Naked Retirement Part I: Strip Away Dollars and Cents

uck-naked. That was the image burned into my retina when my partner first coined the phrase, naked retirement. Not the typical image one associates with retirement, but it was the image that stuck. Understand, though, this wasn’t an image of sandy beaches nor smoke-filled men’s clubs, this was the image from Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. In case you’ve forgotten the fable, rascally men wove a tale (pun intended) of a very special cloth made from very special threads. The king spared no expense in having a suit made from this thread which he believed could be seen only by the wise and worthy. There was, of course, no special thread. And the king didn’t recognize his stupidity (and public nudity) until it was too late. It is only recent generations which have been shown the image of the perfectly dressed retirement, as marketing mavens portray happy, healthy retirees who achieved their silver-haired good looks by investing in mutual funds and annuities. So, obviously the magic threads of retirement are woven by brokers and agents well versed in investing. Right? As was punctuated at the recent Retirement Coaches Association conference, finances are but one piece of the whole retirement plan. Following my analogy, focusing on just finances, leaves retirees less than half dressed.  Transitioning to retirement requires answering a holistic set of questions: After 40 years of punching the proverbial clock, what purpose will your days have? Without a cadre of co-workers, with whom will you discuss grandkids and the Cubs? Where will you age and who will care for you when you’re no longer self-sufficient? What’s your plan for all your “$tuff” when you’re gone—family, charity? And have you shared those wishes with your family and advisors? The Social Security Administration says, a 55 years young female has a life expectancy of 85.5 years, nearly as much adult living ahead of her as she has already lived. So, age 55 really is the new mid-life. Next time, I’ll  address in  detail some cornerstones of planning a naked retirement. Please email me with any ideas you’d like to read more about. As a CFP Practionner, I love numbers, but know many Kings & Queens sitting on nest eggs, may not be properly dressed for their dream retirement. So I ask them and you, how’s your wardrobe REALLY looking?


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