Why Freedom 55 Could Kill You
The Freedom 55 commercials were one of the most successful marketing campaigns. A Canadian generation wanted to be able to walk the beach from age 55 on. It is a great motivator to save for retirement. There is certainly something comfortable about reaching a point where you do not have to work for money, however not having something to work for can kill you. In other words, if we do not have a purpose, we will stop growing, stop enjoying life, and eventually die, often sooner than later.
Studies are now prevalent that prove to have an enjoyable retirement we need purpose. (See ‘The New Retirementality’ for more by clicking here: https://trinityfamilywealth.ca/books/) But we do not need the studies, your experience proves the same reality. Think about people you know who retired from work but did not find something to retire too. They become unfulfilled and more and more negative. They are not the type of people you want to be around. What about those who re-tired, re-purposed and retired to something that makes a difference. They are positive, full of life, growing and great to be with. I think of Hazel McCallion who turned 100 on Valentines’ Day 2021. She was elected Mayor of Mississauga at age 57 and maintained that role for 36 years. I expect she has had some warm walks on a beach and enjoyed her family & friends in the last 45 years while she has been a contributor. Interesting to note, she has written two books – ‘Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose’, and ‘Shape the Future’. I do not think the highlight of Hazel’s day will ever be the early bird senior’s buffet.
So, what is your vision and strategy to have a rewarding life after the point at which you do not need to work for money? This may be a new question. What causes or problems break your heart? Our passions often lead us to a purpose we will thrive in. Answers may come quickly but many people struggle to figure this out. If you find yourself in this majority, please reach out as we have tools to help and would be happy to guide you in this part of your journey.
I was recently in a workshop with businessman, charity leader, radio personality and author, Howard Dayton. At age 77, Howard has spent considerable time studying how to finish well. He provides the following three keys.
- Do not Have a Distorted View of Retirement. As discussed, western culture thinks of retirement as leisure. The type and intensity of our work may change as we age but we will not finish well without a purpose. Chances are, your 20’s were exciting. You had big dreams, enthusiasm, and purpose. There is no reason you can not replicate that now. Make your future greater than your past!
- Be Involved in Mentoring. Have someone older to mentor you. Have a peer to walk life with and have a younger person to mentor. These relationships are key to keeping us growing, avoiding mistakes, and making a difference in the lives of others. I would especially encourage you to be involved with family members. After years of experience in life, relationships, marriage, vocation, etc. you are a wealth of knowledge. Too often our success principles are not proactively passed to the next generations. Shrink time and pain for your prodigy, pass on a lifetime of wisdom so they start with that advantage.
- Prioritize Your Marriage. Unfortunately divorce rates rise early in retirement. There are several reasons but certainly the responsibility of raising a family, demanding vocations, aging parents, and other commitments have left limited time for your spouse. Your level of joy in your marriage directly correlates to the joy you have in life. Stated another way, the more you invest in your marriage the more you will enjoy life. Howard’s advice is “Men, view every request from your wife as an opportunity to serve her. If possible, do it right away.” “Women, intentionally create that irresistible sanctuary at home where your husband will be thrilled to come and be with you.” If you are not motivated by thriving in life, recognize the most damaging thing for your net worth is to split it in two.
So, enjoy the freedom that crossing your financial finish line can offer. If needed, adjust your pace, intensity, and type of work. Enjoy your spouse, family, and friends. However, recognize that if you are going to thrive and finish well you need to have a purpose. I wish you the excitement of a passionate 25 year old with the wisdom you have accumulated. Finish well!