Published by Robert W. Huntley, CFP®, CHFC®, CKA® Founder & Wealth Advisor
One woman has millions in the bank and lives a life of poverty. Another woman has little in the bank yet lives a life of true wealth.
I like this quote by Ernest Hemingway:
“It takes 2 years to learn to speak and 60 to learn not to.”
We learn skills as a child but gain wisdom through experience.
Your life so far has been preparing you for something bigger.
We’ve been sold a bill of goods over the past 100 years about the idea of “retirement.” Somehow, it’s supposed to be the goal to pile up enough money so you can live the final third of your life playing. Happiness and carefree living are the goals …really?
Being happy is great. However, feeling fulfilled with a sense of pride and accomplishment from a job well done or helping someone who needs help without anything in return are the things that touch our souls.
We’re entering a time in history where we’re going to live much longer, healthier lives. Many in this country have the financial means to live comfortably and generously decades after work becomes optional. It’s time to think differently about retirement.
Younger you could ask the right questions, but it’s harder.
Young families have a lot on their plates – figuring out the marriage relationship, establishing careers, settling into a lifestyle, raising kids, personal health and growth, involvement in community, school and church activities. It is exhausting and leaves little time for introspection and serving others outside the family.
Stories abound of problems connected to unbalanced living during those early years of career, marriage, and parenthood.
However, you get through those years and things start to slow a little. Sure, there are still challenges with kids struggling as they start their own independent journeys and parents age, but you know more and have resources now. You can think about life differently and ask some deeper questions.
It looks different for each of us.
I was having lunch recently with a very successful business owner and we were discussing our thoughts about work as we are each on the eve of turning 60. We agreed that it took 30 years to master our professions so why in the world would you stop doing it just when it all makes sense and you’re very good at what you do for a living?
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
I’ve thought a lot about it – both personally and by watching many clients transition from full-time employment to retirement. My advice has always been, don’t retire FROM something, retire TO something.
Human beings were not meant to live a purposeless life. We need a cause or a reason to move forward. Something that gets us moving and results in a feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. That’s how we are wired.
So, where do you begin? Perhaps you don’t particularly enjoy what you do professionally and are ready to get out of that phase of life. That’s understandable. But how do you know what to “retire to?”
Try writing down what you’re naturally good at. The things you’re better at than you should be, based on the amount of time you spent learning to do them. Some people are naturally good with their hands fixing and building things. Others are natural problem solvers, strategic thinkers. Still, others are gifted at relationships, people just trust them and gravitate to them.
What lights you up? What touches your heart? You look around and see a world full of people and problems. Which ones jump out at you and make you long to do something or help?
Those are clues to needs and causes you are naturally passionate about. Get clear on the needs that draw you in and you’ll be on the right track as you look for ways to engage with other people and causes that you can put your focus and attention on.
With clarity around what you’re good at (God-given talents) and what you’re passionate about (God-given passions), you can now look around you where the needs or work is that fits both. You were created to serve and help others. You were created for relationship. You were created for generosity. How might that look in ways that are uniquely fit to how you are put together?
FINAL THOUGHT – LOOK FOR CLUES IN YOUR GREATEST PAIN
Most people have endured some tough things in life. Your greatest pain often becomes your greatest passion. You can relate to the pain of loss or the longing for something you lacked growing up. That puts you in a unique position to empathize with others.
God Given: (Talents + Passion + Purpose) = True Wealth
True Wealth: “What money can’t buy, nor death take away.”
The culture is telling you to make a plan so you can safely arrive at death. Does that inspire you?
How about we buck the system. Let’s look at the final third of life like the one we’ve been preparing a lifetime for.
That is, in fact, the truth. How can you use everything you’ve learned so far to make your own small dent in the universe?
Now that thought has the potential to inspire!
It’s December. A new decade begins in less than a month. Dream a little. Set some goals to pursue some things out of our comfort zones. Get to it!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.