You want to know what retirement is?
Retirement is a word. That’s it. Just a word.
As I have mentioned before, retirement is still a relatively new concept.
The modern concept of retirement has been around slightly longer than we have been flying.
I mean, how much has flying changed since then? A plane that basically looks like it was built backwards and flew for 12 seconds covering 180 feet has evolved to Voyager 1 which has now traveled 14.5 billion miles in space.
I’ve talked about how much the average lifespan has changed. We’ve gone from 31 years in 1900 to 73 years in 2019.
The average lifespan when Social Security was introduced was almost a decade less than the full Social Security qualification age of 65.
My world that is the financial services industry likes to create these “ideal” retirements for their marketing campaigns. You know – wear linen, walk along the beach, golf, buy a labradoodle, have a sailboat, and more.
That is perfectly fine if that too is your ideal retirement. However, it is also perfectly fine if your retirement is the opposite.
You know, you keep working, but shift professions. Maybe a shift from medical sales to running your own ice cream shop.
Or you stop working completely and instead take lots of classes at your local college. Has anyone been worse off by getting more education?
Dare I even talk about this concept? You decide retirement in the traditional sense just isn’t for you and you head back to work.
We all know at least one person who has retired more than once. Usually because retirement wasn’t what they thought it would be. As one person I know who has “retired” three times said – “there was only so much golf I could play.”
My point is simply that retirement is how you define it. The word is completely written by you and you alone. Don’t’ fixate on what my industry is telling you your retirement should look like. And please do not compare yourself to the Jones’. Just know retirement is a word that solely belongs to you.
I’m Dan Johnson, CFP®, founder of Forward Thinking Wealth Management. I run a flat-fee financial planning and investment management firm located in beautiful Akron, OH. Although I am in Akron, OH, I work with clients regardless of location. I cater to owners of equity compensation positions who are looking to organize their financial lives, keep more of what they make, and do the things they want in retirement and even now.