Plain English Financial Advice

"The first 20 years of your life you live off your parents. The next 20, you spend acquiring stuff. The following 20, you save for your retirement. The last 20, you live off what you've saved."
                     --Shuttle driver sage (who learned this from his daughter, who learned it from her economics professor 20 years ago)

Sometimes, insightful lessons come from surprising teachers. I sat with the shuttle driver this morning and he gave me some financial advice. He only shared it with me after he learned I was a financial planner. I thought, this retired gentleman didn't save enough for his own retirement. As it turns out, he did save enough but he is driven by something else.

He'll spend a month in the South Pacific with his wife this year. He's traveled most of the places he wants to go. He read 60-70 books last year and rode a motorcycle across the country for a non-profit organization. He is bored with retirement, he says, and this "no stress" shuttle driver job gives him something to do.

Another client of ours wants to climb the 7 Summits--the seven tallest mountains in the world--in retirement.

Another set of clients is building their "retirement home" in the middle of the woods, off the grid, so far from civilization that I'm not sure, once they are successful, when we'll see each other again.

The only way any of these plans make sense is when they are in alignment with the values, goals, and relationships of the person formerly known as "retired." You might ski, bike, play tennis, or scuba dive. Or you might think any or all of these are crazy. One of the joys of growing older is watching how our interests and joys also grow. How inspiring!

I enjoyed my interlude with the shuttle-driving sage today. He gave me a gift, a respite from the craziness of the day-to-day investment world. What's your gift? How will you give it away today?

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