Working isn’t for everyone, and neither is retiring. Your passion might be the answer.
When Social Security was created in 1935, it was designed so that elderly Americans, who were seen as too old to reasonably be expected to work regularly, could be cared for financially. The average worker didn’t toil away so that one day they could sit on the couch and watch re-runs of “I Love Lucy.” They worked to provide for their families their entire lives. Wealthier workers and business owners often quit early and lived out their dreams as they aged, but blue collar workers didn’t plan on using their Social Security money to play golf. They also didn’t plan on living much past Social Security age.
Then longevity started becoming a reality.
Between the mid 1930s and today, the average age of death for a U.S. citizen has gone from mid 60s to the late 70s. With medical advances, a new retirement was defined. For several decades, the collective vision of retirement has included vacations, golf, and watching the grandkids’ soccer games. However, it appears we are set to redefine retirement yet again.
An increasingly familiar refrain from my clients has been, “I’m not sure I want to retire in the traditional way.” Not because they don’t have enough money, but because they find they still have so much to offer a company, a non-profit, or their families. “I need to stay busy,” they tell me.
Loving what you do.
Increasingly, we are modeling retirement planning as “transition” planning that includes part-time income from a job the client is passionate about. Sometimes it’s something completely different than what they’re doing now, and other times it’s less of what they do now. In either case, it’s something they love. The questions we ask have changed accordingly. We no longer ask, “When do you want to retire?” Instead we ask, “At what age do you want to know that you’re working because you want to, not because you have to?”
We expect more and more clients to redefine retirement, and that will also change how we speak about money, planning and goals. If you suspect that you will embrace this modern retirement, make sure you are changing your conversations with your financial planner accordingly.