For the Birds

Retirement is for the Birds

I recently read that retirement is recess for grown-ups. It's a cute concept, but it's one that I'm afraid I have to disagree with. Instead of retirement as a permanent break from working, I believe it is far better to view life as one where you periodically take an extended break. I also reject the idea that you need to prepare for a successful retirement lifestyle. Why? Because you are a lifestyle business where business is a lifestyle, and that approach to life does not stop when you retire just like a retirement lifestyle does not begin automatically at age 65. The entire concept of retirement is destructive as it is currently accepted on a broad basis by the overwhelming majority of the population of the country. Retirement planning cannot be an all-inclusive topic. It's too big for any one book or person; however, when it comes to retirement from a financial perspective, it is all about generating income. The generation of income comes from three sources which I call the CUE of Financial Wealth. The letter C stands for contractual income, the letter U  stands for unearned income, and the letter E stands for earned income. CUE is complex. So complex is the topic of income that each component is worthy of a bachelor, masters, and doctorate. I'm convinced that the view of retirement that I have is by far and away more healthy in one which most people should strive for. The entire concept of putting a great deal of effort at the end of your working life to the adequate preparation for permanent recess is disturbing. Engaging at that time in your life in financial planning, when you've never been involved before, is not possible. The overwhelming majority of those I met as recent retirees, and who ignored, passively engaged or abdicated their financial planning during their working lives, often become victims to off-Wall Street salespeople who traded hugs for a mugging.

Paul Truesdell