Labor Day

I always enjoy Labor Day weekend because it gives us an opportunity to reflect, to celebrate, and, for some, to ask a very important question.


Reflection because we’ve all spent a significant amount of our time on this earth working in order to support and create the best possible life for ourselves and our families.

There’s an enormous sense of pride that goes along with that, and reinforcing that pride at least once a year is very important.


Celebration for those who are no longer working in order to support themselves and their families. They’ve done such a good job managing and accumulating financial reserves that they no longer need to work if they don’t want to.

This is where the overwhelming majority of Relaxing Retirement members find themselves and they have so much to be proud of.

After all, social security statistics consistently confirm that only 6% of Americans achieve financial independence and continue their lifestyle into their retirement years, while 94% do not.

As you stop and think about that amazing statistic, remember that the whole concept of “retirement” (living without “having” to work for the income you need) has only been around for less than 75 years for anyone other than the super rich!

75 years! That’s it. What you’re experiencing did not exist before that. For thousands and thousands of years, today’s concept of ‘retirement’ did not exist.

Prior to that time, you worked until you passed away, or until you were unable to physically and your family supported you.

Still Working

A subsection of those who are celebrating are actually still working. We have several Relaxing Retirement members in this category, and I think it’s terrific.

Just because ‘society’ defines “retirement” as no longer working doesn’t mean that you have to live that definition.

As I’ve shared with many of you, I will never “retire” by society’s definition.

True retirement is your ability to do:

  • What you want,

  • When you want,

  • Where you want, and

  • With whomever you choose to do it with

All without having to depend on the income from “work” to support your lifestyle.

If this is where you are, then you’re doing it right and have every reason to celebrate!


Finally, Labor Day presents many with an opportunity to ask a very important question:

“Am I working because I want to, or because I believe I need to?”

If you’re in this camp, the question I have for you is how do you know?

If you’ve done all the analysis necessary, and carefully determined that you still need to work, that’s great. You’re making the decision to continue to work based on fact, not emotional opinion or media manipulation.

However, in my experience, I’ve encountered far, far too many individuals who are still grinding it out every day, not because they want to, but because they believe that they still ‘need’ to.

And, the reason they think they ‘need’ to is rarely based on careful analysis and fact.

It’s typically based on many years of conditioning, like:

  • “You can’t retire if you still have a mortgage”, or

  • “You have to wait until you can collect social security”, or

  • “You can’t retire unless you have $1 million in the bank, or $2 million, $3 million, $4 million…”, or

  • You have to wait until you’re eligible for Medicare because ‘nobody’ can afford health insurance”

The answer for all of these conditioned beliefs is “maybe”. Maybe they’re true for you, and maybe they’re not.

None of these statements is a universal truth. The answer lies in your personal numbers because everybody’s priorities and resources are drastically different.

Over the last 24 years, I’ve worked with countless numbers of individuals who have “grossly underestimated” their ability to stop working if they want to, only to find out that they could have stopped working one, two, or three years ago, but they didn’t know it.

As disturbing as this thought is, imagine discovering that your health is rapidly failing with no long term cure in sight. And, at the same time you also discover that you could have afforded to comfortably stop working 3 years ago if you chose to, but you didn’t even know it.

Don’t fall into that trap. Take the time to rationally understand your own personal numbers to the point where you can confidently make educated decisions, instead of basing your life decisions on erroneous ‘rules of thumb’ or ‘outdated’ conditioned beliefs.

As anyone who has achieved complete financial independence will tell you, knowing that you don’t need to work changes EVERYTHING.

Even if you choose not to.

Committed To Your Relaxing Retirement,

Jack Phelps
The Retirement Coach

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