I had an interesting conversation with my Certified Financial Planner professional the other day. I recently made a change in advisors and in the process of establishing the engagement, we have been reviewing all aspects of my financial plan. That of course, includes retirement.
Like any good planner, he asked the question: At what age are you thinking of retiring? Well, let me tell you how I resisted answering that question! I wanted to send him straight to this blog so he could understand that retirement ain’t what it used to be (I exclaim with indignation! 🙂 ). Like many other Canadians, I will likely work for quite some time — not just for financial reasons but because I get a lot of satisfaction from my work. According to many recent polls, I am not alone.
But my CFP did understand. He said: “Well, Eileen, I have a different definition of retirement. Rather than it being a fixed date when you stop working, I see it more as a time (projected) when you will have the freedom to choose. It may or may not include work but you have that freedom to decide.”
Ohhhhh…I like the sound of that. The ‘freedom to choose’ ….isn’t that delicious?
It can be daunting to pin-point a date in time when you will retire (especially if you are still young…literally…or ‘at heart’). So reframing it to ‘freedom to choose’ (whether work is part of your retirement or not) is much more palatable and easier to do when it feels you are years away. The bottom line is you do need to prepare financially and you need a target time-frame. But this definition offers some much appreciated wiggle room on what retirement will mean to you.
Some people will argue that you always have a choice. But let’s be real. Different lifestages bring different commitments. If you are early in the mortgage, raising kids, sending them to school (like many Canadians), then you gotta work hard to bring in the dough. But at some point, those obligations shift and there does come a time for many when there can be a loosening up of the wealth accumulation agenda (unless you are committed to spend, spend spend). Do you have to work as hard? Do you want to? Maybe, maybe not.
Getting clear on your goal age to have freedom to choose is both a financial planning question and a life planning question. Success in the UNretiredLife involves planning in all three dimensions: work + life + financial.
If you don’t yet have a financial planner yet, I encourage you to check out Financial Planning Standards Council and select their ‘choose a planner’ function to find a CFP professional in your area. And do check out the tips in what to consider when hiring (disclaimer: I have a professional involvement with FPSC and I believe wholeheartedly in their mission).
And if you would like some help with the life planning dimension — to explore your possibilities, then give me a call!
To your version of a meaningful UNretiredLife!