What is your "Why"?

August 10, 2022 | David Edmisten, CFP®

What is the reason you are considering retiring early?

 Some will answer that they want to have more control of the pace of their life. Others want to spend more time with loved ones. Some long to travel, to accomplish goals that have had to remain on the sidelines due to career demands. Some people are concerned with their health and want to be able to dedicate more time to their well-being. And in some cases, the option to retire early has been thrust upon them by the direction of their employer.

Whatever your initial reasons for considering retiring early, it's important to take some focused time to find your "why" for retiring early. 

 Studies show that satisfaction and health in retirement are greatly influenced by having a clear sense of purpose - in essence, early retirees who find their "why" report a much happier retirement.

What to you hope to accomplish by retiring early? How will you spend your time and with whom? What will the impact be of the way you spend your life in retirement? Answers to these types of questions can help you understand the reasons for your retirement and help keep you focused on fulfilling the goals you have as you enter retirement.

If you have trouble defining your "why" or want to explore the deeper meaning to your life in retirement, the life planning movement as developed by George Kinder has 3 key questions that can help you understand your purest and truest motivations in life.

  1. I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is, how would you live your life? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything?
  2. This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to ten years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Will you change your life, and how will you do it?
  3. This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or had been? What do I wish I had done? Did I miss anything?

The reflection upon these questions can help clarify what you truly value, and what you feel is vital to accomplish during your life and your retirement. 

By having a reflective, deep and personal understanding of you "Why" you can develop an early retirement plan that does more than help assure you won't run out of money. You can build a plan that ensures your deepest, most meaningful purposes are accomplished and that your money is used to support what your personally value the most.

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About the Author:

David Edmisten, CFP®, is the Founder of Next Phase Financial Planning, LLC, a financial advisor in Prescott, AZ. Next Phase Financial Planning provides retirement, investment and tax planning that helps corporate employees retire with both financial and lifestyle security.