“The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income.” ~George Foreman
I came across an informative article in Monday's Dallas Morning News, “Retirement Readiness.” (This article is also available in the New York Times). Two financial advisors in North Carolina put their pre-retiree clients through a “boot camp” designed to prepare them for what it will feel like when they retire. It helps people determine if they will truly be ready to retire at the age they plan to do so. It got me to thinking about what retirement is really all about.
On the surface, retirement sounds great. No more of the 9 to 5, the lengthy commute, the irritating coworkers and plenty of time to do what you want, when you want and how you want. But as financial advisors Marcia Tillotson and Joy Kenefick note, “Retirees suddenly have no place to be each day, which may not be as blissful as it seeme
d beforehand. The paychecks stop coming…after years of dutifully putting money into savings, retirees have to get used to watching their accounts dwindle.” Thus, in exchange for my waking up and leisurely sipping my coffee, watching infomercials, shopping, volunteering, gardening or just hanging out in the 80s clothes that I could never wear to work, I no longer get to watch my retirement account fill up (or not, depending on the market) with my hard earned paychecks. Instead, I must start relying on those accounts as income, not savings, and hope they will last me until I live to be 100 (and yes, that is likely since two of my relatives were cenetarians).
After about a year of going through Tillotson's and Kenefick's retirement boot camp, about 80 percent of pre-retirees decide to work longer than they planned, according to the article. In other words, the income target is more important than the age target.
George Foreman couldn't have said it better.