When Are You Going to Retire?

532413606As I approach my 65th birthday this fall, I am being deluged by Medicare supplement plan offers. My high school/college friends, who by definition are age contemporaries, understand this process. When did I get old? So with greater frequency, I am being asked the $64,000 question (showing my age with that reference) . The question is:

“Lonny, when are you going to retire?”

The honest answer is:
“No clue. Not on my radar screen.”

I realize as a consultant that I am in different employment strata than most folk. I do not have a “job” and haven’t for 18 years. I have clients. Good clients, clients who I like, respect and take pleasure in their success. Like the position of Attorney General or FBI Director, I serve at their pleasure (OK, that’s a cheap shot). But the concept is the same. As I said, I serve at their pleasure, but they don’t have to tweet nasty things about me to force me to go away. Bottom line is that I like to work, so I do.

I will continue to work as long as:
1. I am mentally sharp
2. My skills can help their business
3. My health is good
4. I feel like it
5. My current clients (or new ones) feel I provide value

I am 5 for 5 as of right now, but we all know a curveball might be around the corner—for any of us.
However, the issue of retirement for those who are employed by a “company” is a tougher and a little more black and white. You work and then, when you retire, you leave. Largely in the corporate world, at some point you retire or you “get retired”—it’s the Business Circle of Life.

In yesteryear, one worked into their 60s sometimes until 65, retired, got a gold watch and cake and went off and passed away just a few years later. With a 70 year life expectancy back then, there were realistically few post-employment years. However, today’s 65-year old on average has 20 years of tread left (and some have more). Where will I fall in that spectrum? No idea obviously.

But I do know this about myself:
1. I don’t like golf
2. I like visiting Florida, but not for extended periods
3. I like the diversity of my current life
4. I still have a lot to give my clients (he says humbly)
5. I like New Jersey, despite its drawbacks
6. I really like Yankee Stadium and attend Yankees games as often as I can
7. We like our children who work in NYC.

Things change and my feelings could as well (though not for my Bronx Bombers). But for now, the answer to when are you going to retire. “No time soon”.

But for those of you who are considering retirement, be sure to think it thorough there are many issues beyond I am going making the decision:

1. Can you afford to retire?
2. Have you done a long term financial plan–will your money last another 30 years?
3. Have you reduced/eliminated debt (a good thing for all ages)
4. Have you assumed significant medical expenses in the future, assuming the need for assisted care in the latter years of life (that’s on you—Medicare doesn’t cover that)
5. What will you do with your time? This is really important. Think deeply about this.
6. Where will you live?

If you have thought these through and are ready to retire, go for it.

But not for me. Or not for the foreseeable future.

PS Being a “senior”, I am not at all ashamed at grabbing every senior discount under the sun. Hey, I am marketing guy, and who doesn’t love to save a buck?

More Strumings

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