A Common Retirement Pitfall – Ep. 104

Last Tuesday was our wedding anniversary. An occasion to celebrate, so we planned a fancy dinner at a downtown restaurant. Mallory came by the office to pick me up after work. Fortunately, I only had one in person meeting that day.


Amelia had vacation Bible school (VBS) last week. After our dinner, we picked her up at our church. When I got home, I took my clothes off, and as I was hanging my dress pants up I noticed that the backside of my pants was completely ripped.


My pants were torn so badly that even the best seamstress wasn’t going to be able to fix my pants. I was left wondering how long I had the huge hole in the seat of my pants.


That night, Amelia overheard my conversation about my embarrassing pants situation with Mallory.  Amelia said, “I can fix them.”  I thought to myself, “why not? I’m going to trash the pants anyhow.” She took my pants, and I figured it was the end of the story.


She came back five minutes later smiling from ear to ear and telling me she had fixed my pants. She was pleased with herself. She said, “Look, I fixed them!” She had stuck stickers to my pants to hold them together, and she wanted confirmation that her work was suitable. The stickers even matched the color of my pants, almost. We got a pretty big laugh out of her ingenuity.


When I was in college, I loved riding road bicycles. One of the first full year’s riding, I rode about 3,500 miles. The next year I started racing. Some people didn’t have a base of previous mileage on their legs before they raced.


From the muscle memory perspective, I felt advantaged that I had done the training the prior year. I raced for two years and was able to win two races. It’s addictive. When we start physical activities, oftentimes we feel sluggish and it’s hard. But once we achieve a level of fitness our physical exertion takes less effort and becomes more enjoyable.


After I quit racing and started spending more time on career aspirations, I quickly fell out of racing shape. When I got on the bike, I felt sluggish and riding took more effort. I was still in relatively good physical fitness shape, but I was riding less. Naturally, it felt more burdensome.


Without having the time to ride 6 or even 7 days a week I wasn’t able to be in “race shape” fitness. I found it hard to ride my bike when I wasn’t in race shape. I robbed myself of the ability to enjoy something I previously had enjoyed because I did not make a mental transition to the next stage in my life.


When helping people plan for retirement, I’ve observed that some folks have issues transitioning to a retirement planning mindset. Some of our readers have been great savers and have accumulated enough money to fund their retirement but you may still be playing the game. You have not transitioned to the next life stage.


Think about this: The Carolina Panthers are on the 5-yard line and up by 6 points with 30 seconds left in the game. Does Cam Newton throw a 5-yard touchdown? NO! He would kneel. The Panthers have won the game. Why would they keep playing?


When we continue playing the retirement accumulation game it may cause us to take unnecessary risks. The gains of the market over the last 12 years have become addictive like my aspirations for race shape fitness was.


The goal with planning for retirement is to figure out how to take income and distribution off of our accounts and how to make it sustainable. Figuring this out may allow you to have more peace of mind when deciding if now is an appropriate time to retire.


If something here has resonated with you, please forward this to a friend who may benefit. As always, we would be happy to discuss your particular goals and objectives with you in a private comfortable setting.


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