I recently ran across an article by financial “coach” Chris Hogan about the importance of having a dream to inspire us to plan for and to carry out our plan for retirement.
Hogan’s tactic is to motivate, not intimidate or strike fear. His book “Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age, It’s a Financial Number” and if you’re interested in listening to one of his podcasts, here’s a link to that.
I liked this idea and of course it wasn’t new. I thought of Richard Leider, the author who penned the book “Life Reimagined” in 2013 and has championed risk-taking for folks over 50 while cautioning us against being a “former” anything in retirement. You can watch his Ted x talk about the importance of finding your purpose, particularly to motivate retired people to get out of bed in the morning.
Can we dream into our purpose when we are facing retirement?
Dreaming can, at any time or stage of our lives, help us find our place in the world and to help identify the challenges which face us. Dreams can help us construct our own personal mythology, our story in terms of what we are here to do and how we are meant to be in this world.
I suppose it depends on how you define “dreaming “of course – and whether we work on the dreams or they work on us. I am rather fond of Dr. Jung’s quote from Dreams, Memories, Reflections, which he wrote when he was eighty-one:
Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.
It’s a rather slippery slope, isn’t it? Particularly for us Americans who have always felt so strongly about being in charge of our lives. We who know such boundaries and demarcations flowing from our sense of autonomy. Retirement forces us to think differently about what we do with the rest of our lives. We often thing about this as a sad, backward gaze, held and nurtured for its lost glory. But it can be a time for us to lighten our load of our thinking about our lives and about its doings. Perhaps it can be liberation.
Leider talks about the three “M’s” of money, medicine (health) and meaning – the fundamental things that help us identify what we really need so we can be free to leave behind the other things that may simply distract us.
I think for many of us the fear of retirement, and why we are loath to plan for it, is that we don’t want to allow ourselves the space to dream because, well, it might not be what we think we “always wanted” or what was expected of us. I think it also has a lot to do with our fear of aging in general as the run up to the inevitable end of our lives.
So what to do in the meantime?
Start dreaming, particularly your own dream, not someone else’s! And if you don’t want to dream because it sounds too silly, then take Leider’s napkin test and see if you can pull that off! Get together with a loved one or colleague and take “the napkin test” to discover what is really important to you, what gives you joy and allows you to feel connected to others. Stop and reflect. You can watch (on Daniel Pink’s website) a one minute and twenty second video featuring Leider explaining how to do this
I’ve condensed a bit of Hogan’s advice here from that Washington Post article above:
- A secure retirement isn’t accidental;
- Dream your dream and make a plan that will get you to that dream;
- Execute the plan with a commitment to do what is necessary to bring it to fruition.
Lastly, here is another article by Hogan about What do you need to do to retire with $1 million?
© 2017 Barbara Cashman www.DenverElderLaw.org