Rethinking Retirement

Photo provided by Northwestern Mutual Associate Wealth Management Advisor in Cincinnati Ben Beshear


The word “retirement” has a different meaning for everyone. For most, retirement is known as a time of joy, engaging in activities of interest, travel, and more time with loved ones. As people are living longer and healthier lives, the challenge of achieving this lifelong dream is greater, therefore changing the way retirement is viewed. The traditional approach, work and save until you hit your “number,” is no longer the only strategy. Many of our clients are taking a different approach.

Here are three approaches to retirement we see today:

1. Conventional: Work until you have enough saved to stop working entirely. Finally, you can spend time with family, travel, try a new hobby or simply relax. No more deadlines and long hours. Each morning you get to ask yourself, “What would l like to do today?”

2. Part-time: This approach is popular for those in a demanding profession, or those who want to start a business. Instead of grinding through work into your 60’s, full-time work begins to phase out in your late 40’s or 50’s. The years of training and experience begin to yield dividends. You take more control of your time, finding a nice work/life balance which wasn’t always an option. Many also find value in being able to choose the type of work they engage in.  Working at their own pace, these people often enjoy working beyond the traditional age 65.

3. Mini-Careers: Have you ever wanted to try a new career but the change might delay your retirement? Many people have multiple mini-careers and mini-retirements throughout their working life. Essentially, one picks a career and works in this area for a period. Followed by a short retirement, until deciding the next career opportunity. This process is repeated.

Throughout the years, we have found many conventional retirees become bored and complacent relatively soon after leaving the workforce. To make matters worse, the “save first” mindset which allowed them to be able to retire tends to linger into retirement, leaving many retirees scared to spend down their nest egg for travel, golf or entertainment of any kind. But some of our happiest clients successfully found a way to alleviate these concerns. They made a fundamental shift in the way they view retirement.

Instead of the “no work and all play” mantra, they look at retirement as an opportunity to engage in fulfilling work mixed with fulfilling leisure, achieving the work/life balance they desired during their entire careers. Because of this balance, some retirees tend to work longer in years, not necessarily hours, and they enjoy it. They find work which is fulling and helps them find their purpose. As the old saying goes, “Find work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  The extra income can reduce the withdrawals needed from their retirement accounts to support lifestyle, and can also allow for more spending throughout your entire life.

For many, one of the best retirement strategies is simply finding work you love. If you can build a plan to build and protect your wealth early on in your professional life, you too could find the confidence to make that career change – and live life differently. ϖ