Living the Dream by Bill Storie
I was doing some research a couple of days ago for a new Financial Planning Workshop and Webinar that we are conducting, and I came across a comment from a man in the UK back in the 1950s.
He was asked about what he was looking forward to when he retired, and he said, “I just want to live the dream.”
It made stop and think that life back then, over 60 years ago was anything but a stroll in the park. Longevity was a word that was rarely used. Health advances were slow and financial capability to live a long life in retirement was limited. Yet this fellow wanted to live the dream.
I didn’t find out what his dream was, but I imagine it consisted of “rest and relaxation”. Maybe he did want to climb Everest I suppose, but most folks back then looked at retirement, around the 65 years of age mark, as being an accomplishment that demanded reward.
I recall people who were in my local area, particularly friends and neighbors, talking about laying back and “chilling” (not a word used back then certainly but you get the idea). I don’t ever recall people talking about their next 20 years or so. It just wasn’t an option, or at least it wasn’t a popular belief that retirees would last that long.
There were exceptions of course, but an 80-year old man was a rarity. Women had more stamina and sustenance, so it was not unusual to see women still going strong well into their 80s and in some cases 90s.
The notion about retirement planning back then was a silly idea. Nobody prepared for retirement. It just arrived, and they got the watch and the party and then headed off to the garden. I don’t ever recall anyone talking about their retirement fund and what they would do with it. It just never came up in conversation.
I was intrigued by these recollections because how times have changed.
Anyone who hasn’t prepared for retirement these days is seen as a lazy person with no ambition. Yet the problem is that while they do have a retirement fund, typically a pension of some sorts, their fund is woefully inadequate. It strikes me that many Boomers, who were brought up in the era of short-term retirement by their parents and grandparents, have had that ingrained in them that a third phase of their life is not realistic, so the idea of saving soon while still employed, and saving lots, is an idea that still hasn’t penetrated too many people.
They get to retirement age and realize their health is good, their lifestyle is good, their family is in good shape and they feel they could climb that mountain, but then they check the retirement fund and whoops !!!
Too little, too late.
The problem is that while they are smart people and understand the financial impact of saving (or not), they still remember their childhood days when the family sat around the fire talking of “today” but not so much of “tomorrow”. They need a wake-up call.
Perhaps we all do.
By Bill Storie