“Retirement? Bah! You can’t get there from here! Even if you could, you’d be better off somewhere else.”
That seems to be the common theme of a wide assortment of financial authors, bloggers, TV personalities and writers. But I didn’t buy that core message when I retired a couple of years ago, and I don’t buy it now.
Forget about retiring, they’re telling the 4.4 million (or so) Canadians who are likely to retire in the next 10 years. It’s true, of course, that not everyone will be able to retire when and how they want. But some naysayers attack the very idea of retirement.
“Retirement’s an impractical, outdated concept … it costs too much … and you wouldn’t like it anyway.”
I’m pretty good at spotting messages delivered by people with conflicts of interest. There are lots of self-interested people talking in the retirement/working world and their interests aren’t always aligned with yours.
Not all retirement naysayers are trying to trick you. But every time I hear one of these negative messages, I silently think of my personal rebuttal:
- “You’ll be bored.” No, I won’t. I’m retired and I travel, I learn, I grow, I exercise, I’m healthy and I spend my time with the most wonderful woman I know.
- “You’ll be boring.” No more so than before. (There never was much demand for my stories of the project meetings that used to fill my workdays!)
- “You’ll be too poor to enjoy it.” Sure, I could use more money, but that’s always been true. I have a happy, fulfilling, life; how much happier and more fulfilling it would be with more money is anyone’s guess.
- “You won’t have saved enough money.” And if a financial advisor working on my detailed, written financial plan told me that, I’d be crazy not to listen. There’s no question that it’s essential to have a sound financial plan before you retire. But no one else can accurately describe what my desired lifestyle will cost or other details specific to my own situation.
- “You’ll lose your sense of purpose.” I suppose I might have, if my job had provided my primary sense of purpose in life, but it didn’t.
- “You’ll get old before your time.” Unless my physical or mental health forces me to age, I believe that I can choose whether to stay young or get old. We’ve all got a lifetime supply of choices.
- “You aren’t going to like the lifestyle.” Everyone has his or her own ideas of what an attractive retirement looks like, but don’t let naysayers define your retirement. When we bought the 1,500-square-foot bungalow we retired to, one fellow told me he didn’t think the building code permitted such puny houses. But we’ve found it’s perfectly suited to our needs.
If naysayers are giving you grief over the possibility of your retirement, I suggest that you steadfastly believe in two things: one, yourself; and two, credible financial numbers that apply to the life you have planned.
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