Even though modern-day retirement has been around for less than a century, the way of preparing for and living-out retirement is already deeply ingrained in our society. Everyone, including Baby Boomers, know nothing other than the “old way” of retirement planning. While traditional methods of retirement planning have good intentions, they actually perpetuate a massive problem for retirees.
The “old way” of doing retirement is as follows:
- Meet with a retirement professional one to four times a year. Much of this time with a retirement professional is spent talking about account balances, portfolio performances and possible changes to investments. If it hasn’t happened already, the portfolio of a retiree becomes the center-of-attention.
- Monitoring your accounts. One common, but unpleasant habit retirees often start is frequently and routinely checking their account balances to see how much they are up or down in the market. This habit unknowingly begins to fixate the mental real estate of a retiree even more on money.
- Watching financial news. Since retirees have more time on their hands, watching more TV begins to fill open time. Unfortunately, the channel (or their web browser) ends up on financial-driven news channels and sites. The news media is doing retirees no favors now-a-days. It’s now “emotional media” with headlines purposefully created to get your attention and produce fear. It’s a domino effect. As fear increases, more time and attention is focused on money, account balances, the stock market and portfolio performance.
- Watching “free” financial seminars. Retirees are hit with tons of information – webinars or seminars either by way of TV or the internet with the latest-and-greatest strategies for making more money with less work. The truth is most of these seminars wish to sell you another financial product you probably don’t need.
- Having financial conversations with friends. Socializing in retirement is great and good for the soul. However, money and finances are usually one of the most popular topics of conversation among retirees. Again, this is another opportunity for a retiree’s mindset to be fixated on finances.
- Volunteer occasionally, get involved in church. Most retirees are good people. They were raised with traditional values. So, by virtue they volunteer or get involved in organizations like church. The problem is these kind acts are usually done haphazardly with little regard to one’s personal mission statement, purpose and calling.
- Busy work. Busy work is defined as “work without purpose”. It’s time-filler. While there is nothing wrong with striving to have a nice lawn, oftentimes retirees find activities like yard work as a way to have something to do. Without intention, retirees will easily spend six to eight hours a day “busy”, but doing very little.
- Start a new hobby, join a club. Much like volunteering, retirees inherently know retirement can be a great time to start a new hobby or join a club. But again, it is rarely done much intentionality and used more as a means to just “stay busy.”
- Get an RV, travel more. Buying an RV and traveling is the quintessential American dream retirement. Since society has imposed a life of leisure as the retirement standard and the financial industry has offered no answers for the life of a retiree beyond financial, retirees take-on this “American dream” almost instinctively for themselves.
- Move to warmer climate. The induction of retirement communities in 1960 has completely revolutionized retirement living for the past four generations. One of the ultimate dreams and desires for retirees is to either move to or buy a second home in a warm climate. No other time in human history has moving away from family been part of the aging process – now it is assumed and encouraged.
The “old way” essentially boils retirement down into two categories: money and leisure. Retirees are left to spend much of their newfound time thinking or worrying about money while mixing in some travel, hobbies and volunteering – with no purpose or plan of executing what should be the most impactful, exhilarating and fulfilling time of a person’s life.
If you follow the “old way” long enough, retirement will let you down. You’ll be bored and unfulfilled. You will secretly know that there’s more, but you’ll have a hard time expressing it because every other retiree is doing the exact same thing. You’ll have idle time. Idle time is either non-purposeful time (busy work, watching TV, etc.) or time spent on non-essential tasks like monitoring account balances and daily news headlines. Worst of all, you feel like time is slipping away and you won’t know what to do about it.
Bottom line: society and the financial industry have not prepared you effectively for retirement.
The “old way” just doesn’t work.
It’s time for a better way.
Co-Founder of Retire Repurposed