Another RRSP season is now behind us and I don’t know if it’s just me but this one seemed more low key than usual. Maybe Mr. Trump was hogging all the airwaves this time around?
What concerns me is that the advertisers continue to sell us a version of retirement that doesn’t reflect the current reality for many people. The images of the carefree happy couple sitting on a beach while sipping on a strawberry daiquiri, or the couple sailing on a yacht, smiling with the sun shining and the wind blowing through their hair.
My personal favorite is the one with a happy couple playing golf on a picturesque course beside the ocean. You can almost hear the sound of the putt going into the hole for a birdie. If life was only like that!
How many of us actually know people that own their own yachts? No me, but the advertisers have been showing us these same commercials for the past fifty years. The only change today the black and white images are now in colour. How is that for progress?
I hate to be the one to break it to you but the following picture is a good depiction of what current retirement looks like for many people!! I love this picture as it makes me smile but also serves to remind me of the type of lifestyle that I want to avoid as I continue to design my own. I wonder why the couple are wearing warm clothes while watching tv? Have they turned down the thermostat in order to save on heating costs? And while she looks happy, he appears very bored and who wants to be bored for the rest of their lives? I sure don’t!
Retirement wasn’t meant to be this way and the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. The payoff for working hard all those years and successfully climbing out of the big dip is that you have the opportunity to design your lifestyle, a lifestyle that will provide a great joy and satisfaction for your remaining years. We should plan and live life that goes beyond traditional work, a life that works for us, not the fantasy life advertisers tell us “retirement” years should be.
This “ideal retirement” message is causing many people a lot of anxiety because they know in their hearts that this vision is unobtainable. The advertisers are good at making us feel that we are not good enough if we cannot buy what the beautiful people are buying. This kind of thinking (brainwashing) is just plain wrong and needs to stop.
Financial Planning Fails Without Life Planning
I always shake my head when the latest survey is released confirming that most people still do not have a financial plan. People just assume that the more money they save for retirement the better off they will be. What most people fail to understand is that just achieving a certain level of savings does not guarantee a happy retirement.
I’m also concerned that many of the people that do have a plan do not have a good vision of what exactly they are saving for. If you don’t know what you want to do, how can you and/or your advisor possibly know how much your Victory Lap Lifestyle Questions on Victory Lap Retirement will cost?
A good financial advisor will sit down with you and discuss in detail what you want out of life, then figure out how to build the financial resources to pay for those things that are important to you. Both of you need to know that the lifestyle plan is aligned with the financial plan. The key is that your vision drives the plan, you need to be the one designing it, it’s not something you can just delegate to your advisor. You need to direct the process and hold yourself accountable for planning a successful Victory Lap. If you don’t know where to start we would be happy to help. Not everyone will want to put in the effort, unfortunately they may be the ones that end up on the couch. Designing your Victory Lap requires work but with all good things, planning and hard work pays off in the end and we are talking about your life.
So, don’t spend the rest of your life sitting there worrying about how long you will live, how much money you saved for retirement, or how the world has gone mad. Ignore the noise, take action, make a plan and start doing the things you enjoy while you are still healthy enough to do them.
It’s a much better alternative to just sitting on the couch for the next thirty years. Trust me on that.