“Medical science has given us 30 extra years of life. Why did we decide to put them all on the end?” This is the provocative question asked by Dr. Laura Carstensen, Executive Director of the Stanford Center for Longevity.
Consider this: Social Security was created in 1935 and, interestingly, the initial retirement age was set at 65, when life expectancy was only 63. Today, a woman who reaches age 65 can expect to live, on average, until 86.
We also live in a very different world economically. People cannot assume they will have the same job for the length of their working-life. This job insecurity compels us to think in different and innovative ways, to explore new possibilities. Flexibility and resilience are traits we would all do well to embrace.
It’s time to throw out the old idea about two phases of life, working and retirement. Instead, let’s examine what you can do with those 30 extra years.
You’ve been given an incredible gift. What will you do with it?
I challenge you to start thinking about how you will use this time today! You want to be smart about it, which means making deliberate and intentional decisions.
Future Financial Realities
Thirty years is a long time. In the past, pension plans and short retirement time frames were the norm. But with today’s long lifespans and the burden of saving for retirement shifted to individuals, the challenge is daunting. What if you could find a way to bring in some extra money in those years?
You don’t have to replace your full income, but bringing in even a small amount makes a difference. The point is, any money you earn has a huge impact on how long your savings may last.
What do you love about your current job? What experience and skills do you have to offer? Could you create a future income stream from them? Do you have hobbies that can bring in extra income now or, later on, become a full or part-time job?
Here are examples of women who used their current skills to create future income:
Judy worked in a surgery center. Interacting closely with patients, she saw first-hand a need for assistance in navigating the paperwork to pay bills and the bureaucracy of insurance companies and Medicare. She saw people pay more than necessary, or miss out on reimbursements. Judy decided to create a side business to guide people through the healthcare system. Not only did she find this work rewarding, when she left the surgery center she was able to build her client base to create meaningful income.
Tonya worked as a CPA in corporate finance for several large companies. Because of her knowledge in the field, strong organizational skills and desire to teach others, she helped a couple friends with bookkeeping for their small businesses. When she hit age 60, Tonya wanted to set her own schedule and work from home. She built off of that small start, joined local business groups and studied entrepreneurship. Within three years, she had a thriving small business of her own, with many satisfied clients and more emotional fulfillment and flexibility than she ever had in the corporate world.
Andrea retired from her teaching job at age 65 but wanted to keep active. As an animal lover and pet owner herself, she knew the concern full-time workers had about leaving their beloved furry friends home alone all day. She spread the word first to neighbors and friends, and found a core of folks thrilled to use her services. Andrea built up her dog- walking business to the point where she’s bringing in some extra money each week and is extremely happy.
What about you?
What are your skills and gifts? What do you enjoy doing?
Start now to think about how you can make the most of them in the years ahead. If we stay wedded to the traditional definition and timeframe of retirement, we face a steep savings hurdle and the prospect of outliving our money. Every dollar you bring in during that time is a dollar you don’t have to pull out of your nest egg.
You don’t have to find the answers today, but I suggest you start to ask the questions, discuss with friends, and be open to ideas. You never know what might arise.
If you would like to discuss future income and your vision of retirement, let’s connect. Get started, by scheduling your free 20- minute consultation here.