As you’re planning your retirement, there’s a shift that we should think about as we map out our finances and our life after our career. There are two important things that I want to share with you. The first one’s for everybody, and then the second one is for business owners or entrepreneurs who might have the option to design their day and their week while they’re working.
How Do You Envision Your Retirement?
The first example is a reframing of the way that we’re thinking about retirement. When done right, it can confirm that you’re making the best decision possible about when to retire. Additionally, it can also keep you motivated to actually accomplish the future financial and retirement goals that you want. Last but possibly the most rewarding of all, is that it can also help you to make your future bigger than your past. This is an important concept in positive psychology because if we don’t have hope, or if we don’t have things to look forward to, that can greatly reduce our present life satisfaction.
You know that quote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”? For some, as they’re planning their future, they don’t like the term “retirement” because it conjures up ideas or images of the opposite of what they want their life to become. It could be the image of an old fogey rocking in a rocking chair on the porch or being unproductive, or maybe a memory of their elderly grandparents just watching TV all day in retirement.
There’s nothing wrong with either of those things, but it’s probably not what we’re looking for, thus causing us to put off retiring or delaying retirement planning out of fear of facing the question: what am I going to do all day? So they keep working because they don’t know how good life can be after we’re done with work.
Finding Fulfillment in Retirement
If you’re anything like our clients, life after work is really about time freedom; it’s about enjoying life while continuing to find fulfillment. I mention the three Cs often: creativity, connection, and contribution. Ask yourself: is there something that might be stopping me from mapping out or getting clarity about what’s possible in this next stage of my life? If it’s a negative feeling about the word “retirement”, what if you just replace that word in your head?
Use “freedom” or “independence” instead because if you’ve achieved financial freedom, you have the option to continue work if you want to, or to stop work. You have the option to explore other pursuits if they interest you if you want to do so. And you have the freedom to decide how you are going to express your creativity, or maybe your curiosity, and who you’re going to connect with more, and what you are going to do to contribute to other people’s lives.
A Different Path for Entrepreneurs or Business Owners
This second part is for business owners or entrepreneurs. As a business owner, your retirement could look quite different. You might have more freedom in your career to decide how you want to spend your time. It might feel like the opposite of that when you look at all the day-to-day things it takes to run the business – you might feel more like an overworked employee than the owner. However, as the decision maker, you’ve got some options.
The concept that I want to share with you is the idea of retiring in your business. Think about it like this – in your business, there are all these things that you need to do right so that the business can run. There’s sales, marketing, product, distribution, operations of people, management – all these things that you need to do. Some of these things you enjoy, and some you don’t, right? You may really enjoy the marketing side or the sales, or talking to new clients or customers if you have them. As you think about your financial freedom and your time freedom, are there things in your business that you do better than anybody else?
Secondly, are there things that you do right now that you could actually spend money on so you wouldn’t have to do them anymore? You’d essentially be lowering your income with the goal of freeing up your time. The idea is to spend your time on the things that are most engaging to you – the things you love doing and bring the greatest return to your business or your life – and everything else is getting handled by somebody else.
The people that can do that are essentially retiring in their business. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an idea to at least think about.
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