If you have seen any of our presentations you have heard the story of Mike being told by his publisher that he had written a book about “not retiring”. Despite using retirement in the title of the book, the reality is our language has not come up with word(s) that describe what is going on in the “retirement” world now. So here are some thoughts.
So where did all the confusion start, well let’s look at the definition of “Work- an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.” Pretty straightforward. There is nothing in the definition about, money, passion, or level of compensation. However if you read anything on the topic, you will see lots of opinions on finding your passion, making the most money, having a career,etc. In the end no matter what you do, if you are putting in an effort you are working. Hopefully you found some passion during your working career if not there is always time in your Victory Lap.
So if you read Chapter 1 in the VLR book you know retirement is no longer a word that works. The word “Retirement-the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.” Leaving one’s first career and living a full life post career is not retiring. In fact many of our Retirement Rebels are busier, more fulfilled and in some cases making more money in their VLR than they ever did in their career. Further if you are working on your terms doing something you enjoy or love, is “work” even the right word?
As you have seen in our blog “full stop retirement” is not an accurate description of what we believe should happen after you leave your first career. Leaving your first career is a new beginning and we believe it will be enhanced if it includes some work. Work is not a bad thing in fact there are many benefits to working and we should not view working as a failure in retirement. When you develop a lifestyle plan, even if you have financial independence doing some level of work provides mental stimulation, socialization, and money, which is never a bad thing. If you have financial independence and don’t need the extra money, donate it, help your kids with a home, upgrade that dream vacation a little, fly premium economy, or go for a 4 star hotel instead of 3 star, or get leather seats in that new car, I think you get my point.
Roaming around the web you will see many of our counterparts in the “self-help” financial world trying to give us a unique insight on what is going on in our world. It is wonderful we are trying to better articulate the new retirement dynamic, you may have heard new words/concepts like: FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), Retire by 40,30, pick an age, Side Hustle, etc. All the concepts are really saying is achieve Financial Independence, the sooner the better. Having to work vs. wanting to work is a very liberating experience no matter at what age this is achieved. But don’t feel you are failing if you do not achieve FI at a younger age, you have lots of time to make it happen and hey if you want you can earn income well into your retirement.
We caution you to beware of “hot takes” across the web. If you are in a position to retire and you have not saved $5MM or as one famous pundit recently suggested $10MM, take a breath. We are all on different paths and we all have different Lifestyle and Financial plans. The reality is many of the bloggers, authors, and pundits talking about retiring early, are simply moving from their first career to self-employment, so not really retiring. Your goal should be to achieve financial independence, that gives you choice and reduces stress. Having a financial plan and a lifestyle plan will give you some clarity on your personal circumstance .
What we know for sure is the old concept of working until you reach a full stop retirement is gone. The paradigm will see us do some amount of work well after our first career ends. If you who have left your first career or are nearing the end of your first career, we are on the leading edge of the new paradigm, so get out and work, if you want. The days of having a work career with one company or even in one industry are over. Our children will have up to 7 jobs and our grandchildren will have 7 times as many jobs as our children, earning income from multiple sources at the same time. Don’t let the noise on social media scare you, embrace the fact that we are capable of so much today. Working in retirement is a good thing and not a failure. The rules have changed since we started our careers. We all need to change our mindsets and adapt.
So get your financial and lifestyle plans together and execute your plans it is exhilarating and allows you to tune out the words and noise.