“With my family’s history, I expect to be dead in 5 years.” We were talking about retirement strategies. That statement summed up his. Dying isn’t a retirement strategy. What if we don’t die? What then?
A retirement strategy needs to be long term and it needs to be sustainable. Back in the 1960’s, working with a really sharp financial planner the strategy was probably for money to last into our mid-70’s. Fast forward to 2009 and 75 isn’t even considered that old anymore. Now planners figure people will live to 100, but in 2050, who knows how many centenarians will be still riding motorcycles?
Sustainability involves planning in a way that allows us to maintain our goals for longer than we can imagine. One of my clients put it brilliantly, “At 85 I realized the bad news wasn’t that I died at 84, it was I still that I was going strong at 85.”
For most people, the goals can be summed up with the three “M’s”: money, mansion and meaning. We need enough money to support an active, fulfilling, independent life. Having enough means being free of money worries and in control of our financial choices Mansion is our home, be it ever so humble, rented or owned, continuing care or retirement village; we all want to have control of that choice. What makes a home a mansion is the warmth and security we enjoy living there.
Meaning is making a difference, feeling that we matter and are appreciated by others. We all want to live out our lives as ourselves, being true to the person we believe ourselves to be: our best self, able to contribute and to receive the blessings of friends, family, and community.
As one year ends and a new one begins, it is a perfect time to take inventory of retirement strategy. Is it still sustainable, what does the long term look like, and how are we doing with the 3 “M’s”? After all, Aging in Place doesn’t happen by accident.