Retirement “ain’t what it used to be,” or likely isn’t what we thought it would be. Playing golf, walking on the beach, sipping martinis by the pool, and traveling will be only part of the retirement picture. What else will define these final decades of our lives?
A quick history on the evolution of retirement: In the 1930s, the government was looking for ways to convince older men to retire. Social Security was enacted as an enticement to lure workers into retirement. The retirement age was set at 65 because of the predominant belief that our mental acuity and physical stamina begin to slow at age 65. The average life expectancy was age 63. If you were lucky, you might have 5 to 10 years in retirement. In the 1950s, in an effort to convince workers to retire and purchase retirement products, the financial industry started marketing retirement as an individual’s rightful reward for his/her years of labor and loyal service.
Today, average life expectancy is close to age 80 and many individuals are living healthy, active lives into their 90s. The possibility of 15 to 25 years of retirement has us rethinking the traditional view of retirement. Many of us are choosing to work longer for our financial well-being, for the well-being of our relationships, and for the well-being of society.
Prior to starting retirement, you need to have a plan. Review our questionnaire, What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning? As you ponder the questions, remember you have 168 hours to fill each and every week. How will you allocate your time between Family/Friends, Work/Career, Downtime, Sleep, Health/Fitness, and Personal Growth?
Once you have some ideas, take your retirement for a test drive. Live on your retirement budget for 3 to 6 months. Plot out an ideal week and month. And remember, “Retirement” is not a “one and done” decision; all of us require time and experimentation to find the proper balance in our lives.
This information is believed to be accurate but should not be used as specific investment or tax advice. You should always consult your tax professional or other advisors before acting on the ideas presented here.