By Professor Ricardo “Rick” Ulivi, Ph.D.
January 29, 2018
When we approach retirement age, most of us have been working for perhaps fifty or more years. Therefore, it can be a difficult decision to give up something we’ve been doing for so long. What are the issues involved in making a decision, or what can trigger a decision?
Some people may feel that they’ve “had enough” with work, or that they “have enough” stashed away. It may also be that while you might have enjoyed your career, you just may want to do something else. For example, President Trump. I am certain he enjoyed his business career, but at retirement age, he decided to start an entirely new career as a politician. Why not?
Other contributing factors may be health related, or the desire to lead a more tranquil life, without pressures, deadlines, stress, calendars and bosses. So, let me address some of the more obvious reasons to retire, and the challenges they present.
I’ve had enough!
If you’ve had it with your work, that’s a very good reason to retire. For example, I taught for about 40 years, and while I greatly enjoyed that career, I also got bored with it. I wanted to do something different with my life. My problem was that my wife would ask me what else I would like to do, and I would draw a blank. How could you retire without knowing what else you want to do, she would ask? Simple: How could I know what else I would want to do if I never had the time to explore alternative activities? My wife never bought the argument, but it sounded cool to me.
What if you’ve had it, but you can’t afford to maintain your current lifestyle? That’s a complex problem, but one with a simple solution: learn to live with less. Your spouse may not like this solution, but if you’ve really, really had it, why not? Only you can decide what’s more important at this stage of your life; time or money? Keep in mind that it’s your life, and it’s coming to an end soon. My advice? If you’ve had it, and can’t afford your current lifestyleif retired, just learn to live with less!
You have enough!
If your nest egg can give you the income needed to maintain your desired lifestyle, why not quit? Difficult decision, because if you have enough, it’s likely that you are a saver. Savers have two common characteristics: they usually want to save a little more, and they have a really hard time spending. Given that at retirement savers won’t earn any more, and they might start spending what they have, it makes for a difficult retirement decision. My advice: let go! I know it’s really hard to do, but we must all learn to let go at some point.
This is an excellent reason to retire. Do something different. For example, I met a woman in Argentina who has a Ph.D. in mathematics, worked for a large bank in Brazil in risk management, and at age 55 she wanted to do something else. She quit her job to pursue another passion, for far less money. Today, she paints, and frames paintings. She has a store, makes fifty percent of what she used to make, but loves it. What’s wrong with that?
Most important question: what will you do if you retire?
It took me five years to figure this out, and I specialize in this subject!!!! I gave up full time teaching in 2012, and suddenly I had more free time on my hands than ever before, without financial pressures. I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store. I continued my private practice as a financial advisor, but I searched for something else I might enjoy doing with great eagerness, and had a hard time finding out what that was!
I did make one big change in my life. My wife and I started spending four months a year in Argentina, where I grew up. We were busy the first few years; we remodeled the apartment, bought furniture and three years later, I had nothing else to do while in Buenos Aires. Panic set in. So, I made an offer to buy an interest in a hotel in Argentina. I was turned down. I prepared a persuasive letter to the former US ambassador to Argentina offering my services as a bridge. I could never find his address, so that letter never got mailed. I made an offer to buy a large apartment to convert it for office use, and I was turned down. Finally, I made an offer to invest in an e-commerce startup in Buenos Aires, and I was turned down too.
Wow, I thought. What’s going on? And then I realized that I was not using what is perhaps my best personality trait: I was neither persevering nor being persistent in any of the offers I made. This made me suspect that perhaps I really did not want to pursue anything else in my life. I concluded that this series of failed offers meant that I just wanted to take it easy at this stage of my life; become more social too. No more stress, no more responsibilities, nor more calendar defining my day.
Let me give you an example of my new life. I get up at 5:30 am Monday thru Saturday, and leave the house around 11 am. What do I do in all that time? Take it easy! I read financial news, answer emails, make my breakfast, and read some more. Then I make breakfast for my wife, and finally I’ll do my 50 minute yoga routine that now takes me an hour and a half. What’s the rush? I hurried for 50 years, and my clock was my boss. Run, it would always tell me; faster, faster, don’t stop, don’t wait, get it done. Life is sooo different now, which reminds me, it’s time for my nap. I’ll continue with this newsletter later. That’s my new life, and I love it!
Nap is over!
I am back. If any of you need help in deciding whether to retire or not, set an appointment with me, but not before 11:30 am. I can help you identify your alternatives, explain your options, and help you define your priorities. I can also help you prepare a retirement budget, and recommend ways to structure your investment portfolio.
I want to help you achieve your ideal vision of retirement. To schedule a get together, call me at 714-771-6000.