Why Haven’t You Retired?

by: Michelle Ogden, CFP®, CRPS®, CKA®

Why Haven’t you Retired?

As a wealth advisor, I spent a lot of time doing what is popularly called retirement planning with my clients. The goal is to make sure they have a sufficient income to fund their desired lifestyle after they are no longer working—but there’s so much more to it than that, and it really should be known as life planning.

As part of the process, I ask a lot of questions, like: What does retirement look like to you? Where will you live? How will you spend your time? Will you continue to work, either at your present occupation or a new one? If you’re going to work, will it be part-time or full-time? Will you travel, volunteer, or take up a new hobby?

The most important question is this:

Why aren’t you retired now?
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Why aren’t you living your retirement vision now?

My definition of retirement is that season of life when you get to do “more of what you love to do and less of what you have to do (that you don’t love)”.

The cornerstone of retirement planning is your anticipated cost of living—specifically, what will it cost for you to maintain the lifestyle you envision for your retirement? Figuring out the cost is basic arithmetic. Deciding on the lifestyle can be more complicated.

Is your dream retirement lifestyle drastically different from how you’re living now? I’m not talking about things like your kids being grown and on their own, I’m talking about how and where you spend the bulk of your time. For most of us, that’s working.

We were never meant to earn our living doing something that we hate so much that we can’t wait to quit doing it. If that’s you—if the number one reason you’re looking forward to retirement is because you want to stop working, you need to take a look at what’s wrong with the work you’re doing. If you’re looking forward to retiring for other reasons, think about how you can make those things happen now.

Do you need to plan for the future? Of course. Especially when we’re young and middle-aged, we need to work hard, to save and invest, to prepare so that our so-called golden years are truly golden.

But as you do that, do what you can to make every day as rich and rewarding as possible. Remember, “money doesn’t buy happiness, but happiness may make you rich” in all the important ways. Be happy now—don’t wait.

Define what retirement looks like for you and move toward it sooner rather than later. Start today making the changes that will let you spend most of your time doing what you love.


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