Updated: Nov 7
Without These Two You Go......No - Where, Even With a Map
Note to Reader: This blog completes a four part metaphor of a retirement "vehicle" - a Car that travels along the retirement journey. Its purpose is to help anyone over 50 have a way to classify and store any information about retirement "life". I believe it is a unique and effective way to "pack your bags" for the trip ahead. You may want to review blogs 1,2,3 to see how this one rounds out the metaphor.
The Back Wheels
Your entire life (and your 'retirement vehicle' in this metaphor) is powered by emotions surrounding these two wheels. Very strong emotions like: Ambition - Love - Hatred - Guilt Compassion - Tenderness. These in the proper measure constitute emotional HEALTH. More about that below.
The second wheel is Money and the options it creates. Possessions. Travel. Power. You could put Purpose in here too, if you look at it as a resource. Purpose is certainly a link between resources and what you might do with the resource itself. One real danger in retirement is to think that money is the only resource needed and can "fix" anything.
Think about it - how fast can you go when you don't feel good? Or you have no where place to live? No reason to get out of bed?
Alternatively, if you have great health, and unlimited resources, you can fly around the world with your friends as long as you live. Or go by private yacht. Yet, many people are perfectly happy and satisfied living with what others call 'limited income and circumstances'.
John Madden, the football coach and TV commentator, had a million dollar Motor Home to take him to his next broadcast. He often drove it himself in his semi-retirement. It had four wheels too, like your car. And without the two back wheels we're discussing today it wouldn't move very far. If one tire was going flat, it had to be fixed - otherwise it just wouldn't move.
So here is our metaphor - a description of your vehicle for your retirement trip.
It can take you in many directions, and you can influence where you end up.
Why do you need this is the question? Why not just get into retirement and go?
Answer: It's likely you don't know where you are going! - recent research indicates this.
In these days of the "Quick Fix" - short attention spans, large amounts of information overload, etc., no one wants to read research papers. For that reason, I will only allude to the sources. If you want to get into the deep weeds of it, please call or email.
Here is the gist of it.
Some people began to realize that there was a new and broad sociological problem as early as 1976. The book that changed our thinking at the time was: The Sociology of Retirement by Robert C. Atchley. In particular, there were early looks at the pathology of retirement. Up to that time, retirement was supposed to be without troubles - a day at the beach, supposedly. But it isn't. Look here at a more realistic view. You may find yourself on it.
Today there is a lot of evidence that people before retirement and after retirement have quite different views of it. An organization doing a lot of studies on this is the Retirement Coaches Association (retirementcoachesassociation.org)
It is important to have research, because we add it to the Resource of Knowledge. Here is where it fits: Purpose>Knowledge>Attitude>Skills>Habits>Vision. This path is where all your resources are applied. Money fits in, because in each area it creates more options. The options may be a disadvantage it they are too many. Or because they could reduce your individual responsibility. Certainly it is nice to have enough to make you reasonably comfortable. After that, the law of diminishing returns often sets in, producing an atmosphere of little challenge. Boredom breeds, eventually to become an unwelcome guest in the house.
And, finally, the second driving wheel is HEALTH. it must be more than just a vague exercise program. And there are so many people willing to help you - for a price. It is tempting to offload or delegate this. "I see my Doctor regularly" you say. Good start, but it is only that.
How could one possibly condense the current knowledge and practice of health/medicine into a blog? Not possible - except to say that it is increasingly becoming YOUR responsibility. Why? Because no one doctor or therapist, or organization can be your guide. Even if you go to them regularly!
They have trouble keeping up on the factors affecting their situation, let alone yours or the many people coming to them. No one person can keep up, for example, on all the drug interactions that could possibly not mesh with your gene patterns. If there is any industry or sector that is changing rapidly AND fundamentally it is Healthcare. Just ask your doctor.
Suffice to say, for today, that it is quite obvious that if you don't have good health, or adequate health to achieve your current goals, then you won't do very well by any measure. Your car will putt...putt... putt... along and stop.
The past few blogs have been an attempt to give you an outline you can follow. Perhaps it will help you change or see things differently.
If you are interested in being proactive, and having an active role in designing your future, then start the design with these blogs about the CAR - your vehicle. Start with a notebook or three ring binder - put the headings in and tab them. Begin planning the New Year now.
Just knowing there's somewhere to stuff articles you read is a start. Just start. Doing this with someone else is a plus for most.
Then, pick your keystone habit. Mine is sleep. That's where I attack. Anything that interferes with it will bring down all the other good stuff I achieve unless quickly corrected.
Yours may be different, but that habit is the one to begin your focus, then expand.
With a plan, though, you give yourself a much better chance of influencing the future when a tire goes flat. The idea is to start and create your satisfaction, your true SELF. Then, get in, buckle up, and drive on!
Happy Days Ahead
Joe Grant, MBA
Certified Retirement Coach
Contact me for a Free 45 minute Consultation at https://yourvantagepoints.com