Financial Focus - The Rocking Chair
I recently attended a retirement party for a friend and colleague. It was a fun affair with family, friends, colleagues, food and champagne. We had a little fun with his southern accent and sayings, and he had an opportunity to reminisce about his long career. It was a “fine” speech, befitting a southern gentleman. But the piece de resistance of the party, was the gift of a beautiful handmade rocking chair. It was a thing of beauty, a veritable piece of art, ready and waiting to be placed on his front porch.
It got me thinking, what is this thing called retirement? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of retirement is as follows:
- an act of retiring: the state of being retired;
- withdrawal from one's position or occupation or from active working life; and
- the age at which one normally retires or reaches retirement.
In general, not helpful at all! We all have this fuzzy picture of retirement in our heads, most likely from those 50's movies and TV shows. However, after 38 years of helping clients get to and then explore retirement, I can honestly say, retirement ain’t what it used to be. Retirement has become active and dynamic – think bucket lists, lifetime learning and babysitting grandchildren. Well, slap my head and call me silly!
The transition into retirement is seldom easy. Some clients plan ahead, some dread the change and many (surprisingly) just fall into it. However, as Condoleezza Rice said, “Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure — do it well, enjoy it — and then, not now, think about what comes next.” No matter how well you prepare, the joy in life is actually living it.
However, even if you did prepare for retirement, those twists and turns can be exciting, and at times, frightening. For many retirees, money is always on their minds. Per the Department of Labor (DOL), fewer than half of Americans have calculated how much they need to save for retirement. Eventually, everyone will retire, but will you be living the lifestyle that you want, or the one that you can afford? We all have our own lives to fashion and a finite quantity of financial resources. So what are you going to do about it?
For myself, I want that rocker, but I only want to have to sit in it when I choose to do so! Well, I declare! What is my definition of retirement? An opportunity to build on the life I’ve already lived, and to sit in a work of art. What is your definition of retirement and how can we help make it so?
Referrals of family, friends and colleagues who may benefit from financial planning and investment management guidance are always welcome. Thank you for recommending our firm.
To view other articles in the November 2019 Financial Planning Focus newsletter, click here.
West Financial Services, Inc. is an SEC registered investment adviser. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
Information contained herein was derived from third party sources including, but not limited to, Bloomberg, Standard & Poor’s, Dow Jones & Company, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Morningstar, Inc. While the information presented herein is believed to be reliable, no representation or warranty is made concerning the accuracy of any information presented. We have not and will not independently verify this information. Please contact us if you would like to obtain a copy of the third party sources.