Goldilocks and the three retreats

What exactly do you want from retirement?

(I ask the question because when it comes to this topic most people focus primarily on tools – pensions, 401 (k) plans, social security, etc. Only a few think about tools. Goals.)

Many respond by saying they want to be able to sleep until 10 a.m. or not have to get dressed every day. I suspect that such responses are due to the fact that many see retirement as eliminating a negative (a job, a wake-up call, or a boss) rather than adding a positive (time spent with the little ones). children, travel or volunteering).

This is unfortunate, because studies suggest that withdrawing from something, instead of something, is what produces the most satisfaction.

I’m not saying that tools (like annuities) don’t matter. They are vital! But without clear objectives, retirees can end up like this pilot who took off without a flight plan. She didn’t know where she was going, but she made record time!

Over the years, I have seen at least four ways people experience retirement. See if you can identify with any of the following.

1. Survival. Like a drowning man, a retiree with insufficient income will cling to anything that looks like a life raft. Rescuers know how to approach swimmers in difficulty with great caution, lest they be trained by themselves. A “drowning” retiree struggles to make ends meet and grabs any solution. He is likely to reduce his assets to zero or fall prey to overly aggressive sales pitches that promise big risk-free returns on investment.

Survival mode isn’t anyone’s goal for retirement. This is usually the result of inadequate planning.

2. Leisure. It’s America’s great retirement dream. This is the focal point of most Wall Street advertising. “Work with our company and one day you will be taking sunset seaside walks with an amazingly beautiful person.”

When you’re inundated with deadlines and boring tasks at work, it can seem overwhelming. And maybe some people just can’t get enough of the endless hobbies. But from what I see, there aren’t many trips and beach vacations that retirees can do before they start to get restless.

Will leisure be enough to satisfy you in retirement, or would you like something more?

3. Inheritance. Others are hungry for the knowledge that their lives had meaning and purpose. For many, this is captured in the word “family”. Knowing about their hard work and diligent planning will allow them to leave a financial legacy for their families is extremely satisfying. Maybe it means money for the grandchildren to attend a big university. It may be a stretch of land on which their families can hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors, long after they are gone.

Others have different inheritance desires. They want to support religious, educational or scientific institutions that have missions they admire. Knowing their inheritance gift will strengthen this mission which will bring them great joy during their golden years.

What is it? Would leaving a legacy give deeper meaning, purpose and satisfaction to your retirement years?

4. Goldilocks. Many people look like the girl from the famous fairy tale. They don’t want something that is “too much this” or “too much that”. They are looking for a solution that is perfect for them.

When it comes to retirement, a strict leisure or inheritance label may not be right for you. (And I’m pretty sure you don’t want the “survival” option.) You need a lens that’s right for you.

If you are seriously thinking about retirement… good for you!

Just make sure you start by identifying what you really want (your goals). Then determine which financial tools will get you there.

A great way to help you focus on what you really want out of retirement is to read my free e-book “How To Put Your Money Worries In Your Rearview Mirror – The Roadmap To Financial Freedom”. I’d be happy to get you a free copy if you email [email protected]

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written statement regarding our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please see important disclosure information at

Comments are closed.