Myths of Retirement
Seven Illusions, delusions, and downright lies about retirement
Posted January 17, 2011
You’ve heard most of them before. They seem like well-meaning retirement advice. But beware: the following illusions, delusions and downright lies about retirement can be dangerous to your retirement well-being.
1. If you have enough money, your retirement will take care of itself. Wrong, wrong, wrong! This is the biggest and most dangerous lie about retirement. Of course, money is important. Yet, money is only one of 15 “must haves” for a thriving retirement. Focusing only on the tangible financial aspects of retirement and ignoring the other, less tangible, “must haves” is a prescription for disaster. While taking charge of your life, having dreams for the future, and a purpose that pulls you out of bed in the morning are not as quantifiable as, say, $1.3 million in assets, they are just as crucial.
2. You lost your shirt in the stock market and you’ll have to work seven years after your dead in order to afford to retire. Maybe, if you’re buying into the conventional wisdom that you’ll need 80% of your current income to maintain your current lifestyle. But, honestly, are you that crazy about your current lifestyle?
Don’t delude yourself into thinking you have to keep doing what you’re doing just because you don’t have enough money. Jump out of that narrow box you’re in. Be bold. Think big. There are lots of great ways to supplement your retirement income (i.e. seasonal employment) and/or create new revenue streams beyond your wildest imagination (i.e. packaging what you already know and selling it).
Not feeling especially bold? Then answer the question: “What’s enough”? and you just may find you can retire on a lot less and enjoy life a lot more.
3. You can’t afford to live a meaningful life. Understand this. You can’t afford not to live a meaningful life. In fact, it’s essential to a thriving retirement—right up at the top of the list with the “must have” of money. And, it doesn’t matter if you’re rolling in dough and have all the free time in the world, or if you need to get financially creative in the “third half” of life and create new sources of income.
Figure out what would be the most fulfilling and invigorating for you, follow your heart’s desire, and pursue your goals with gusto. Write that book, start a business, get behind a cause, or (fill in the blank.)
You owe it to yourself to take the time in your retirement planning to discover a clearly defined purpose—one that enriches your world and puts a great big smile on your face.
4. You’ve worked hard all your life and now you deserve to rest and play. Research shows that the traditional “all play, no purpose” retirement can be deadly. Sure you enjoy your leisure time and need your rest, but are you ready for that proverbial pasture quite yet? Remember, in order for leisure to be leisure, it must be a diversion. So, if that’s all there is in your life, what (and where) is the purpose?
Instead of designing a life of only leisure, design a leisurely lifestyle that not only rejuvenates your spirit, but fills your life with meaning. (See #3)
5. Your partner will be thrilled to join you in traveling around the country in an RV, playing golf 24/7, and/or... Think again, because it’s highly likely that you’re not even remotely on the same wavelength. Again, it’s really important to take time in your planning. Find out what your partner expects from retirement long before you retire. And while you’re at it, make a commitment to the health and growth of your relationship, now, before you retire. It’s impossible to have a happy retirement if you’re in a dismal relationship.
6. Retirement means the end of life as you’ve known it. Don’t be fooled into thinking that what you do in your present life is more important than who you’ll be in your retirement. How will you spend the precious gift of the next 30+ years? You could crawl in a hole and pull the dirt in over you. Or, you could make each day a grand new adventure.
Seize the opportunity to grow and stretch into the best possible you. By moving away from the materialistic “What am I”, of your pre-retirement life and moving toward the more spiritual “Who am I”, you’ll be traveling on the path of a rejuvenating and revitalizing retirement.
7. You’re too old to make a difference. Baloney! Okay, you’re not as young as you used to be, and the world is a great big mess. But, don’t just sit there. Dare to dream. You may not be able to end world hunger, but you could end hunger on your block or in your community. And, if you happen to stumble upon a way to end world hunger in the process, more power to you. What’s important is that you harness your amazing wisdom, resources, creativity, brilliance and ingenuity to impact your small corner of the planet. What are you waiting for?
Lin Schreiber, PCC, is a Retirement Revolutionary who loves helping self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement.” Lin is featured on the PBS series Boomers: Redefining Life After Fifty, and is the author of The ABC’s of Retiring Retirement. A Professional Certified Coach, Certified Retirement Coach, and founder of Revolutionize Retirement, Lin combines her contagious enthusiasm, nonstop energy, and passion for her subject to create a fun, dynamic learning environment that energizes and inspires her audiences.