Ahhh! Retirement….. the end goal for many. I’ve advised and coached many clients as the financial planner for my team when I was at Merrill Lynch. This is where I first began to see the cracks in the traditional concept around ‘work’ and ‘retirement’. Traditionally, you work during the prime of your life, invest in a retirement fund and when you hit that magical age, you no longer have to work…. Yeah! Life complete, time to grab an ice tea and sit on the lanai (porch) and watch the world go by.
The biggest challenge I saw for my high net worth clients when they achieved the traditional retirement was “now what?”. Many of my clients failed to consider what life would be like after their work career. There was no vision. The focus and intensity on acquiring money took precedence over their lifestyle and in some cases, over family.
I was one of those people.
I’ve discovered that a life focused on money . . . . . and work for that matter, is often times a reflection of society’s value (money story) and not necessarily our own. After spending much of my life managing the ‘income’ side of the ledger (make more money, everything will be ok), I’ve learned that if I manage the ‘expense’ of the ledger, I could free up time to focus on the things that are truly important to me. The bigger question is; ‘what is truly important to you’.
My concept around ‘work’ has been replaced with ‘providing value to the community’. If I can provide value to the community that is in line my core values, then it’s not really work, I just do what I love to do. If I don’t work, I don’t really retire (retirement being a discontinuation of your work life). Do what you love and do it all of the time just be sure to provide some value to yourself.
It sounds simple, but may be difficult to implement. If you’ve reached a balance in your life that resembles the pie chart above, well done!