Redefine the “R” Word
Kevin and Barbara were anxious and came to us looking for answers to settle their nerves. Their reaction when they discovered the answers to their biggest questions at this unique stage in their lives used to surprise us. However, it has now become the norm among our members.
Let me explain….
After putting Kevin and Barbara through our extensive program and creating their custom-designed Retirement Blueprint™ based on their priorities and resources, I had very good news for them.
“Congratulations!” I told them. “You’re in wonderful shape. Given everything you’ve shared, you can afford to retire tomorrow if you want to.”
Can you guess what their reaction was? Did trumpets sound and balloons fall from the ceiling? Did Kevin dance from the room and call his managing director to say he was finished?
No. What happened?
Instead, all I heard was crickets!
Kevin and Barbara turned to each other, confused. Now that they knew they could afford to retire, they weren’t sure they wanted to.
Kevin derives an enormous sense of accomplishment from his work, and Barbara would miss the friends she has through hers. They wondered if perhaps they didn’t want to retire, they just wanted to know they could.
This is the reaction we see more and more among the disciplined savers we help.
Kevin and Barbara weren’t interested in the conventional idea of “retirement” that has been portrayed in the media because they weren’t conventional people. For one thing, they’d done a better job than most of putting money away. For another, they’d never aspired to what most people strive to afford.
It’s Not Just About Stopping Work
As your Retirement Coach, our goal is not to get you to stop working. Our goal is to get you situated so you never have to work—never have to do anything you don’t want to—ever again. In other words, our job is to help you live your best life during Phase II of your financial life based on how you define it.
Your ideal best life is one in which you do whatever you want, with whomever you want, where, when and however you want, with no dependence on the income from work.
However, many of our Relaxing Retirement members have continued to work well past the point where they needed to because the work they are doing remains inside of their definition of their ideal best life.
Drilling down to what “ideal” means to you requires that you set aside any fears and misconceptions you may have. Look at things you think are facts, and question if they’re really true. Call on your imagination to paint your perfect lifestyle.
Even as an exercise, it’s a massive mindset shift to go from thinking about your responsibilities and constraints to imagining your dreams and freedoms. But that’s what your years of disciplined savings can purchase. You pre-paid then for choices now.
Define Your Ideal Best Life
As potentially morbid as this may be, here is how I recommend you begin. Imagine it’s the day before your last day. Reflect on any regrets you think you might have. In thirty years of doing this, no one has ever told me their vision of the future includes more time doing menial work.
Try to come to this exercise without preconceived notions of what you think you can do. Resist basing your expectations on what your friends are or aren’t able to afford.
Come to it with a completely different mindset. Go in thinking you can have anything you want. Later we’ll put a price tag on it and let The Relaxing Retirement Formula determine whether or not you can afford it all. Because if you could, wouldn’t you like to know?
- What do you never want to do again?
- What are you unwilling to miss any longer?
- What will you regret not having done
- What have you wanted to do forever but didn’t think you could?
Create a picture of your ideal best life that is as detailed, as exciting and inspiring as you can.
Do this without putting any financial constraints on your imagination. Don’t worry whether or not you can afford it just yet. We’ll work on that in the next edition shortly.