Retirement. Heads or tails?

Bill Parrott |

There are two sides to a coin.   Heads and tails.  Like a coin, retirement has two sides.  Financial and emotional.   The financial side of retirement is easy in my opinion.   With the financial side of retirement, you either have enough money to retire or you don’t.

The other side of retirement is all emotion and is something that cannot be calculated or entered into a spread sheet.  The emotional side of retirement is similar to jumping over a six-inch crevasse that is 100 miles deep.   You know, physically, this six-inch leap is not an issue but part of your brain is questioning your wisdom in making the attempt.   What if, by chance, you don’t make the six-inch jump to the other side and descend into the crevasse?     

With the emotional side of retirement, you and your family will need to answer several questions that have little to do with numbers.   For example, what will you do with your life once you stop working?   Yesterday you were working, today you are retired.   Will you continue to live in your current home?  Current city?  Will you move to the beach, the mountains or a big ranch in the middle of nowhere?  Will you move to where your children and grandchildren live?   Will you live with your children?  How about hobbies?  Can you fish, golf, hike, bike or surf every day?  Will you be a volunteer at the local school or join a non-profit?   These questions are just a few of many that you can ask. 

After working for 40 or 50 years it is not easy to flip a switch and do nothing.   Will you be able to transition into retirement at 100% or do you need to ease into your life of luxury?   Once retired you will need new routines and activities to keep you engaged and active.   Will your new schedule coincide with your spouse’s?   Your spouse might not want you in the house 24/7.  

I once worked with an individual who went through the financial planning process to see if he could financially afford to retire.  The financial numbers were solid and he could retire on his terms.  After I ran the first financial plan, I ran another, then another, then another, then another and so on.  I believe we generated 8 or 9 plans before this gentleman was ready to retire.   We explored every financial scenario and with each passing plan the numbers barely budged.   Financially, he would be fine in retirement.   His hurdle to retirement was all emotional.   I don’t think he was quite ready to make the leap into retirement and may have hoped his plan would have forced him to work a few more years.   I am happy to say after the last plan he was financially and emotionally ready to retire.

I have worked with a number of retirees over the years who were able to make the six-inch leap over the 100-mile crevasse and never look back.   The retirees who successfully made it to the other side all wish they would have retired sooner.  

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28.

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management.