Retirement can mean different things for different people.
- In the traditional sense, you work until a ‘normal’ retirement age such as 65, then do a lot of golfing, travel, and other leisure activities.
- For others, it is a way to gain financial independence where you can pursue your own interests and not rely on a paycheck. Any ‘work’ you do is because you want to, not because you have to. This has gained a lot of traction with the ‘FIRE’ movement (Financial independence, Retire Early)
Many people only think of retirement as a goal, which it is, but it needs to be thought of as a project.
You have all the components of a project – For Example:
- You have an objective: – Financial Independence to allow me to pursue other life interests.
2. You have a timeline: I want to leave the corporate world by age 55.
3. You have your definition of a completed project:
- I need to be eligible to collect my pension
- I need to be debt free
- I need to have at least $xxxx per month in income from my investments, pension, social security, rental properties, etc..
4. You Setup a Plan:
- Determine how much to invest each year to be able to generate the income you need
- Make extra payments on any debts
- Adjust current lifestyle to free up additional funds for investments
5. You Review and Adjust your plan on a regular basis.
The problem with many people is that they have a hard time ending the project when they have met their definition of success. There are all kinds of excuses to not leave the security of a steady job:
- I’ll work one more year just to save extra money.
- The company is going to pay a good bonus next year, I’ll stay on so I can collect it.
- The economy doesn’t look very good right now, I’ll wait until things improve.
Like a game, your project needs to have an ending; nobody likes to be on a project that never ends. In a Football game, at the end of 4 quarters whoever leads is the winner. You don’t see the coach adding more time to the clock just so they can score 1 more touchdown to beat their opponent by a wider margin than they already have. They already won the game and should celebrate their victory. It should be the same with your ‘Retirement’ game. Once you have met your objectives, end the game and celebrate!
I have seen many people that retire from their current job and then go and get another job. They are not ending the game, they are just adding time to the clock. As long as you need to be working for money you are not really retired. Your goal was financial independence. Any work you do should be something you would be willing to do for free because you enjoy it so much. If you also happen to get paid for doing it, that’s a bonus.
The great thing that happens when you end a game or project is that you can then start a new one! What new interest do you want to pursue? Whatever it is, start on this project next.