Why Rethinking Retirement Can Lead to a Healthier and Happier Life
Picture this… what’s the first thing that enters your mind with these words?
Anyone can quickly imagine a flower, a friend or music. But, retirement? What does retirement look like?
Most of us think about retirement as “life after 65”, having taken a nice, clean, dramatic transition from the grind of work to a no-pressure, paradise of relaxation.
Picturesque, even ideal you say? Not so fast. That’s the “old school” retirement picture. And it’s an illusion that’s been driven into the American worker’s mind decade after decade after decade. But it takes control out of your hands and creates a host of problems for retirees, from boredom to cutting years off your life.
“Old School Retirement is the norm, not because it’s best for anyone, but because there hasn’t been a better solution,” says Chip Munn, CEO of Signature Wealth Group, Senior Wealth Advisor with RJFS and author of The Retirement Remix.
Now, imagine a better retirement solution that puts the control of your future back into your own hands.
Whether you’re just starting to work, in the middle of your career, or are so close to retirement that a smartphone app counts the minutes and seconds until you retire — rethinking retirement can help you live a happier, healthier life.
What’s Wrong with Old School Retirement?
Picture this typical “old school” retirement scenario: You work your tail off for forty years to accumulate wealth, then you quit your job at 65. No longer a producer of value, you become a full-time consumer for the next twenty or thirty years. You end meaningful contributions to the community.
Sad to say, but that’s our retirement system today. And it hasn’t budged much since its origin when greasy steam engines and clunky typewriters were high-tech. That was a time when a one-size-fits-all retirement would do. And a time when lives were very different than today.
Old School and Outdated
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law eighty years ago, retiring at 65 was a fine and cheery age to quit work — if you lived that long! At the time, men lived to 58 and women to 62, on average. Aging workers with physically demanding jobs sought positions that were less punishing on their bodies, or, they just quit working altogether.
Knowledge workers in today’s Information Age are more likely to want to leave the workforce because they long for more freedom of time and purpose. With increasing life expectancy to over 78 years old, we have the opportunity to lead longer, more productive lives.
The old school retirement system is an antique, from a time long behind us.
Life Expectancy in the United States (1860-2020) Source: statista.com
It’s Personal: One Size Does Not Fit All
The age when people retire is a problem of the old school retirement system. Today, a male retiring at 65 that lives to seventy-eight has thirteen years, or more, of hanging around the house and playing golf.
“Most people pick their “target” retirement date based on either when their parents retired or when their friends plan to retire…oftentimes what I find is it’s rarely about that individual,” adds Signature Wealth Strategies’ Chip Munn.
Your retirement date and what you do in retirement is more important than you may think. If you retire from your full-time job only to embark on a twenty-year program of doing nothing but being a consumer, statistics predict you will die earlier than if you had kept working.1
When you retire and what you do when you retire are personal decisions that should be tailored to your dreams and goals, and are fulfilling and meaningful to you.
Most of us look forward to the idea of moving directly from working life to retired life, into well-deserved, unstructured free time. A time to do exactly what we please when we please – spend time with family, pursue hobbies, volunteer, travel. That is until we get there.
A recent report found that only 53% of Americans said they were happy in retirement.2
Failing retirement is when you tried it and you didn’t like it. Just how could you fail retirement?
Some retirees underestimate how long it takes to adjust to what may be a radically different lifestyle; others miss their friends from work; still, others find themselves with too much free time on their hands between grand adventures and visits with the grandkids.
“There is a better, modern solution to the old school retirement problem, the Retirement Remix — a concept based on the idea that retirement is a journey, rather than a destination.” Chip Munn, CEO of Signature Wealth Group and Senior Wealth Advisor with RJFS
The Retirement Remix: A Modern Retirement Solution
The Retirement Remix was created to eliminate the dividing line between “working” and “retirement.” Putting control of your future back into your own hands.
We’ve created the Six Steps to Your Retirement Remix that will be covered in detail in future blog posts in this space:
- Be Honest with Yourself
- No Need to Feel Guilty
- Set Yourself Free to Be Yourself
- Self-Awareness Isn’t Selfish
- To Thine Own Self Be True
- You Can’t Live Someone Else’s Life
Is it time to rethink your retirement?
“A remixed retirement lets employees continue to do the parts of their job that they enjoy while eliminating some of their headaches. A longer working life allows for continued contribution. A transitional retirement program would give these employees the satisfaction of remaining involved in new innovations.” Chip Munn, CEO of Signature Wealth Group, Financial Advisor magazine, July 9, 20203
We’re Here To Help
Planning your financial and personal future — both as a working person and as you transition into retirement — requires the deft manipulation of many moving parts.
There’s no single cookie-cutter solution, we believe that each client’s story is as unique as his or her signature, and their financial strategy should be too. All you need is an open mind, the desire to make your dreams come true, and the financial and life skills to sustain yourself.
Continue to follow this blog or listen to The Retirement Remix podcast for more information on rethinking retirement.
In the meantime, if we can assist you with any financial planning needs, please contact us.
Sources: 1 The Retirement Remix by Chip Munn, www.theretirementmix.com. 2 Retiree In Training. https://www.raymondjames.com/commentary-and-insights/retirement-longevity/2020/07/15/retiree-in-training. 3 Financial Advisor magazine. “After The Pandemic, Employees Want New Retirement Arrangements” By Karen Demasters. July 9, 2020, https://www.fa-mag.com/news/the-shift-to-phased-in-retirement-57128.html?section=
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. All opinions are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Investing regardless of the strategy selected always involves risk, including the possibility of losing one’s entire investment. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.