that it can’t be packaged and sold like your basic smart-phone plan. And that’s the biggest peeve I’ve got with most financial planners and retirement advisors. All they do—most of them—is ask at what age you’d like to retire, and then they put you into some mutual fund. As if that’s all there is to it.
Put it all Together.
Retirement is important. It’s that crucial next-phase-of-life. And it’s something you’ll want to plan. Carefully. But where do you start? How do you start planning for life’s next phase? Well start by looking at those scenarios above. Odds are you won’t want to move to Thailand; you won’t have a million bucks; and you won’t want to be bored. Odds are you will—both now and in the future—want a meaningful life. So for starters, take the three scenarios above, and toss them around. Juggle them. Mix and match them so that you can start to arrive at your own very own, fully customized, fully personalized retirement strategy. Think about purpose and meaning. Think about passion. Think about how you can perhaps make a few bucks—just a few—doing what you love. Think about foregoing the whole retirement thing. Think about semi-retirement. Think about working two or three days a week at something you like. Think about living in a lower-cost location. It doesn’t have to be another country. Oftentimes another neighbourhood, or another type of home, is a great way to cut costs. Think about your income and your expenses, both now and in the future. Nail down your cash-flow. How much do you spend each month? Then, from there, estimate (or work with someone who can help you forecast) how much you’ll really need to live on in 5 or 10 or 15 years.
Retirement—your version of it—truly is the next phase. And, to my mind, it’s an exciting phase too. Retirement is when obligations disappear, and responsibilities evaporate. Retirement is all about you. And what you want to do. So it’s important that it’s not to left in the hands of your financial planner or investment advisor. It’s so important, in fact, that you should do some of your own digging. So, here are a few resources for you. I’m sure you’ll find them, not only informative, but entertaining too.
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner
The Real Retirement by Fred Vettese & Bill Morneau
Why Swim with the Sharks? by Diana Salomaa and Henry Dembicki
The Net Present Value of Life by Michael Di Lauro (OK OK, that’s me. I still think you’ll enjoy it though. Even if I did write it).
Take a vacation lately? What about a party? Did you recently throw a party? How much planning did you put into it? Well, retirement—your version of it—needs, at the very least, an equitable level of commitment and thoughtful consideration. Heck, it’s only the rest of our lives we’re talking about.