Good Morning Relaxing Retirement Member,

On this Labor Day weekend, established over one hundred years ago to celebrate the achievements of American workers, I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate all of our Relaxing Retirement members who no longer “need” to work anymore because they did such a good job exercising the discipline to work, save, and accumulate over decades of their working life.

By our count, there are seven Relaxing Retirement members who have transitioned over to Phase II of their financial lives so far this year, and thus won’t have any need to celebrate “Labor Day” because they no longer “need” to work to support their lifestyle!

If you are one of those who entered this elite group, or if you’re already there, take a moment to reflect on just how incredible an accomplishment that is.

Think about it…

You’ve put yourself in a position to no longer need to work to support your desired lifestyle for the rest of your life which joint life expectancy statistics demonstrate could be 30+ years!

Historically speaking, this is extremely rare.  The whole concept of “retirement” (i.e. living without working for the income you need to support your desired lifestyle) has been around for less than 100 years in human history.

And, for a good chunk of that time, it was only for the super wealthy!

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

Statistics consistently confirm that only a tiny percentage of Americans achieve complete financial independence and continue their lifestyle into their retirement years, while the overwhelming majority do not.

If you’re in that elite group, you’re in a very special minority.

Be incredibly proud of that!

If You’re Still Working…

If you are still working, you likely fall into one of two categories:

Group One: You’re working, not because you have to, but because you still “want” to.

You’ve carefully prepared, you know your numbers cold, you’ve run your forecasts, and you know you don’t need to work for income.  However, you still enjoy what you’re doing so why give it up?

As I shared in my book, The Relaxing Retirement Formula, we have several Relaxing Retirement members who choose to continue working in some capacity, but 100% on their terms.  Just because “society” defines “retirement” as no longer working doesn’t mean that you have to live that definition.

As you likely know by now, I will never “retire” by society’s definition.

As I shared in the book, many, with no financial necessity driving them, keep doing their work, but stop going into the office every day. They work from home or from their second house down south during the winter. Others go half time. Still others completely redefine their professional lives. They leave one business and launch a completely new one, sometimes in the same field, sometimes in an entirely different one. I’ve seen an operations officer become an entrepreneur, and a software engineer go to work for a theater company. But they were both doing the same thing—exactly what they’d always wanted to.

Many of our members create a hybrid, working retirement. They sit on boards or consult in their industries—doing so only on their own terms. They arrange their lives so they can go to warmer weather for six months a year, and conduct their important meetings by telephone. They apply their business and leadership skills to charitable organizations, or they become mentors. Some hire a weekly landscaping service because they never want to do yardwork again. Others mow their own grass into their eighties because they like the exercise. A relaxing retirement is one that frees you from chores and obligations that annoy you, not one that makes you give up any of the work you enjoy.

True retirement does not mean stopping work.  Instead, it’s 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.

That’s what I refer to as “the catbird seat”, and that’s the position you want to be in.

Group Two: You’re working because you believe you “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 necessary homework, you know your numbers cold, you’ve run your forecasts, and you’ve carefully determined that you still need to work, that’s great.  You’re making a rational decision.  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 too many individuals who are still grinding it out every day, not because they want to, but because they believe that they still “have” to.

And, the reason they think they “have” 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’re 66 when you can collect full social security”, or
    • You can’t retire unless you have $1 million, 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 30 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.

Imagine finding out 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.

Committed To Your Relaxing Retirement,

Jack Phelps
The Retirement Coach

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(The content of this letter does not constitute a tax opinion. Always consult with a competent tax professional service provider for advice on tax matters specific to your situation.)