If you are not delighted at the prospect of your own impending retirement, well guess what, you are not alone.
Some people feel like they have not accomplished what they set to accomplish.
In fact, retirement and financial freedom could mean entirely different thing for different people.
No denying that it is abit “old-skool” to work like a dog for 40 years, tightening the belt and saving so you can retire and do nothing of substance for the remaining 30 years.
If you watch the grass grow for decades to come, years of advising clients tell me that these group of people aren’t very happy.
Increasing longevity has shifted every aspect of retirement planning – from asset allocation to life fulfillment and everything in between.
People are retiring younger, adding encore careers, lifestyle businesses, and working into their seventies and eighties – not because they have to, but because they want to.
You may want to put the traditional “retirement” aside and start to redefine your lives toward fulfillment – which could mean financial independence at any age.
Study-Work-Retire-Wilt away… where’s the Fulfillment?
These are the usual 4 stages of life, regardless if you have offspring or not.
The traditional approach to retirement planning has always been about financing that final decline to death using savings accumulated during work phase after studying.
But things have changed. People in their 60’s aren’t dying at 65. 60 is the new 40. Retirees are living longer, healthier lives with dreams and ambitions yet to be fulfilled.
100 years ago, the average life expectancy was 65 years. Now, 90% confidence intervals for a healthy couple at 65 are breaking the age 100 barrier and continuing to rise.
What this means is retirement life expectancies are exceeding 30 years. That’s a game-changing result.
In a nutshell, achieving financial security following the old-school retirement planning model requires more savings than most people will be able to realistically accumulate, to fund a lifestyle most people don’t really want.
It’s a grave problem.
The Solution – “The New Retirement”
Introducing the “New Retirement”. Retirees who embrace this model discover that it is a more satisfying life plan than the traditional model.
How does it work?
First – you shift your objective from mindless wealth accumulation to life fulfillment.
Secondly, you need to get rid of the old model where you pursue income growth and financial security, after attaining them. How do you know you’ve attained financial security qualitatively?
- You got a fully paid off residence.
- You are contented with lifestyle needs including furnishings, clothing, transportation, etc.
- You have built a sustainable retirement nest egg to support your post retirement lifestyle.
Don’t get stuck at this stage, because the quest for ‘bigger and better’ will always be there, and if you are no self-aware to put an stop to this endless quest for “more-better-different”, you will fail to ever advancing to the next stage.
The process of practicing New Retirement
The new retirement debunks the myth that financial independence can only be achieved in elderly age, where the fact is, to a certain extent of your wealth accumulation journey, financial independence can be enjoyed at any age.
You don’t have to wait.
You can ‘set yourself free’ far sooner than you might have previously believed.
Financial independence doesn’t have to mean:
- Doing nothing and earning zero income, just like in the old-world retirement model.
- You can’t do part time work, encore careers, and other income streams that take the pressure off your savings.
- You can’t work 4 months out of the year and do whatever you want the remaining 8 months.
The objective is to interject a new stage following a traditional career that isn’t about sacrificing your life to make a buck, but instead focuses on fulfillment and some income generation.
In other words, transform the Study-Work-Retire-Wilt-away life plan into Birth-School-Work-Fulfillment-Death life plan. This gives several huge advantages over the traditional retirement model where no earned income exists:
- The additional income from the fulfillment stage reduces the spending from savings, so your savings accounts can continue to compound and grow.
- You achieve financial independence at any age and lead your dream life much earlier, because the total savings required to support lifestyle when small amounts of earned income are included is dramatically lower.
- You reduce the risk caused by long-term inflation since it’s far easier for your savings to outgrow inflation when you aren’t spending from principal at the same time.
- You gain the underrated benefits of productive work including a sense of contribution, community, mental stimulation, social connection, and much more.
Conclusion – it’s a balancing act
This new mindset allows you to cut the “work” part of your life plan short and advance to “fulfillment” much sooner.
It doesn’t have to follow our parents’ footsteps where you slaved away and accumulate wealth until you hit the mandatory age of retirement, where you suddenly flipped the switch and lived the life of mindless & endless enjoyment.
Now, that model is insensible in today’s age because:
- You surely want to enjoy life while you work and not sacrifice your peak health years worshiping the altar of the almighty buck.
- You want own time to pursue personal interests.
- You want more time for family.
- You probably don’t want to stop working because work plays an important role in a balanced, fulfilling life.
The New Retirement has surfaced as an alternative that allows you to build your financial foundation (including a small nest egg) using a traditional career, and then continuing by phasing into a mid-career switch.
It’s a way to redefine life from the polar extremes of career, followed by retirement, to something more balanced where the focus is on quality of life.
The idea is to build a life so fulfilling that you never want to completely retire from it. The sooner you make that switch the happier you will be.
The lesson is clear: don’t wait to live your life or put off your dreams until old-age you where have little energy left to enjoy what life has to offer.