One of the stories I can vividly remember my father telling me years back was related to his pride at managing his money in retirement. At the time, both my father and mother lived on their social security and some modest savings held in a 401k. Dad frequently bragged that he lived better, traveled more, and seemed to have more fun than many of his friends who retired with big homes and generous pensions. From my perspective, at least at the time, their lifestyle seemed more humble and restricted than I felt necessary. Yet now, less than 20 years later, I recognize that their simple and minimal lifestyle afforded them tremendous benefits that millions of other “hope-to-be-retirees” could learn from—including myself. [Read more…]
“If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.” ~Confucius
A good friend of mine plans to retire in the next couple of months. She’s earned it. After working at a challenging job for over 25 years, she’s more than ready to move on to something new. But underlying that excitement I detected a bit of worry about the uncertainty before her. That mixed message of elation and concern got me thinking about how Thom and I are approaching our future. What I realized was that in our quest to rightsize our lives, Thom and I have gradually slipped into what we are calling semi-retirement in a natural and stress-free way. While so many people our age are asking an all-or-nothing question about retirement, rightsizing right now might be the best solution of all.
Back in our twenties, Thom and I wanted to be millionaires. TV shows like Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? fueled the desire to amass our fortune. Then somewhere along the way someone really SMART asked Thom, “Why a millionaire?” and forced him to consider what he meant by that idea. For the first, time Thom began listing experiences and feelings that he hoped to achieve if and when he/we became millionaires. To which his friend said something like, “So it’s really the feelings and experiences you want—not the money itself?” From that moment forward, we began realizing that the labels of being rich, poor or somewhere in-between had little to do with the actual quality or experience of our lives. In fact, the things we thought most important could be realized with far less income than we ever imagined. That’s why through the years we’ve come to believe that “right-sizing” is a much better way to describe the unique and priceless lifestyle that brings you happiness, purpose and peace of mind regardless of your age. Once you have that clear picture of what brings you a happy and quality lifestyle, you can begin to figure out the second step of where money fits into your life. [Read more…]
Retirement is a big topic for many of us in midlife. The usual approach is to figure out how much money you can possibly save up so that you can continue the lifestyle you have created for you and your family. The other approach is to downsize and sacrifice so you can live on whatever you think you’ll be forced to get by living on and with. There is another way. Several years ago Thom and I came up with what is a middle (and we think better) way that is seldom mentioned. That way is to “right-size” your life as soon as possible. Then whether you choose to finally retire, or decide you will continue creating in some capacity for as long as you live—your life will be filled with qualities and activities that bring you happiness, purpose, and peace of mind. [Read more…]